12 July 2011

What's the stupidest job you ever had?

Sign I Stood Under

It's hard to pick a winner among the many stupid jobs I've had.

1. Take in clothes at a drycleaner's. You wouldn't believe the disgusting crap people leave in their pockets.

And what with thrusting my hands in and out of pockets for 4 hours straight every day, I ruined a beautiful pearl ring. The top of the pearl looked like I had shaved its head on both sides. I was too young to think, "Drycleaning job. Pearl ring. Don't wear."

I'd write more about this job but there was absolutely nothing more to it.

Well, Duh

2. Pick up shoplifters. This job wasn't just stupid. It was nerve-wracking, adrenalin-pumping, hair-raising, and depressing.

I picked up a little old lady who stole a coat for her poodle. The poodle was out in her car so we had to go get it and bring it in the office while I wrote her up. I stopped a 10yo boy for pocketing a toy car. (Shut up, I wasn't going to write him up--just put the kibosh on his criminal ways and recover that property!) His careworn mother suggested that maybe he was acting out because as Jehovah's Witnesses they didn't have gifts at Christmas....

Once, from my sneaky vantage point behind a two-way mirror, I surveilled a guy pulling a shoe-switch. (That's in with the old shoes; out with the new.) But he was in and out so fast that we were in the parking lot before I caught up. I said, "Hey! I need to see you inside!" in my most commanding voice. Then right away, in a teeny-tiny voice I didn't even know I had, I said, "Never mind. Keep the shoes." He'd turned around with a knife. I remember the blade as being maybe 5, 6, 7 feet long? Sometimes details are magnified in such a situation.

3. Tend bar in a Flamenco Restaurant. The stupid things about this job were (a) that I would have made a lot more money in a "normal" bar; (b) that Don Ballardo, the aged--but not impotent, not--owner of the establishment, ruled the place as his fiefdom. Man, was he whacked.

Don Ballardo and la Señora Ballardo (also whacked) didn't really want customers who just came in casually. They wanted only the regulars: a handful of loyal and true, and whacked, Flamenco aficionados who came nearly every night. When wanna-be's walked in, blinking, from the San Diego sun and into the darkness that was Tablao Flamenco, la Señora would quote a completely fictional and exorbitant prix fixe that would send them right back out the door.

I almost forgot the good part! There were beautiful Flamenco dancers there, but there was only one guy, named Houston (srsly). So for some of the traditional male roles, the beautiful Angelita dressed and danced in the role of the man. In Zapateado, as her boots beat a rapid tattoo on the wooden floor, she beat the stage with a whip. Yeah! How could I make that up? A whip! I remember standing behind the bar in my tux shirt, polishing a glass, and thinking, "Wow. They pay me for this."

It is suggested you fast-forward to :36

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