Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Change in the pattern

grows with click



It was early in 1979 when I left my job as night custodian at my old Junior High. I didn't really want to leave that job, but I kept hearing, from my girlfriend, and others, "You're too smart to be wasting your time doing this kind of work." I didn't think so, but I put in an application with the Gas Company, just to shut them up. I figured that a utility would be such a huge bureaucracy, that they'd forget about the app, I could tell everyone, "Hey. I tried", and the whole business would be forgotten.

The bastards hired me. I got a job in field service, and hated it from day one. I applied for other positions in the company, but never heard a peep. One day in the spring of '81 I was, as always, up to my elbows in rancid grease and cockroaches, and I just said, "Screw it." I drove back to the yard, parked the truck, and headed straight for the office. I had my speech for the boss prepared. I opened my mouth, and before I got the first syllable out, He said, "How would you like a transfer to the Hollywood office?" I took it. Within the week, my brother, who lived about three miles from that office, moved to New York, and I got his apartment on Melrose Avenue.

Out of the grease pit, and into the pressure cooker. I had always sworn, as genuine, bona fide, surf rat hippie individualist rebel type that I would never end up in some office job chained to a desk. I spent my days answering billing complaints, and doodled to pass the time while I sat there, tethered by the earpiece to my cubicle. People would pass by the cubicle, see the psychedelic stuff I was making, and ask if they could have it for their wall. One of the women in the office brought in a copy of Celtic Art, the Methods of Construction by George Bain. I just went nuts.

But I didn't last a year in the office. This time I didn't say screw it. I yelled,"Go straight to fucking hell, and take your goddamn gas bill with you, and you can shove your fucking meter up your ass!" I really needed to go surfing. Suddenly I had plenty of time to do it. But I wouldn't find the Celtic Art book for another ten years.
JWM

5 comments:

Joan of Argghh! said...

Yep. And that attitude is why I'm having to sell life insurance and long-term care plans now!

Lovely, lovely art. I like it very much!

wv:sowns: the seeds sowns do grow up...

Robin Starfish said...

Me too and why I've been unemployed, er I mean self-employed since last Independence Day. I just don't work well with bastards and as far as I can tell they run the whole damn world now.

I don't care how many great "how-to" manuals there are, I could never draw art like that. Whack.

wv: I am intiredy exhausted already!

walt said...

When folks would ask me at my nursery why I had decided to be self-employed, I'd reply "Because I had to -- I wouldn't last a day working for someone else!"

That wasn't original: I stole it from someone else, some other self-employed person. But I stole it because, for me, it was so true.

At one point in my late twenties, Mizz V and I supported ourselves doing commercial grounds maintenance, and had enough accounts that we "got by" working two days a week. When I mentioned this to my mother, she said, "Oh son! You should have more ambition than that!"

I replied, "I do have ambition, Mom -- I want to work just one day a week!" A slacktard even then.

Now I must investigate Celtic designs ...

Your Syn-Coon stories are great!

mushroom said...

I can handle the bastards well enough. We had a really good company, founded by engineers and run by engineers. We underbid everybody and made it up -- like the old car dealer -- on volume. When we had a problem, we fixed it. If it took locking four or five us in a room with a coffee pot for three days, that's what we did. When furniture started breaking, somebody would shove a pizza under the door.

Then one of the founders lost a lawsuit with Sir Richard Branson -- the slimy SOB -- and before we knew it, we had management. And bean-counters. Not long ago I was working on a batch that had two engineers and four coordinator-manager-lead people.

We have standards. I did an enhancement at one of our sites this week and got ranked over the coals because I had violated standards (which turned out not to be true).

The only reason I'm still around is because they can't see my fingers over the telephone.

Wow, that kind of got away from me.

Anyway, I really like the picture.

mushroom said...

And, yes, I do feel better now. Thanks.