Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Crappy Jobs...

In an era where you are supposed to be happy with having a job at all, I have been reflecting on my past jobs I am glad I don't have. I have been at my current job for 22 years so we have to go way back in my past.

Age 15, my first job was at Frank's Nursery. They sold plants, potting soil etc. They also had a corner on the crafting market so they sold Styrofoam, balsa wood and stupid stuff you could assemble to make more stupid stuff. The job wasn't all bad but there were no clear lines on what my job actually was. There were like 10 of us kids that basically did everything from stocking shelves, cleanup, unloading trucks and assembling the stupid stuff that people were too stupid to assemble. So most of the time I just wandered around the store looking for stuff to do until I got yelled at to do something else. I think I made $3.25 an hour.

Luckily at 16, I got a job at the Mr. Wigg's department store across the street from Frank's. I started a couple months before Christmas. They hired three of us and I don't know why I remember the guys' names but they were Chuck O'niel and Wylie Lymon. We were told from the beginning that 1 of us was going to be let go after Christmas. I started in the departments of toys, lawn and garden and trim-a-tree. So I got to handle Christmas trees, garland and ornaments. Also I had to put the toys away that little kids played with and left out. Two of my friends Mike S. and Kelly H. already worked there in the automotive department. To make a long story short, Me and Chuck made the cut and were allowed to stay after Christmas, but me and Kelly got fired a couple months later for "conspiracy to shoplift". They swore we were going to steal something, but we used to just play with the stuff that was returned as defective "to make sure it still worked". I think I made $3.65 an hour when I got fired.

What luck, there was a Sambo's restaurant right down the street that need a dishwasher. So at 17 I donned a plastic apron, a clip-on bow tie and paper hat and took another job that rated pretty high in the suck scale. The only good thing I remember was that for the summer I got to work 3rd shift. I remember the radio blasting "Back in the fast lane" and taking New York strip steaks home to cook for breakfast. One funny story from there was one night when I was mopping the floor at around 4 am and some drunk guy kept making fun of my uniform. I am generally pretty easy going, but this guy just kept going on and on. So I went in the back and dumped in about every chemical I could find in the mop bucket. I came back out and parked the bucket across from his table. Now it is a boiling cauldron of probably deadly chemicals and I started mopping again all around his table. He got pissed and asked me what was in the mop water. I told him it was the same thing that was in his coffee, but we have to dilute it to mop the floor. He stood up like he was going to punch me, but I told him to go for it; there would be nothing better in the world at that time than for me to get assaulted on the job. He backed off.

To end my career at Sambo's, they hired a new manager named Lenny. I called Lenny Berkowitz; "Son of Sambo's" This was during the time of the Son of Sam serial murder case if you are not familiar. Anyhow Lenny was a dick. I was on first shift and scheduled to work a Sunday, Sambo's busiest breakfast day. When I got there at 6 am, there were like 20 full bus trays lined up on the dishwasher and as soon as I got in the door the cooks were screaming for stuff they needed. Evidently the 3rd shift washer did not show up and Lenny did not think anyone needed to cover for him. Fuck that, I quit. $3.75 an hour down the drain.

Now a 17 year old bullheaded cynical teen, I applied for a job at the local Brunswick bowling alley. I got hired to clean ash trays, empty trash and sweep floors. I really liked bowling anyway because bowling was only 50 cents a game and this Brunswick center was one of the first to have automatic scorers. My brothers and I found a way to use the score sheets in such a way that we would bowl 1 or 2 games, then remove the score sheet and insert one we would find in the trash and bowl like 20 more games. When we were done, we would take our sheet with 1 or 2 games on it and pay for it. They never caught on and we got to be pretty damn good bowlers at $2 a sheet. (As a matter of fact my brother Ron is still pretty damn good HERE).

That job went pretty good, I learned to work behind the machines as a pinsetter and got free Bowling alley from "Flo". (Her son Buddy won one of the first Indiana lottery drawings for like 11 million). They then hired a new manager Joe Shemenski. Joe was one of the coolest managers they ever had. He was the first boss to ever trust me with money. He let me work the cash register when they were not too busy. Joe influenced me to make one of the most important decisions of my life.

You will have to tune in tomorrow to find out what that was....

1 comment:

One Reader said...

I'm waiting on pins and (wow did I really just say that?) needles. :-)