While I may now be in a period of stable employ, it has not always been this way. Luckily for me, the large urban bureaucracy which hired me has more than enough psychos to keep them busy before they get to an insignificant curmudgeon like myself.
However, before landing in this coven of uselessness (where even I look like I dwell in the upper echelons of effectiveness) I toiled in a mindblowing array of menial jobs.
In fact, readers, I am a little like the Imelda Marcos of jobs: collecting positions and stashing the memory of them in my own mental walk-in closet of nightmares. My experience is so vast and varied that (to extend the previous metaphor) to retrieve the memory of a specific job I would require one of those Clueless-style wardrobe computers to sort through my past jobs based on categories like "hemisphere", "level of meniality", and "humiliation?" before it would hit a match and the electric motor would whirr, bringing the long forgotten profession back to the surface of my consciousness.
A little while ago my good friend, who I'll name Big D, was a little bored with life. You know that feeling, when you're pondering throwing it all in and becoming a traveling Luke Perry Impersonator, or joining the Cambodian Landmine Victims' Orchestra, just for a change of air. Big D wasn't ready to make such a drastic life decision as all that, but he was itching for some way to feel alive again.
I was wondering how I could make his trials all about myself when I stuck upon a brilliant idea: I would fashion a "Bucket List" for Big D to follow! For those of you unfamiliar with the 2007 Nicholson/ Freeman vehicle of the same name (which imdb synopsizes thusly: "Two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die") a "Bucket List" is an inventory of dreams, desires and flights of fancy which people hope to achieve in order to make their life seem less worthless. This was the perfect way to rejuvenate Big D's spirit! But what could it be made of? I didn't want anything crazy like "Kill a man just to watch him die" or "Eat the 72-ounce 'Big Texan' in Amarillo, Texas" (plus, those are both on my own bucket list).
* I got this, no problem
I needed it to be something achievable and worthy of a man whose defining quality is that he brings mirth and laughter to every single person he meets. He can, as he says, understand a person's "essence" and appreciate them for it. This Bucket List, as I envisioned it, should expose him to the maximum variety of people, situations and essences that he could explore.
One day, my wife was talking about itinerant workers when I chimed in with my experiences picking raspberries with some refugees whose work ethic far eclipsed my own. Well accustomed to my various employment-related anecdotes, my wife just rolled her eyes and continued with her point. But suddenly, an idea came to me with a lightening clarity similar to the one which had told me to weigh down my raspberry bucket with stones in order to get some extra dollars.
* Dollar dollar bills y'all! Wearing a money diaper *and* a case of Natty Ice? Will you marry me?
I would make Big D's Bucket List a list of all of my old jobs. He would have to try to cross as many off as possible (with some wiggle room in terms of duration of employ, location and pay). This way, he could live an alternate life. My life! Me, me, me, me, meeeee! My whole plan, because I have seen far too many Hollywood movies, was that Big D would realize that to search for his heart's desire he should never really go beyond his own back yard. If he couldn't find it there, I reasoned, he'd never really had it to begin with. He would be rejuvenated! Failing that, at least he might have some good times with some winged monkeys and an androgenous man in a shiny grey suit.
So, now you are prepared for where we are about to go. You best get your popcorn and slanket because we're going to be here for a while. In each new post, I will be taking you on a tour of my life, through that very list that I fashioned for Big D all those days ago.
I will regale you with tales including, but not limited to:
- The time I dabbled in nude artist's modeling.
- My forays into illegal alien-hood at a midtown deli.
- Suffering third degree burns while making miniature donuts in a rusty van.
- Learning how to abuse children and stalk their dreams at an underground Russian daycare
- Being part of the seamy underbelly of a "luxury" hotel where I had the honor of delivering room service to Australian musical legend Kamahl.
Part 1: Itinerant Worker, coming soon!