I had a summer job digging cacti. That’s the plural for cactus. Those are the prickly things that grow in the desert.

This wasn’t the kind of job you would find on Monster.com. More like the kind on Dirty Jobs.

My friend Brian and I spent the ENTIRE summer of 1992 on his uncle’s land digging  cacti for minimum wage (which at the time was like $4.25/hour). We spent most of our earnings on breakfast and lunch, and the rest on sunflower seeds and snuff.

I learned quite a few things that summer.

1) I learned the value of a hard days work. $34. Not enough.

2) I learned how to sleep COMPLETELY still. You’d be surprised how hard it is to wash the little cactus needle-hairs off.

3) I learned not to get thrown out of the back of the truck into a pile of cactus. This was learned the HARD way, after a night in the ER getting a thorn removed from my tendon. I have a cool Owen Wilson scar on my right wrist as a memento. It’s funny now, but not at the time. I actually stuck to the ground. I looked like a reverse porcupine.

4) I learned that I needed to work harder in school so as not to have to dig cactus anymore.