In a recent comment, Big Ruckus D said that I am a Renaissance man type. I recognize that I have a broad knowledge base, but that is largely because of a sense of curiosity at how things work, an inability to sit around and be a couch potato, a sense of adventure, and a lot of luck.

I have had a couple of professions, a lot of jobs, and quite a few hobbies that turned into obsessions. Because I have usually had more than one job, there is a lot of overlap. There were times when I had three jobs and worked more than 90 hours a week. During the fall of 2004, there was a stretch there when I was working 144 hours a week. (Considering that there are only 168 hours in a week, that was a busy time.)

The most interesting people that I have ever met were older people who had a lot of stories to tell. That, combined with a love for the Heinlein quote I read as a child about all of the things that a human ought to be able to do, and I have always aspired to learn lots of things. I have made every attempt to make my story an interesting one, and I have done a shitload of stuff over the years.

In the course of doing these things, I have managed to collect half a dozen college degrees in Art, Medicine, Nursing, Fire Science, as well as administration and management. I’m currently working on my Master’s degree. If I decide to get my doctorate, I will likely finish it just before I begin collecting social security, so I don’t think I will try for that. When I earned my last degree (nursing), I was old enough to be the grandfather of my youngest classmate, and older than all but a handful of the instructors. Some of the nurses at the hospitals where I did my internship told me how inspiring it was to see someone “as old as” I was still going to school.

So here are some of the things that I have done:


  • I was a Navy sailor for 6 years. They taught me to be an electrician and an electric motor rewinder. I also learned to love fighting fires as a part of the ship’s Nucleus Fire Party.
  • After I got out of the Navy, I tried running my own business, a motor repair shop. It turns out that I didn’t know much about running a business at the time (I was only 24 and had never had a real job). I lost my ass and moved back to Florida after only 2 years, where my first job was as a construction electrician. I did that for about 6 months, but moved on. It was too hot, too hard, and too little pay.
  • I was a civilian automation electrician for about 8 years: PLCs, robotics, motor controls, power transmissions, that sort of thing. I learned a lot for this job: I can rebuild gearboxes, do limited welding, repair conveyors, Jetway bridges, cold rolling steel mills, induction annealers, microwave welders, variable frequency drives, vector drives, inverters, and aircraft ground support equipment, etc. I worked at the Orlando Airport, a stainless steel pipe and tube mill, a factory that makes Skylights, an orange juice bottling plant, a paint factory, and for Disney (where I made robots dance while dressed like chickens).
  • Firefighter/medic: When I got out of the Navy, I was a volunteer, then part time, and then full time as a career. I liked it more than being an electrician, so one slowly pushed out the other to become my main job, but I still had a lot of side jobs (see below). In all, I spend over 20 years putting out fires and taking people to the hospital. I did every job in the department except fire chief: Firefighter, paramedic, HAZMAT, technical rescue, DHS certified safety officer, EMS supervisor, truckie, Company Officer, Instructor, Rescue diver, Public safety diver, wildland firefighter, and I even trained as a SWAT medic for a time. Then I retired from that and:
  • I was a high school science teacher for 7 years.
  • Now I am a Registered Nurse

In the middle of all of that, I had a lot of second jobs:

  • Used car salesman (I sucked at it. Only did it for 4 months. Sold three cars, made $900 in commission. Like I said, I sucked. I couldn’t lie to people and get them to buy something I knew was a bad deal.)
  • Automotive chemicals salesman. (After this one, I realized that I can’t sell shit- no more sales for me)
  • Underwater tour guide (Fun, but the pay was low. I only did it because I got to dive for free)
  • SCUBA instructor (Free diving, free classes, discounts on SCUBA gear)
  • One year, I had a job putting Christmas lights on the outside of tall buildings
  • Critical Care Paramedic
  • Paramedic on an interfacility ambulance
  • Janitor
  • I mucked out horse stalls for the Budweiser Clydesdales for a bit
  • Lifeguard
  • I worked at an aluminum injection molding plant, making Bar B Q pits. That work was mind-numbingly stupid, even worse than being a janitor.
  • Instructor at a Vo-Tech school. At various times, I taught motor controls, phlebotomy, paramedic, and EMT.
  • I was a consultant for various companies. I was getting $200 an hour for my time. I couldn’t get steady work, but for about 6 months, I made some serious cash. There is a story there, and I will tell it on this blog some day.
  • I designed, built, and sold rotary phase converters that allowed people to run three phase motors on single phase power. Made a bit of spare money at that one.
  • When I was a kid, my brother and I helped out on my Uncle’s farm. I will never forget watching him castrate a hog when I was only 9 years old.
  • I once helped out in milking rattlesnakes (for venom).
  • I had an FFL and sold guns for awhile. Never made much money, but had fun and bought some guns wholesale. Had a table at some gun shows in Virginia. Sold guns out of my house, back when you could just run a classified ad in the paper. Bought SKS rifles for $79, sold them for $99. I must have sold dozens of those things.


