Now that I am a retired educator, I guess I have to decide what to tell people when they ask me what I do for a living. I have plenty of choices. I can't just say that I'm retired because no one would believe it. I look much too young and dashing to have worked long enough to retire and not nearly rich enough to have retired early.
I would say that I'm a syndicated columnist whose columns run in a number of Southern newspapers. One is, after all, a number -- and we are in the South. We can go to almost any restaurant in town and get sweet tea. I don't think I'll do that, though, because when I tell people I write a column the next question is inevitably, "What do you blog about?" and then I grit my teeth and steam comes out of my ears because I don't blog -- I write a NEWSPAPER column, and it is NOT the same thing, thank you very much.
I could say I'm an author but most of the people I hang out with would respond, "You are a book-writer?" which is a lot like talking about the tooth dentist. The others wouldn't recognize my name unless it was Pat Conroy, John Grisham or James Patterson.
I could claim to be a preacher -- which I am -- but then they would ask me what seminary I attended and what church I served and that would get a bit sticky explaining that I didn't and I don't -- at least not yet.
I could tell them I am CEO of Huck's Tours and try to sign them up for my Baseball Bucket List tour or the Civil War Adventure that is scheduled for the early fall. But then they'd probably want me to get them free plane reservations or a hotel room in Palm Springs or something. Better to reserve that conversation for paying customers.
I could tell them I am a public speaker, I suppose, or simply state that I am Lisa Huckaby's darling husband, Darrell.
Or maybe -- just maybe -- I could find a whole new line of work. I once had half of Maine believing that I was the lieutenant governor of Georgia. Maybe I could get into politics. I thought about running for the Congressional seat being vacated by Paul Broun but when I paid a pollster to see what my chances were the majority of those polled answered Darrell who? The rest got me confused with my two Huckaby cousins, Hank and Mike -- and only two of us are actual kin. I'll give you a hint. We are the two who spell our last names the same.
That's OK. A hundred people showed up at the Methodist church in Athens this week hoping to hear me and had to pretend they enjoyed hearing Hank.
I have been paying attention to the news this week in hopes of securing a few ideas about a new line of work. One station ran a story about prostitutes being paid $40,000 a night. I'm not sure I believe that but I know that even if I were eligible for that line of work I'd come closer to earning 40 cents than $40,000 dollars.
But then I found what might be the perfect job. You aren't going to believe this. All I need is a handicapped sticker for my car and a doctor's note and I can make a living going to Disney World. What could be better than earning $1,000 a trip just for going to the happiest place on earth?
I ain't making this up, y'all. That's the going rate for renting wheelchair-bound people to go take to Disney World. "Why?" you might ask. Because wheelchair-bound people get to go the front of the very long lines at the Magic Kingdom and the other Disney parks. And their companions get to join them. No waiting. No muss. No fuss. Just push your friend or loved one -- or rent-a-guy -- up to the handicapped line and you are on the fast track to a Splash Mountain splash down.
I know what you are thinking and I said the same thing. It would be cheaper just to pay the extra money for the zip card or whatever they call that thing that allows people with too much money on their hands to cut the line. Nope. Having someone in a wheelchair is cheaper. The jerks who use this tactic have done the comparison shopping -- and there are actual travel agents who will help you find someone to rent. Have Rascal. Will travel. Those travel agents declined to comment on the newscast that I was watching, however.
There you have it. I go back to M.D. Anderson next week. I bet I can talk my doctor giving me a handicapped permit. He offers every time I go because I have such a hard time getting around. If not, I can just buy an Auburn diploma off eBay.
There you go. I'm Darrell Huckaby and I am a Disney line breaker.
Now if I can just figure out how to get a handicapped parking space at Sanford Stadium, I'll be ready for retirement.
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at email@example.com. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.