birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

The Art of My Father’s Design

My first real paying job was being a billing clerk one summer at my father’s office. This was back in the day before computers and even calculators. Everything was done manually. The multi-page invoices were typed on a typewriter, and I’m not talking IBM Correcting Selectric here. Fixing a mistake on the various page colors of the invoice form was a laborious task. After the invoice was typed, I would check it on an adding machine and then give it to someone else to check.

I was the invoice checker at first but was promoted to typing invoices. It was mind numbing—boring beyond belief. The same thing, over and over, for eight hours. Only the 15 minute break in the morning and afternoon, plus the 45-minute lunch break broke up the monotony.

This first summer job was also my first experience out of the bubble of my nice, middle class life. Everyone else in the office was doing this job for their living. They lived on this tiny paycheck.

I went back to college that fall hoping that a college education would help me from ever having to be a billing clerk.

Joys of Old-School Retail

Taco Bell