I rarely forget how old I am—my hair, my face and, yes, my arse won’t let me. The mileage on this classic cannot be denied, however, every now and then I get the unexpected treat of feeling like a five-year-old. Take receiving my first paycheque. Once I recovered from the mixed emotions of joy (actually getting paid) and horror (the comparison to the pay from my doctoring days), I realized I lacked the intellectual capacity to figure it out on my own.
There were taxes taken out and deductions for health and dental and something called a pension. Maybe this is a little known fact, but in Canada physicians get a big load of cash thrown at them, then we hack off almost half for taxes, more for RRSP contributions and crappy health plans, and then pay exorbitant amounts for licensing fees, malpractice insurance, a Mercedes, a mansion, you know, the bare essentials.
Not once have I ever had to decipher a pay stub, and it turns out I’m not very good at it. I actually have to consult with an HR person this week to translate it for me—sort of like my entire time in France. What kind of fool can’t interpret their own salary slip? Apparently someone who has spent a third of their life in university.
Add this to four steady weeks of feeling generally bewildered in a completely new career (as in “how do you turn on this Blackberry thingy?”), and, once again, I am transported back to my status as the village idiot, that woman who spent two years telling French people she doesn’t give a f**k when she meant to say it doesn’t matter.
Truth be told, I’m making good progress I’d say. So far, there’s no real indication of an impending pink slip and by the time the next pay slip comes around I’m determined to understand it. It’s true what they say, haggard old bitches can be whipped into submission, or is it something about old dogs and new tricks? Tomatoes, tomahatoes.
Either way, there’s something to be said for this late bloomer thing. Alan Rickman got his first movie role at 46, Colonel Sanders was 76 when he launched Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin at the rickety old age of 47. Hilary Clinton campaigned to be Commander-in-Chief in her 60s for Christ’s sake, surely I can make a go of this gig.
Anyway, persistence is key and when it comes to your mind, use it or lose it is the name of the game. As you well know, I’ve lost my mind on more than on occasion, so using it at this rate might be just the ticket to balance it all out. On the other hand, it might be downright dangerous. I hope one of those payroll deductions includes a psychotherapy plan. I’ll look into it, right after I learn how tie my own shoelaces.