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I had a workbench in the basement of a small sedate jewelry store. It had a wealthy clientele. There were just two of us down there, me and the goldsmith. The ad for the job ran in the Cape Cod Times. Seventy people applied. I was hired after two interviews upstairs in the office. I think my father owning the drugstore two doors down the street may have had something to do with it.

I was being paid five dollars an hour, thats $157 a week for thirty-seven hours of skilled labor. 1995. The silver was cast by a manafacturer in Rhode Island, we did the finish work. The gold we cast ourselves. I did the lost wax work, the polishing, filing and stone setting. The work sucked me into a hunched world of munutiae, my movements were reduced to a space of centimenters, my breathing changed, there was no room for a tremor. The visor I wore created the illusion of bigness, magnifying the tiny stuff that was in my hands. This illusion somehow threw my senses into a turmoil once the visor was off, and made me feel like I was too big or that things were maybe too small.

I'd never owned jewelry myself, just a few hippy trinkets here and there, silver bracelets, a cheap ring. Upstairs young couples chose thier diamonds and wedding bands. Older couples bought tennis bracelets and mothers rings. Downstairs the batches of 24 carat gold I heated and cast ran $25,000. a pop.

My back began to stiffen. A steady pain was developing in my left shoulder from the exertion of my limited movement. The radio played "Run around" by Blues Traveller five or six times a shift. The polishing compound was becoming a part of me. I had to quit. I had just learned how to solder the flowerstems into thier golden baskets, freeing up the goldsmith to work exclusively on the custom work and repairs. I pointed this out to the owner when I asked him for a raise but it was winter, "No money coming in," he said, "we're sad to see you go. Hope you get that shoulder problem straightened out." .

I went to "Health Stop" in the K-Mart plaza. I couldnt really lift my left arm and the pain was nauseating. I waited three hours and was given ibuprofen and a xerox page illustrating stretches I could do, It cost $159. About one weeks pay.

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More jobs than I can name
True stories of Work

2.7.01 deckhand
3.13.01 gold
7.07.01 Petting Zoo
6.02.02 feeding carnivores
8.15.01Cutting scallops
8.28.02 blueberry logic
8.29.02 cranberry bogs

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