Among other jobs, my dad sold insurance.
Salesman that he was, he would go anywhere necessary to visit clients,
and sometimes that would mean venturing into some dangerous areas of town.
He carried under the driver’s seat in his car,
a length of heavy, black rubber telephone cable,
the kind that is stuffed with all those fine, coloful copper wires
we used to make rings out of when we were kids.
He’d neatly wrapped one end of the cable
with black electrical tape in a spiral pattern,
to make a grip maybe four inches long.
I don’t know how heavy the cable piece actually was,
but the first time I found it,
sliding it with some difficulty out from under the seat,
I could barely lift it.
I was maybe five or six at the time.
I asked my dad what it was and why he had it under there.
He told me it was for protection, a weapon he could wield if attacked,
and he wanted it in a handy position to grab as needed.
I believe it was at that very moment,
hardly able to budge the cable, let alone lift or swing it,
that I decided I would never go into the insurance business.