Notes from a Walkman Junkie: Masochism & Coach Shorts
I tend to be a bit on the masochistic side (musical taste excluded of course). Well, ‘a bit’ might not be an accurate description. If I were to demonstrate my level of masochism using solely gestures, I would be wide-eyed while sporting the ‘Big Jesus Arms’ to make my point. This self-torturous trait has presented itself in nearly all aspects of my life, jobs being no exception. My employment adventures started as a babysitter; I don’t like kids, which makes my choice to become a kindergarten teacher years later really drive the masochistic point home. These were not average kids, mind you, and the term ‘babysitter’ could not have been a poorer characterization. A better suited term would have been ‘Drive my kids to every absurd god damn lesson possible, from ballet to spelunking and your payment will barely cover gas’. And my regular selection of car tunes did not go over very well in my child-toting days. Apparently, Violent Femmes are not as kid-friendly as one might think. I suppose a child blurting out something in the middle of class like, “why can’t I get just one screw?” might be looked upon as unfavorable.
My following self-induced flogging, I mean job, was washing cars at Auto Magic one summer. The uniform there at the time consisted of a short sleeve button down shirt (think used car salesman) and coach shorts. For those not familiar with coach shorts, they are tight, high-waisted, polyester jobs made only for men (specifically your high school P.E. coach). The shorts hugged my thighs, gaped at the waist and gave me a faux wang. Needless to say, I looked fantastic in them and cannot tell you how breathable polyester shorts are in mid-August. Uniform aside, the job had many other perks as well. I loved climbing in and out of a stranger’s unusual (I am being kind) smelling car, frantically wiping interior windows clean, only to be scolded for “missing a spot” upon returning the car to the customer. I think a cuter outfit would have helped tremendously in this situation. There was also no shortage of brilliant car humor at the expense of my last name. “Hey Armorall, why don’t you Armor All these tires” never got old. My last name is Almirall, hilarity ensues.
The affinity I have for misery by way of employment choices did not end there. I had a short, but not short enough stint at Fuddruckers, working behind the cash register. This position turned out to be less about taking orders and money exchange, and more about copious amounts of gratuitous smiling, which is not something at which I excel. I am not what you would call a ‘smilely type’ unless someone is tickling me (armpits excluded because I become defensively violent) or it is a situation where it is wildly inappropriate to be grinning excessively (ex: A funeral). I was also in charge of preparing desserts and then announcing their completion in a microphone to alert the customer, “Bob, your dessert is ready at the dessert counter…” Resisting the temptation to declare a few other choice statements and observations over the loud speakers was hopelessly difficult. Fuddruckers also afforded me the opportunity to be invited on a dinner date by a Willie Nelson look-alike and to have Charles Manson’s doppleganger gift me with a mixed tape.
I have been enjoying The Ettes as of late. They classify themselves as a Big Beat Punk Rock band. Their song Marathon struck me as befitting to the theme of crap jobs, grueling and endless, can’t wait to quit.