I’VE had all sorts of career moves but still can’t seem to find the one I want to stay in. If you know my face, you’ll know that I come from a family of workers. Carson’s are like ants. Always keeping busy doing one thing or another. I’ve had loads of jobs, from flipping burgers in a chippy van outside the Peter Pan to demonstrating experiments in an American science centre.
In Primary School, I had a job selling the Republican News or An Phoblacht as we said when an Irish speaker answered their door. I learnt from experience to carry the paper draped over my arm with the heading tight to my ribs. This was to stop the Brits from taking the paper and ripping it up. I got 5p for every paper sold.
Then Fr. Kerr introduced the Parish Draw. I took up another job of being a collector because you got £20 if one of your houses won the £50 prize. With my wages from the paper round, I paid my own Parish Draw. One week, I won the £50 prize and scooped the £20 collector’s bonus. Two weeks later I won another £25. My lucky windfalls were mentioned in the St Oliver Plunkett Parish Bulletin and I was a celebrity among friends but hated by aul dolls who said a child shouldn’t be allowed in it.
I knew what I wanted to do with my cash. Finding myself financially independent for the first and last time, I went to the Post Office and purchased a Postal Order. I sent it to the Sunday Times for a ‘Funday Times’ membership. I also bought £10 worth of Premium Bonds which to this day have brought me no luck.
A week later my package arrived. This was a good day. My anticipated membership pack came with some bubble wrap to pop later. Of all memberships, this was the fanciest.
For days my Beryl the Peril pencils sat unsharpened like ornaments on my desk with my unused Funday Times crested paper. Finally I sat down and penned a letter to the editor thanking her for my parcel and told her a bit about myself, but it wasn’t printed. I think it’s because I mentioned my role in the newspaper industry.
A few years later, I joined the Irish News’ Press Gang. I sent in film reviews and letters telling them all about my granny loving the deaths page. Eddie Torr printed all my stuff. So I knew I wanted to write when I grew up.
But that’s the thing, do I really want to write for a living? The pay isn’t very good and it doesn’t guarantee a roof over my head and the bills cleared at the end of the month. For the time being, I’ll just have to keep searching for what I really want to do.