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Employment

To help pay my bills between shows, I do have a day job.  It sucks, as every time someone wants to act as though they are making a dig at your talents, they merely shout “don’t quit your day job.”  One cannot simply stare back at the person judging them and  shout “I see what you’re getting at, but you see, until one has developed a certain network of booked comedy gigs, figured out an efficient way to travel the large distances between venues, and generally survive on a payment system that’s not effectively changed since the 80’s,  it’s kind of hard to support one’s self off of comedy alone.”

No.  This typically doesn’t work on stage.  Instead, one must usually rely on stand-bys like something penis-related, or, if the venue allows for it, the comedy club stand-by of years past, present and future:  “fuck you.”  Having not worked in a grocery store before though, it’s all very new to me.

First of all, you never have an opportunity to get bored. As soon as you clock in, your day’s tasks have been delineated for you. Work old frozen foods, work the freshly delivered frozen foods, stock the produce, corral the shopping carts, lunch break, steal the women, rape the horses, etc. This is great, because, one of my favorite things about the restaurant business is that if you’re working hard enough, time flies. I remember once working at Macado’s (an extremely popular family dining/sandwich shop/bar chain) in Blacksburg on a game day, clocking in at 9, and clocking out at 4:30, and having no idea where all the time went, as I just stood in the same spot the whole time.

Second, it’s a lot more physical labor than I thought it would be. It’s apparently so much that in the last year or so, 8 or 9 people quit after their first day because it was too much. To me, it’s just enough to be a little sore and tired at the end of the day. But yea, you’re lifting stuff of varying weight all day long, which I love, as if I work good and hard all day, by the end of the day, I’m just tired and happy from the little bit of endorphins. If I am not active enough during the day, I end up all fidgety by 8:30, and I’ve noticed that any day I work, I fall asleep very well that night.

Third, the shoppers. It’s really funny the wide range of folk that come into the stores and how much of an adjustment it is from my Portsmouth folks.  The store is in Virginia Beach’s nicer northern end, and as such there’s a lot of people with very high-end attitudes.  I was training on the register one day and this older gentleman had an interesting looking tie on… it looked like an impressionist painting.  I asked him about it, he told me it was his payday tie. I asked why, he said it was because when he wore it, he always had “Monet.”  I laughed, and correctly guessed that the painting the tie’d been made from, and told him about actually being able to see the painting live and up close at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Then he slapped me in the face and told me to take his bags out to his car.  Okay, the last part didn’t really happen, but it almost feels like it could, as there is always an understood dynamic of subservience and inferiority between those with a name tag and those without.

Another subset of rich people are the health-nuts, which I really don’t mind, as it is not visually unpleasant seeing a woman who has tried really hard to keep her body in shape wearing spandex and a sports bra while she buys her groceries. Though, there is a funny side effect of this.  Pretty women are so used to men hitting on them that, for some, any conversation seems like a sexual advance.

For example, if I see a woman of above average desirability staring at the same few spots in the freezer, looking confused. So I walk up, and ask “you finding everything okay?” She, being apparently such a beautiful woman, hears something else, perhaps grunts and clapping,  and looks at me like I’ve just delivered the worst pickup line in my life.  But seriously.  It’s part of why they pay me to be friendly and offer assistance.

To this woman, I’d like to say this:  I’m sure when you sit down to pee and take off your panties it has to be hard quieting down the angelic choir-like tone and blindingly radiant light your lady parts emit, and I’m sure you’ve accidentally inspired Trojan wars and/or circle jerks through the simple act of picking up your dry cleaning, but you know what? I’m just doing my job. I am just trying to meet the obligations inherent to my paycheck, not bed you.

If I do, I know what I’d have to do first.  Quit my day job.

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