As I continue to unpack and search for an extremely padded bra to fill out my bridesmaid's dress for this upcoming weekend's festivities, I offer you the second illustrious guest star on Blogorelli: Bobby Crocker!
"Like most people, with the exception of my wife, I don't like my job. This occurred to me as I was entering another cat-pee scented East Boston apartment preparing to assist the dirty, half-dressed, smoking homeowner in making door color choices.
"Do you like the Colony White or the Golden Pecan?" they ask me.
"Who cares?" I want to say, "You are an animal wallowing in its own filth."
As I struggled to explain that they could choose one finish for the interior of the door and "a whole nother" for the exterior, my mind wandered. Have I ever had what a rational person would consider a "good" job‚? I don't think so, and submit the following resume as evidence:
- The first job I remember clearly was a summer volunteer position at the Manchester Skill Center. I'm not sure what "skills" the burgeoning criminals imprisoned there learned, besides perhaps how to fight with a weedwacker or start fires. They were older than I, and I was scared that at any moment I would be the victim of creative belt sanding. I stayed in the computer lab playing Karateka.
- The Elliot Hospital. I was fourteen. My father paid me to "volunteer;" health care makes me queasy. I worked in the stock room in the basement, loading carts full of medical supplies. The saline solutions were cold and jiggled, and could be stacked precariously high on the cart. When there was no stocking to do, I hung out in the laundry room with the laundry guy and listened to Styx.
- Dishwasher, Blake's Family Restaurant, also in Manchester. Since we made our own whipped cream, all the dishwashers did whip-its from the five foot tall tank of nitrous oxide in the dishroom. Everything went smoothly until one of the dishwashers was found by Butch, the manager, passed out head first in the bin of garbage and half chewed food. Butch moved the tank to the kitchen.
- Short Order Cook, Blake's Family Restaurant. After a year, I followed the nitrous tank to the kitchen. I worked with Dave, a balding black man with cooking burn scars all over his forearms. We didn't really talk, just cooked, and listened to Rock 101 WGIR FM, Manchester‚s rock and roll station. One time I changed the station in the middle of "Against the Wind". "Hey!" shouted Dave, waving his giant knife at me with his left hand and flipping the radio back with his right, "NEVER change the radio when they're playing Bob Seger."
- Laborer, Clough (pronounced cluff‚) State Park, Goffstown. My supervisor's name was Charlie, a 65-year-old high school teacher. We patrolled the park in a public service orange Ford F150 listening to Rock 101. Charlie smoked a pipe and made fun of the park visitors. "You see that guy?" he'd ask, pointing to a man surreptitiously peeing on his barbecue pit to put out the coals, "summa cum laude from the Sorbonne." One day, Charlie came out of the men's room. "You better go get the cleaning stuff," he said. "Why?" I asked. "Why don't you go in and see?" he responded. I went in the bathroom to be greeted by one of the largest, smelliest dumps I have had the misfortune to meet. It was huge. It was foul. It was in the sink. Who poops in the sink?
- Studio Assistant, Santa Fe. George the sculptor was a 6'-5", 300 pound gay man from Mississippi, the part just north of New Orleans. George didn't visit home much. I rolled clay on the slab roller and helped George mold it into his Majolica inspired art pieces. George was on a diet, which meant that he constantly ate Diet Hydrox cookies and drank Diet Dr. Thunder, which is Sam's Club's version of Dr. Pepper. Sometimes George gave me friendly backrubs while I worked. His hands were huge, and felt like coarse sand paper. George liked to play $10 slot machines. Pull, $10 gone, pull, $10 gone.
- Student Leader, Young Life, Santa Fe. We had great contests for the kids, like Milk Night. On Milk Night, anyone who could drink a gallon of Vitamin D whole milk in an hour, without getting sick, won a prize. There are approximately 3000 calories in a gallon of whole milk. The kids all barfed; it was great. Two years before my time, one of the local football players not only finished the milk, he went out for pancakes after. Another time we had a Caramel Apple eating contest. Three kids stood up and had to race to finish a caramel covered apple. Except we gave one of the kids a caramel covered onion. He won the race.
- Assistant English Teacher, Maebashi, Japan. I spent a year asking "What is your favorite color?" and dodging elementary school children trying to grab my genitals. Children, they're just so curious! Once, I got to one of my elementary schools early, and no one was in the teacher's room. I looked out the window, only to see the entire school, teachers and principal included, out on the playground. They were in their blue school sweatsuits, doing their morning calisthenics to "Let's Get Physical" by Olivia Newton John. It was awesome.
- Marketing Specialist, New Deal Software, Somerville. The fact that this company put me in charge of marketing one of their businesses probably should have made me nervous, but it seemed okay at the time. We were going to corner the market in Africa before Microsoft got there, while simultaneously refurbishing old computers and selling them in the States with our operating system bundled on them, old computers we got as part of our technology disposition solutions plan. Three months after they hired me, the company folded under mysterious circumstances. Up until the last minute, the president claimed that the funding check was in the mail. It wasn't.
Now I am a draftsman at an architecture firm in Cambridge.
So I guess I've come a long way. Tomorrow I get to visit the fat, long black haired homeowner who, each of the three times I have met with him, has answered the door soaking wet and naked to the waist.
I can't wait."