Of all the people, the person most upset and concerned about my departure from Playboy is the production boss, John Mastro. Even when he hired me away from Time, he had his apprehensions. Not because he had any reservations about the job I would do, but to take me away from what in the industry was considered to be one of the best jobs around. Worrier that he is, it ended up being just what he must have feared in the beginning. What if things with the foreign editions of Playboy didn’t work out the way they had planned and envisioned?

After all, these were uncharted waters. They had not yet figured out the cost-benefit ratio of maintaining a staff abroad. So there were going to be all sorts of uncertainties and the growing pains to deal with. It was not the performance, but the cost cutting that caused my position to be eliminated.

John feels personally responsible for my well being. And he is intent and insistent on finding me a comparable, if not a better job once I returned back to the States. He himself doesn’t have anything to offer, but with his wide spread contacts and the influence within the printing industry, he is sure to find me a desirable position. Totally ignoring my protests and wish to take a little break after the nineteen years of squeezed together hectic life.

I am only thirty five years old, but I have spent nineteen of them going to school. Joined my uncle’s publishing company Wilco soon as I graduated from high school, while enrolling myself for college education. First majoring in Economics and Political Science and then taking a ninety degree turn and joining the printing school. For two years, I served apprenticeship at the Precision Printing – a small printing house to learn the ropes. That was between eight in the morning until the noon. Hurry home and have a lunch on the run and be at my desk at Wilco by one. Dart out of there at five and off to the evening courses at the Government School of Printing, which took me until nine or later. Come home and barf down the lukewarm dinner my mother had shelved – still an hour or two of homework and that day’s diary entry ahead of  me and make it to  bed around mid-night. My mornings would begin around the time when I heard the first clinking of the milk bottles being unloaded at the government owned milk kiosk down the street. My eyes still half closed, I would pick up family’s ration. Perhaps grab another hour’s sleep and be under the cold shower and gulp down a glass of hot milk before running out to start my apprenticeship.

But I never felt stressed. On the contrary. My back-to-back long active days invigorated me. After I graduated from the London School of Printing, I loved every minute of the several odd jobs I had to take on before the three post-school real jobs that stretched into nine years. I am  suddenly tired, exhausted even. I certainly need a break from the routine, and for now, all I want to do is write. I want to get off  the speeding train – side step the rat race and stop to smell the roses. What’s more, I have saved enough to live on for a couple of years, supplemented by the unemployment benefits I am entitled to collect.

But how do I explain this to the man to whom having a job rates on the top of his priorities? And how do I fend his genuine concern for my well being?

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