Act Now!
Off the Wall, August 28,

Moms and dads, this story is to be directed to teens entering their junior and senior years this year. I know youth don’t like to be told what to do, particularly at their age, but what I’m going to relate I hope will help them.

When I went to high school back in the 60’s, I really didn’t take it seriously. All I ever thought about was gliding through the last two years hoping to graduate, but never putting my heart into it.

It was almost somewhat of a joke to me, but I knew I had to have some kind of acumen or I wouldn’t accomplish my goal.

So, instead of continuing in the academic classes, I opted out and entered the business courses. Looking back, according to my learning potential, that was the best thing I ever did for one exception. I strove to get passing grades, but never again put my heart into it.

I did do my very best in typing class. I kind of knew I had to because one of the after school activities was rifle, and my typing teaching was also the rifle coach. I decided to pal up to him so we could become friends.
Here’s where I went wrong. I didn’t give the other subjects the attention I gave in my typing challenges.

How stupid!

Little did I know I would one day end up in a tourist community, own my own business and use all those principles I was taught in high school. Oh, but no, I had to drift along, barely pass, and yes, getting a diploma.

What I could have taken was shorthand – a class I understand is not offered anymore. For reporters, such as myself, who had to take notes hurriedly most the time, I stared at the scribble in my notebook and had to leave facts out because I couldn’t read what I wrote. If I would have taken the free education and put my whole heart into it with additional free tutoring on the side, how much easier would it have been for me to write stories for the upcoming 50-some years?

As you see, typing paid off. I can’t tell you how many thousands of stories I’ve written, not to mention my book, and another I have not published. Typing definitely played into getting a story out fast for the five newspapers I wrote for. First, on the older type mechanisms, and then on computers.

Technology has come a long way. Anyone who doesn’t know how to touch type is wasting a lot of time. Speed typing without making mistakes takes practice, but can be accomplished if one plays his cards right.

Another course I bungled was bookkeeping. Do you know how important it is in a business to have good books? I thought I could manage my store and also do the books. What do you think I did the worst with? I’ll tell you right now, it wasn’t managing the store. I had a wonderful time, but I let the books slide and kept saying to myself, “I’ll do them later.”

One day I received a letter from Mellon Bank informing me I had bounced 30 checks. I was told that if I found a bookkeeper within a week, they would forego the penalties. I found one in three days. I learned my lesson.

I was really blessed when I found the perfect person who was more than an expect. She had been hired by another organization and I asked if she could look over my bookkeeping and adjust the figures to balance so I wouldn’t have this problem in the future.

If I would have put my heart and soul into learning the subjects in high school in an institution that didn’t charge me a cent, just think of where I might have been when I started Pee Vee’s Photography and gone on to take on other challenges as an entrepreneur.

Juniors and seniors, do you get the picture? My stories ought to serve as a heads up!

I know many of your parents are going to egg you on to doing your homework to your best of your ability. Don’t let distraction separate you from doing your very best.

This is for those who still wish to rebel. Teenagers, tired of being harassed by your stupid parents? Act now! Get a job… Move out… Pay your own bills. Do it while you still know everything!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.