The shattered plate was only one of the many worries fighting relentlessly inside my head for attention — there was the Advanced Placement United States history midterm, a low grade in calculus, the eviction notice, a little brother getting into trouble and a dozen other smaller but pressing concerns.
For me, there was no calling in sick to clear my head, getting some much needed rest or carving out study time before an upcoming exam. I shut up, got back to work and pushed with all the energy I had left. I boarded the bus home and took out my notes to study.
Something had to change and I knew it fell to me to initiate that change.
Fortunately, I also knew I had dedication, desire and grit in my blood.
However, it would be a while before I could join them in sleep. I venture that most people would struggle to tell the difference between a regular 90-degree PVC elbow and a street 90.
New York Times Essays
These are skills and distinctions I have learned over the past five years as an assistant to my dad in his one-man plumbing business.
The New York Times accepts opinion essays on any topic for both the daily print page and online section as well as the Sunday Review, the International edition (which is edited out of London and Hong Kong), and other themed series.
Published pieces typically run from 400 to 1,200 words, but drafts of any length within bounds of reason will be considered.
My grandfather was part of the first wave of Mexican immigrants that settled in Los Angeles.
He returned home to a small village in rural Oaxaca, with his savings and tales of the land of opportunity.