Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

It's time for retirement

Wick's World

 

November 9, 2017



A lucky few find their dream job early in life and the concept of retirement never crosses their desk. Then there are many among us who simply want to get out. All too often the average American worker will find themselves stuck in a dead-end job with no means of escape. Needing to pay the bills, quitting is not an option. If there was ever a man who personified his name, it was Johnny Paycheck who sang “Take This Job and Shove It.”

I often look to Bob Dylan to sing in verse the point I wish to make as he so succinctly did in “All Along the Watchtower.” Listen carefully to the beginning of this classic hit that first placed a spotlight on perhaps the greatest musician to ever hold a guitar, Jimi Hendrix.

"There must be some way out of here"

Said the joker to the thief

"There's too much confusion

I can't get no relief"

Some Dylan aficionados claim the lyrics were intended to speak about the Vietnam War or even Armageddon. I always gave a much simpler explanation. For me, it’s a person stuck in a dead-end job in which they are unappreciated and misunderstood. My alter-ego Gary Fisher even had a name for it — Postmaster.

When I began sorting letters and selling stamps, I knew a career as a postal clerk would not suffice. I set a goal to become a postmaster within five years or I would sing out, “Take This Job and Shove It.” I made it in two.

When I became postmaster in Garrison, I considered it one of the best jobs I ever had. The pay was decent, but the perks were even greater. All too often I went home with a full bucket of perch, northern pike or even Minnesota’s favorite fish, the walleye. The only drawback to the job was the 150-mile roundtrip commute.

I moved on to Finlayson where the pay was even more decent, but the perks were way too dangerous. At the end of the day I would cross the street for “Happy Hour.” My intentions of "one and done" were seldom met. All too often the friendly citizens from the Muni would line up to buy the postmaster another round. I am forever grateful to the Creator for those years of guiding me homeward through the maize without harming anyone in my path. To this day and forevermore, I am thankful for eternally putting the bottle away.

Up to then, life had been a bouquet of roses; then came Moose Lake. My predecessor warned me. My postal friends warned me. Even in my heart I knew better, but my head wouldn’t listen. Although I was back in the town I proudly called home, the perks were not there. The job description was actually the opposite. To make a very long story short, the busy-ness of the office far outweighed the clerk hours allotted in order to meet the rigors of the position. What began as tolerable at best, the demands placed upon an outdated business made life worse. Little did I know that the situation I viewed as the enemy did me life’s greatest favor.

The day came when I said to my wife, “I can’t take this anymore, I need to get my life back. I want to be Wick Fisher again.”

My wife was very supportive of me that day as she has been for the past 46 years. She told me to take the early out the Postal Service was offering me at the time. Her only guideline was that I replace the loss of income as best I could.

Within a year I had three businesses I could operate by computer from anywhere in the world. I’ve been retired from the Postal Service, although not life, for over 12 years and I have come to the conclusion that it’s time for one of my businesses to be put to bed. My heart is no longer in it. The other two, Wick Fisher Books and Wick’s World, I love with a passion. I hope to take those businesses with me to my grave.

When is it time to retire? Your heart will tell you.

 

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