I think it was about 1977. I was studying to be an graphic designer but my high school art teacher said I should probably consider another career because I couldn’t draw. Still can’t.
I figured I was really good at drawing straight lines, so I lateralled to architecture. That career goal lasted about a year after I worked one summer for an architect. Being chained to a drafting table for the rest of my life was not what I had in mind.
By the way, I’ve been in the design and marketing business for 23 years now. Would love to remember that art teacher’s name.
Anyway, my two friends and I (Mitch on the left, Mike in the center, me on the right) were learning the mountaineering game. We learned how to climb at the sandstone boulders of Stony Point in Chatsworth, we learned to cross country ski in the San Grabriels with rented skis (and spray klister from a can, but that’s another story,) and now we wanted to learn to camp in the snow.
So we headed out to San Jacinto because we heard there was a snow storm coming in and we wanted to be up there when it hit. To get to the top of San Jacinto, you drive to Palm Springs and take the tram up to about the 6,400′ level, then hike in a couple of miles before climbing San Jacinto (10,834′.)
So we took the tram, hiked in a couple of miles, set up camp, climbed San Jacinto and waited for snow.
We hung around the next day, goofing off and waiting for snow.
Dejected, we started back out to the tram station the next morning and naturally, it started snowing.
So we started discussing how we were going to go back to the tram station and call in sick from the pay phone located there and head back up.
About this time we ran into the wilderness ranger who was headed up to sheperd people out. With the access of the tram it was too easy for people to get up to higher elevations, so they came up in their cotton jeans and sweatshirts with their K-Mart backpacks and tents. A storm would roll across the L.A .Basin, slam into San Jacinto, snow would fall fast and people in cotton jeans would die. Happens every year.
We were telling the ranger we were actually looking for snow and he appreciated that we were well equipped and how he wouldn’t have to rescue us. We then told him we were going back to the tram and call in sick so we could come back up for a few days.
He then uttered those immortal words:
“I don’t have to call in sick, I’m already here.”
The big, giant, virtual light-bulb came on over my head. A “you-don’t-have-to-call-in-sick-because-you’re-already-there” job. I wanted one of those jobs.
In the long run I got one of those jobs. I work with some awesome people and I literally can’t remember the last time I called in sick to avoid work. Thank you Mr. Ranger, wherever you are.