Thereafter he toiled as a waiter, dug ditches for a dollar an hour on a Berkeley, California hillside, boxed mail for the post office, and assumed the duties of salesperson for a large metropolitan emporium, vending clocks, silverware, and blankets with a modicum of success. The valuable life experience thus accrued culminated in shelving books for the Strand Book Store. He did quite well there, until he organized the union, for a lark.
For the next two years he did nothing to write home about, if you don’t count the very bad collection of forty poems he scribbled out in other people’s homes when they weren’t looking. So PBS hired him to be an analyst for the Fischer-Spassky Chess Match in Reykjavik, Iceland. They didn’t pay him, he picked up his own expenses, and he had to quit his job at the Strand and its improved conditions and better wages.
The upshot was that he became a chess teacher, which was different from being a chessplayer, because it gave him an opportunity to live through his students and pretend he could really be somebody at minimal risk. Presently, he’s still living and pretending, though the stakes have increased, and many of his students question his motives, openly and in writing. Nevertheless, with the rigorous logic and ruthless intent of a goal-oriented chessplayer, he keeps pursuing his lifelong ambition to find someone foolish enough to hire him as a chemist. Bruce lives in New York, where he’s finally mastered the subway system, albeit with relentless effort and at great cost.
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