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Employment I Have Known

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Since age 16 I’ve had many different jobs:

• First I worked at a small coffee shop.

• Then I worked at a pharmacy mailing pills to rural areas, and delivering them to mental institutions and old folks homes.

• During my freshman year of college I worked at the Fine Arts Library—at once the best and most difficult job I’ve had. The pros were that I got to look at rare books and check out records from their collection of more than 16,000 LPs. The con was that I had to shelve carts and carts of books and it was hard to stay focused and not look at them, especially when hidden in the stacks.

• Next I worked at a series of restaurants: a fry fest known as BG’s Old Tyme Deli in Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Cafe Broadway here in town; and, (shudder) The Olive Garden. Every night after working at the Olive Garden I would eat a kid’s portion of some crappy pasta, drink cheap red wine, listen to KUNM and hate myself.

• After being fired from the Olive Garden for insisting on going home for the holidays, I got a receptionist job at the Architecture school.

• Then I was employed as a receptionist at the Weekly Alibi. I was fired for reasons still beyond me.

• Accidentally, I got a job as a student reporter at KUNM where I spent almost three years, also working as a music assistant.

• Finally I fell back into the loving newspaper arms of the Alibi.

Sadly, I’ve never known retail.

Once I tried to get a job at Birdland but they wouldn’t hire me because I had no retail experience, and probably figured I was too dumb to learn how to sell pipes and black light posters. Another time I tried to get a job at Bow Wow Records. They had me fill out a questionnaire where you listed favorite and least favorite bands. I wrote that Skrewdriver was my least favorite band. They never called me back. Because I wasn’t cool enough, I assume.

I wonder what my next job will be. Snooty academic sounds cool, but I also sort of just want to make soup and draw toons. These days, though, I’m thankful I have a job. The U.S. unemployment and underemployment rate is currently at a lame 17 percent.


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