The woman was a little strange at first. Both my wife and I thought that. But—we both wanted to see where this would go. And make some money too. The Craig’s List gig that we applied for was to hand out glow-ropes at a park on the 4th of July just prior to the Fireworks. It was straight commission. $.15 on the dollar. Thousands of people would be coming out. Our group would be the only vendors. For a few hours work we could make a hundred bucks or more. Plus—it would be fun. Besides, what else would we be doing on the 4th of July? Why not make a little money? So we drove out to meet with the operator. She ran her business out of her twin-home. It seemed nice enough… a little smallish, I thought, for a business. After waiting forever at her front door and wondering if she was even home, she greeted us and invited us out on the deck for our “interview.” And, oh by the way, “Would we like a glass of wine?” she asked. She had plenty of wine—good wine, since she often did promotions for wine companies. “Why not?” I said. My antennae went up a notch however when she brought out a half-corked, half-full bottle of shiraz with a date of 3-24-08 scratched on the label. It was three months old! I wondered exactly what “good wine” meant in her world. But not wanting to offend her—especially since it was free—I uncorked the bottle and poured out a couple of glasses. One for her and one for me. And we all talked. And laughed. And told our stories. And she told hers. I noticed that her eyes had that reddish, sunken-in-look appearance. Her skin was blotchy looking. I guessed that she struggled with alcoholism, especially since she kept ducking inside the house (to take a swig of some hard stuff?). We filled out some forms and were told to show up at 5:30 on July 4 to meet the rest of the group and receive our final instructions. That was it. Nice to meet you. See you on July 4th. I guess we made the cut. A puppeteer and a church-planter, hawking glow-ropes at the park on the 4th of July. I was already pumped for it. Well, it didn’t quite turn out the way we pictured it. We met our fellow hawkers that night: a 24ish-year-old guy who worked as many gigs as he could, making very good money while still living at home; a 26 year old attractive woman, who was already on her third man, had four kids from three different men, but drove a Lexus crossover (what’s wrong with this picture? I wondered); a 26ish-year-old comedian, hoping to make it to the point where she could sustain herself with her stand-up routines, but working gigs until then; the business woman’s boyfriend, a very successful salesman, he told us (but then why was he living in HER twin home, with free rent?); and my wife and me, the straight couple, who somehow didn’t quite fit in but were trying hard to. I wore my yellow and white striped "Cat-in-the-Hat" hat and started selling the minute I jumped out of the car. The first 30 minutes I couldn’t keep up. But then, everyone had one. The crowd numbers were way down from previous years. There were too many of us selling and too few people in the crowd buying. My wife and I raked in a total of $30. When I added up all our training and working hours, I figured that we each made about $1.83 per hour. Before expenses. Live and learn, I guess. It WAS a blast though. My wife and I laughed and joked with our new friends, the Glow-Rope Hawkers, and laughed with people in the crowd. We had some great conversations. Interacted with lots of kids. Maybe even brought some joy to their holiday. We came in thinking we would develop relationships with whomever we met and worked with. And bring the presence of Jesus with us. And… we did. Yeah… I’d do it again.