By Wayne Chan
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
What the heck are they teaching in college nowadays?
My son Tyler just came back from UCLA for summer break. He’s majoring in English with a minor in Entrepreneurship. In just his first year in college, he’s been putting what he’s learned into practice—just not in the way his mother and I were hoping.
Over the last couple of months, we’ve been encouraging Tyler to find an internship to get some experience under his belt. Well, I would say I was “encouraging.” For his mother, the more accurate phrase might be, “cajoling, pressuring, and coercing.” I’ve got to say that watching a tiger mother in her natural habitat is awe inspiring, but a little scary.
For the first week at home, Tyler seemed happy enough just to hang out with his high school buddies, which, after finals week, I figured was time he’d earned.
But in the last week, he seems to have picked up his pace dramatically, and looks like he’s on some kind of mission.
I could see him rushing past my den repeatedly while I was working. Then, he started poking his head into my office to ask me questions about various things.
Tyler: “Dad,” holding up a pen. “Do you need this anymore?”
Me: “No, go ahead,” I replied.
A few minutes later, he walks in with a three-hole punch.
Tyler: “Dad, what about this?”
Me: “No, you can have it.”
I have to say, I was impressed. A pen and a three-hole punch? Tyler is obviously filling out applications for a job or internship and has so many that he’s organizing them into folders. Combined with the fact that he seemed to be driving to a bunch of places in the last week, he seemed to be a man on the move.
I’d like to think my gentle and reassuring guidance was what got him started on his path to a successful business career, as opposed to his mother’s approach (ie. threatening, hovering, menacing).
But, it was the next item Tyler asked me about that gave me some pause.
Tyler: “Dad, do I need more than one of these?”
Me: <Confused look on my face>
Even Ally, our golden retriever, looked puzzled.
Tyler was holding up a used bedsheet.
Me: “Why are you asking about a bedsheet?”
It turns out that Tyler didn’t need a pen and a three-hole punch to fill out job applications. And he wasn’t driving around to do interviews.
Apparently, while hanging out with his friends, one of them told him about an app they were using called “Offer Up,” which lets you sell stuff to people locally.
He wasn’t trying to get a job. He was selling stuff out of our home for cash.
The next few days were a bit of a blur.
He was off driving across town to deliver an old fan we owned. Next, a vacuum cleaner was gone. Then, an old storage box went missing.
I didn’t really mind. Actually, I kind of got excited about it myself. He could make a little extra money, and I could have him get rid of a few things cluttering up the garage that Maya asked me to get rid of. Maybe “asked” isn’t the right word. Maybe “beseeching, needling, or demanding” would be more accurate.
Before you knew it, he had sold an old BBQ, a carpet cleaner, and an old pair of binoculars.
Even more surprising, yesterday, Tyler got a summer job as well.
Good thing, too. We were running out of things for him to sell.
Any longer and I’m afraid he would have sold something I actually wanted.
Where’s Ally? Ally? Ally!?! Tyler!!!
Wayne can be reached at email@example.com.