  • HAM radio General ticket
  • SCUBA master diver
  • Home automation
  • this blog
  • robotics
  • IDPA Sharpshooter
  • amateur gunsmith
  • I tried being a stand up comic. I was mildly funny, buy couldn’t come up with new material fast enough to do more than a couple of shows. I did a great bit about farting in the space shuttle, but I wasn’t good enough to do more than that.
  • I was a semi-professional racquetball player. Never was good enough to take the next step, plus you can’t win enough to pay the bills and chicks don’t dig it, even if you tell them you are a professional athlete.

Then there were the interesting events:

  • I was twice homeless for a time. (1994, and 1999)
  • I went bankrupt once, about 15 years ago. I lost everything.
  • Then there was the year that I made so much money that I owed the IRS more than $230,000 at the end of the year.
  • I was arrested twice, once for attempted murder, but no charges were ever filed and they eventually let me go (that is a different story, also interesting). That was a long time ago, when I was young and dumb.
  • I spend three nights in a Federal prison as a prisoner. (That’s another story that you may or may not find interesting, and also a long time ago, when I was dumb.)
  • After all of that, no convictions on my record. (again, it was a good story) Haven’t even had a traffic ticket in more than 2 decades.
  • I once testified against my boss in Federal court. He was a real scumbag. He got away with it, and I hope he burns in hell for what he did to those people. That was also a pretty good story, but I can’t tell that one. Gag order.
  • I’ve been married three times. This is the last one. I have grown as a person, and this one is the one that I want to be with. It’s been a decade now, and we are just a great fit.
  • I have travelled to 48 states (all but Wisconsin and Minnesota) and 35 foreign countries on 5 of the 7 continents.

So I have done a lot of stuff. Some of it interesting, and some of it things that I had to do to pay the bills. Some of it was hard, some paid well, others didn’t. When I write it like this, it seems a lot more eventful that it was when I was actually doing it. I was just trying to get through life and have a bit of fun, but it certainly looks busy. I don’t see how people can get to more than 50 years old without a list of things that looks like this.

If you are still young, don’t sit there and be boring. You only get one shot to experience all that life has to offer. Get out there and don’t waste it.

Categories: Glory Days


nones · June 26, 2023 at 5:17 am

Wow! You have been busy. I too have held a variety of jobs and I have had a lot of different hobbies. Probably the most unusual job I ever had was in my youth when I worked for the circus circumcising elephants. The pay wasn’t great but the tips were big…

    Divemedic · June 26, 2023 at 7:02 am


dc · June 26, 2023 at 6:41 am

Impressive curriculum vitae. I did twenty in the nav and learned nothing useful for the outside world other than how to have a good time. Upon leaving the service in London, and with no real experience on the water I sailed home to Florida on my 43 foot sailboat.

That’s it.

I like your cv better than mine. Good job!

Grumpy51 · June 26, 2023 at 7:02 am

Echo the encouragement to get out and live…..and IF you’re going to do something stupid, do it when you’re young. The body doesn’t bounce as well when age starts setting in. To quote my grandfather – “it’s hell being an 18-year-old trapped in a 92-year-old body” several weeks before he died.

