Summer Guide 2009: Workin' Man's Blues 

This summer, Woodbine resident Niels Michael, 12, enters the American workforce for the first time. He ventures forth armed with a Weed Whacker, a business card designed by a neighbor, and a fondness for clearing brush. We dragged him away from a brushpile bonfire just long enough to discuss his business plan.

We got your card in the front door, and it says you do odd jobs. Do you do this every summer?

I've never done it before. I've trimmed bushes that are overgrown for my own family, but not for anybody else.

So how do you approach customers? Hit us with your pitch.

Well, first I ask, "Is there any odd job you need me to do?"—preferably outdoorsy, because I really like working outside. But I can do things inside too, like shifting boxes.

Why should we hire you over someone else?

Hmmm...(thinks for a moment, then grins eagerly) Well, I'm very hardworking, and I can go pretty cheap if I have to.

How cheap?

(shrugs) It depends on what the job may be.

So what do you hope to use the money for?

I've estimated that I need $100 or more for my lunch money at Whitver Academy. It's a 36-week program, and I'll be going one day a week. I'm taking three courses: physical science, intro to writing, and 8th grade lit. I also want an electric guitar. I play bass, but my brother Jude has a little acoustic guitar and I've picked up some tabs.

Do you have a band?

We haven't done much but think of a name.

What is the name?

Sylvania. Pretty cool, huh?

Sounds cool to us. So are you at all worried about the state of the economy? Do you think you'll get the money you need?

I never really had too much money before. The most I ever got at one time was $40, and I got that for my birthday. I had almost $100 in a savings account, but the bank took it all away except a few pennies. I have no idea why.

What's your favorite part of working?

Using the Weed Whacker. It's like you're playing a video game—Weed Invasion! (mimes cutting down weeds)

And the least favorite?

Mowing gets pretty boring. But it's easy to put up with if I'm getting money for it.

Contact Niels at tommichaelfamily(at)comcast(dot)net

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