I know people who do interesting things for money, and by that I mean employment beyond a TPS report-based occupation in a cubicle. Those are what I call jobby-jobs. What I’m talking about is this scenario:
Me: What do you do?
Guy: Oh, I’m a [cat portraitist/fake executive/Prancercise instructor/professional stunt cock].
Me: I know there are stories! TELL ME YOUR STORIES.
I love a good work story, provided your work is a little bit bonkers.
One guy I know snowboards for a living, another one blogs about booze. There’s the family friend who was CEO of Court TV; a medical marijuana dispensary owner; and the head of a mental institution. I’ve met an actual rocket scientist (a guy who made “being a dick” his secondary job), and a veteran soap actor on Young & The Restless (nicest guy ever).
I know a performance artist who scares the shit out of me, and a professional drag queen who makes even the smallest thing (things like dressing, pooping, driving to Starbucks) look like a Pride Parade on the 4th of July. And their work stories! Part genius, part insanity.
Some of my friends have earned nicknames for their interesting jobs: The Button Beast, Mr. Anti-Drug, The Ugly One, P-Waxa.
The Ugly One used to work for Deja Vu – “100 Beautiful Girls & 3 Ugly Ones!” – and yes, she was one of the uggos. Her stories gave me what can only be described as ‘rollicking pleasure Tourette’s.’ She traveled all over the country blessing the Deja Vu chain with her very special talents: Being a 5 in the Looks Department and a 10 in the Body Department. She shook her ass all the way through a Master’s Degree in Psychology, and now has one of those jobby-jobs.
Mr. Anti-Drug is a guy who makes his living off of white tech guys who are into cocaine. What sets him apart from other drug dealers is that he’s totally into AA; he’s been sober for probably 10 years now. He drives an electric car, has a nice family, likes hiking and soccer, and sells drugs to pay the mortgage. The stories I love are his varied responses (read: lies) to the question, “So what do you do for a living?”
The Button Beast actually gets paid to, yes, collect buttons. She deals in antiques and rarities – still, buttons only – meaning she meets some kooky characters while being one herself. She told me a story once about a $4,000 button she found in a Manhattan attic that belonged to a historical figure; that button is in a museum now.
I happen to work with P-Waxa. She’s an esthetician who specializes in Brazilian waxing, and sees more front parlors in one day than most men will see in a lifetime. One day, after lunch, I heard her call my name from the waxing room.
P-Waxa: Psst! C’mere!
Me: What’s up?
P-Waxa: Dude, check out my delicious junk!
If you’ve never had the pleasure of a co-worker saying “Did you see my labia today? YO-LO!” in the middle of your job while pointing at their vagina, you should probably get a new job because it’s seriously awesome.