May 22, 2003

By Michael Strickland


Today was my first full day of working underwater. Up to this point, I've been tending hoses and watching my coworkers blow bubbles. But yesterday, I jumped through the final hoop—my checkout dive—and was cleared to start diving. This morning, I found myself swimming with dolphins and penguins and saying to myself, "I can't believe I get paid to do this!"

Before I make it sound too glamorous, let me qualify my gushing by affirming that it is indeed hard work. And I'm not petting, feeding or otherwise interacting with the animals. But spending a couple of hours underwater while black and white Commerson's dolphins (pictured) buzz by you is about as far as you can get from sitting in front of a computer screen in a fluorescent-lit cubicle farm. Such a working environment can make even menial tasks like scrubbing floors fun—which is fortunate, since scrubbing floors is essentially what I'm doing.

I've picked up another open-ended freelance writing client, so I'm one step closer to my goal of supporting myself with my pen and keeping the Sea World job as a side diversion for extra money and extra fun. Tomorrow I'm hitting the road again for the holiday weekend to do some research for a trio of articles, at least one of which I hope will be my big entrée into the travel writing field. I'm not pulling down the big bucks like I was working at Disney, but my quality of life has certainly improved.

I started this column on a note of guarded optimism for what this new year would hold. It's been slow going, but I have to say I'm excited about the new direction my life has taken. I'm finally pursuing my passion for writing as a career instead of a glorified hobby; I've met a great group of new friends who have rekindled my spirit for adventure; I've found a perfect way to spend my free time. Oh, and did I mention I swim with dolphins every day?


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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5/21: Writing Again
5/20: Go Spend Money
5/18: Couch
5/17: Armed Forces Day
5/16: Reload
5/15: Temporary Defeat
5/12: What, Me Write?
5/11: Rockin' Out
5/10: Van Halen at the Tokyo Dome
5/9: Your Tax Dollars at Work
5/8: Yes, I Am a Nerd
5/7: Still Writing
5/6: A Different World?
5/5: Sponge
5/4: MacGyver
5/3: Mike's Sky Ranch
5/2: Baja Bound
5/1: Ice Moon
Previous months in The Archive

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