Workingman’s Blues

We’ve been working with ArcOtsego to find Nate some kind of part-time employment. My preference is that we find something that he can do well, something within his skill set and, if we’re lucky, his field of interest.

It’s been somewhat difficult. Often, in discussions with Nate’s caseworker, I’m asked if I know so-and-so. Usually I do, but I’m unwilling to blur the line as Mayor of Cooperstown to ask so-and-so to find a job for Nate. It’s easier that way; simply avoid the appearance of political influence.

But there are enough people we know who know Nate independent of my political role, who love him and want to help him. It’s through those channels that we found Nate a possible volunteer position at a local museum. My thought was, since he spends big chunks of his day making lists of strip malls and documents of DVD covers, that a museum/library would have a ton of cataloging to do. Nate would do it well. Whether he’d do it cheerfully was unknown.


There was much grumbling in preparation for his assessment. Nate, accompanied by a job coach, would need to fill out some paperwork and then show that he could do the job.

“When will I be done?” he asked before he started. “December 10?”

“I don’t know Nate, you haven’t even been there yet,” I answered.

He grumbled, a lot, but went off last Tuesday for his first real test. He came home smiling and excited.

“How did it go Nate?”

“Cathy gave me old pictures of the Northeast areas and I wrote them down. I’m going back next Tuesday.”

No complaining, not a bit.

I saw his list, titled “Stuff list,” and, yes, it was page after page of Cooperstown, Farmers Museum, SUNY-Oneonta, Old Sturbridge Village, Nantucket and Boston sites. He had a little, dare I say it, homework – to type up the list and put it on a thumb drive. Nate always always always hated homework, but he told me he’d get it done on Friday (yesterday) and, boom, he did.

His job coach was impressed and we seem off to a great start. A job in the future? We’ve learned never to count Nate out.


About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is the former Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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