Have you ever felt like a pinball?
What’s a pinball?
I am glad you asked.
A pinball lives in a small world under glass, protected from the elements but driven by outside forces beyond its control.
A person drops a coin into a pinball machine, a ball rolls into the launch chute, and when he is ready the player releases a mechanism that catapults the dormant pinball to life. From this point until its life cycle is over, points are added every time the ball encounters an obstacle. The goal is to keep the balls alive by repeatedly slamming it back to life every time it approaches its final resting place, ultimately earning more points than other players.
In 1963 life was good for me. What more could I ask for during my senior year of high school? A friend and classmate introduced me to the owner of Tom’s Dairy Freeze. Tom, a friend to all of the young people who knew him became my friend and hired me for the perfect job.
Dinner the three nights-a-week I worked consisted of a hamburger, an order of French fries, a coke, and some of Tom’s homemade ice cream for dessert before my shift was over. I made lots of money—70¢/hr, worked a lot of hours—20/wk, and had plenty of spending money. What could one do with $14 a week?
I lived at home and ate as many meals as I wanted there; I just had to be there when they were served. Mother cooked good ole country meals, like fried chicken or pork chops, plenty of vegetables, corn bread, sweet tea, and occasionally a dessert.
I was living a teenager’s perfect life. With the car my daddy bought for me to drive, $14/wk was enough to put gas in the tank, take a girl to a movie, and every once in a while have some left to buy beer. Yeah, we teenagers could and would get it and drink it.
Life for me was much easier than for many of my peers.
But I have veered off subject. There was a pin-ball machine in Tom’s. This machine was way before computerized games but it still commanded a lot of attention. Many local young men—ages 20 to 35—dropped case dimes one after another into that machine. They all wanted to be the champion. No matter how hard they tried, very few could consistently beat Tom who was the most successful player over the long haul. I suspect he spent a lot of afternoons after the lunch rush and before school was dismissed, honing his skills.
Back to my first question; have you ever felt like a pinball?
Life sometimes treats us as if we are a pinball, just as soon as we overcome one problem, we immediately encounter another. Occasionally we roll into a slow period with little conflict, almost lulled into complacency, and then almost violently some external force thrusts us back into the world of reality.
I pray that God reveals Himself clearly to you through each life experience and that you become bolder in your walk of faith.
It is how we deal with each obstacle of life that defines us.
The Lord Bless and Keep You Today!
by Wayne Brady 8/24/2012
good story !!
Hello Wayne. I don’t think I have had the pleasure of meeting you back in our days in Prichard. I graduated in ’57 and when I went off to college, I worked in the summers for Butler Shoe Stores, travelling for them and giving their managers audits and vacations. Your post on “pinball of Life” is one of the best I have ever read. It truly has life pegged and the fact that God always sees us through it by bouncing us back when we trust in Him. thanks for taking time to post.
Wow Charles, very nice words and I really appreciate them. I am so thankful that I grew up in Prichard and for all of the wonderful people who contributed to my maturation (what little there is). I graduated in 1964 so I knew a number of people who were older than me but I didn’t do anything spectacular to for others to know me. I am really thankful that most people accept me as I am.