EN2 SS · June 26, 2023 at 7:07 am

I was once told by a young co-worker “No matter what we all talk about, you say you’re done that or been involved in it.” I told him “what can I say, I’ve been a lot of places, had a lot of jobs, got involved with a lot of people, read more than shop manuals. Maybe if you live long enough, you can learn more than this one particular job.” Youngsters thinking they know everything, really irritate those old folks that do. 😉

D · June 26, 2023 at 8:00 am

> I designed, built, and sold rotary phase converters that allowed people to run three phase motors on single phase power. Made a bit of spare money at that one.

Totally not my bag. I was talking to my local Renaissance man (70-year-old who runs the local hardware store and knows *everything*), and he was teaching me a little bit about motors–specifically well pumps. He asked me something along the lines of “If you have three windings in a motor, and they all ‘line up’, how to you get it started with only two phases of power”. Like I said, not my area of expertise…but it sorta seems like you can’t…but my well pump is only 240 and it works… He led me to the huge capacitor that was plugged into the pump and told me that it briefly acts as the third phase and pretty much blew my mind.

> I was a civilian automation electrician for about 8 years: PLCs,

Speaking of well pumps…living out in the country and being a bored IT guy, I decided to buy a PLC from Automation Direct. I wrote some ladder logic to help manage the water system. It cost a *ton* because none of that stuff is cheap, but I put pressure sensors and automated valves all over the place. Based on readings from the PLC, I can tell how efficient my filters are and when they need to change. Since the PLC has a several hour battery backup, I can do some nifty stuff. If it’s between November and March (typical freeze times around here) and the power fails and the water temperature drops below 36 degrees, I can automatically open the circuit to the pump, and then drain all the water from the system before it freezes solid. The system tracks water usage, filter metrics, and does some very amateur leak detection (looking at usage at 3 AM for 15 minutes). I can even detect “unusual events” like unusually high water usage. If you turn on every indoor and outdoor faucet, the water draw is extremely high…and it will turn things off.

This came in handy when I was doing some digging on my property. I accidentally snagged the water line. Within 5 seconds the ~1 foot wide, 8 foot long ditch was completely full of water…and the system shut itself down before I could make it to the pumphouse.

It was super fun to build, and now some of my kids know a bit about PLCs and ladder logic.

exile1981 · June 26, 2023 at 8:29 am

My worst job was at a video store, every morning I had to take the returned videos and scrub the ‘fluids’ off the outside of the plastic cases.
The store was an adult video store and it was a mile from a military base.

I learned 2 things; that i didnt want to do that the rest of my lifeand that some people are discusting.

Anonymous · June 26, 2023 at 9:42 am

Very impressive history you have accumulated, which explains why your writing is so fun to read. I totally agree that old experienced people are the best to hang out with.

Red · June 26, 2023 at 11:23 am

Had a varied work history. Accounting. Construction. Law Enforcement. Most fun was in 1976 at a Club in LA being the eye candy all she wants to do is Dance, Dance diversion during a drug bust.
Most harrowing…Getting rid of a Meth Lab and the Child Porn Teen prostitution operation in the area.

Big Ruckus D · June 26, 2023 at 12:10 pm

Damn, DM, when I said that I was apparently understating things. By just a bit. About the only thing I didn’t see on your resume was doing a deep sea dive in a homemade submarine, and staging a coup. But hey, a man’s gotta leave time to eat, shit, and sleep.

    Divemedic · June 26, 2023 at 1:56 pm

    Some of the things I did, I failed to do well. I don’t look at the attempt as a failure. I look at it as successfully learning that I am not good at that.

Eat Less Move Often · June 26, 2023 at 12:11 pm

Well hells yea, you won’t ever get fat or demoralized by keeping busy like that.
Gramma and Grampa used to have me read those Shell Answer Man booklets as a Lil’ Shaver and then quiz me on what to do.
How I love that Greatest Generation and we wouldn’t be here without them.
Thank You Elders.

dhe · June 26, 2023 at 3:42 pm

Love me some SKS. Need to go out and shoot one this weekend!

Anonymous · June 27, 2023 at 9:52 am

“ The most interesting people that I have ever met were older people who had a lot of stories to tell”.

I tell young people, “talk to old people, they know shit”.

Jack of all trades master of none is the greatest title a man can own.

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