I am sixty-three. For thirty years I was a carefree, adventuresome, and stubborn reporter. Seeing retirement on the horizon, I left journalism five years ago for an academic job that came with a defined-benefit retirement plan. But since Social Security and the retirement pension that I’ll receive won’t save me from want, two years ago, even before clouds appeared on the nation’s economic horizon, I began to look for ways to supplement my old-age income.
Working as a Walmart greeter is not for me. I am temperamentally and philosophically unfit for a role as Mr. Nice. But...