When I was in my 20s, three friends wanted to play bridge but needed a fourth. Since I was the only one around, I received a crash course. I played a few times, I read the bridge column that appears next to the comics in the daily paper, but I was never a bridge player.
I was a nerd, seen as the smart kid. I was on the debate team but was also on wrestling, swimming and diving, and soccer teams. Later I was the weird guy in a counter-cultural organization. I suggested we provide health insurance to our employees. We eventually got that and I suggested a pension plan. That got me some pretty strange looks and it was another 10-15 years before the organization (after my departure) instituted a pension plan. No one (except me) thought anyone would do that work as a career. We tried to get bank financing for an expansion and got nowhere. So I braided my hair tightly, put on a coat and tie, and went to a reception where I drank Scotch with the bank vice president. He told me to call him the next day.
I fixed washing machines (among other trades) and did the accounting for a subsequent employer. I fixed the appliances and then explained the organization’s financial picture to its owners. When I figured out that I was a Jack-of-all-Trades and Master of None, I became a plumber.
When I worked in Nicaragua I was the only English speaker on the logging crew. No one on the carpentry crew that we delivered to spoke Spanish. I was the only one who spoke both languages.
When I left the building trades and went into health care, I chose a field that was 93% women.
WordPress issued a prompt for the month of March. The prompt was bridge. I guess that’s what I’ve been all my life. I always thought I never fit in. Another way of saying that is that I was a bridge. I think I prefer the sound of that.