2006-02-27 @ 12:00 a.m.
Well, no surprise there, huh? Iíve always been creative, even before I knew it. I just never pursued a creative career until my late 30ís, because my Dad always made fun of me. He always used to asked me if I had signed up for any ďbasket weavingĒ classes. That was his code word for useless creative crap. It wasnít his fault though. He was just a practical farm-boy from Indiana, who didnít have one molecule of creativity in his body. He even made me take back all the graphic textbooks and art supplies I bought when I entered the local junior college. We hadnít discussed it beforehand. And he traveled a lot. And I was pretty independent. So when I signed up for a graphic designer program, he wasnít happy. It didnít mean he didnít support my creativity, it just meant that he wanted me to go to school for something more practical...like...are you ready?
Yeah, he wanted me to put my hands in peopleís mouths all day. Yuck. Its bad enough I put my foot in my mouth on a regular basis, but touching peopleís mouths. Like ewww! Thatís not exactly the best job for a germ-a-phobe.
I did try practical jobs for a while. I worked as a secretary/receptionist for a small newspaper, retail. I later worked as a sales executive for Gannett Newspapers. I was never happy at any of them. They werenít challenging in any way, other than...gah....I wonder how long I can sit at this desk before I go out and get a gun and shoot all my co-workers?? I hated the sameness of all my jobs. I guess I just
For instance, as a receptionist, all I supposedly had to do was pick up a phone and pretend like I cared about what some nitwit was calling about. I didnít. I remember once when there was an earthquake in our area, some idiot called us (because, after all, newspapers KNOW EVERYTHING IMMEDIATELY -- EVEN AS IT HAPPENS) and told me, presumably with a straight face, that he had been in bed with his wife and that he had felt the earth move. Was he yanking my chain? Like why are you bothering me when weíve got realnews to cover, ya know....like a freakiní earthquake, ya stupid asshat, not your unexplained yet miraculous recovery from erectile dysfunction.
Actually receptionists have far more power than anyone will ever give them credit for. We had one young male reporter at our newspaper who initially was very nice to me. Why? Because when I was first hired at the newspaper, I worked in production with him. He was just starting out too. But then one day, I was just abruptly fired from production. Just like that. I was shocked because I was doing a smashing job and got along well with everyone. But then, somewhat suspiciously, that very same day, the newspaper had a sudden and immediate (is that redundant?) opening for a receptionist and guess who was immediately re-hired!! Go ahead, guess!! Like wow! I mean, what are the odds?
Unfortunately, I didnít want to be the receptionist, mainly because it involved working in a small office with three ancient chain-smoking biddies. This was back when smoking was allowed in the workplace and there was a perpetual thick blue haze hanging over the office, as the three human chimney stacks smoked in tandem, seeing who could get lung cancer first. I hated it because I didnít smoke (and still donít), so I had a rosemary sachet in my desk drawer and whenever I thought I was just about ready to break out a gun and shoot them all, I would bury my nose in the sachet and take a whiff, so I wouldn't think I just woke up in a giant bingo hall ashtray.
Oh and the best part of working with the three cancerous old biddies was the fact that they didnít like a young, fresh-faced Irish lass, who wasnít constantly hacking and coughing up pieces of lung. I was kind of an outcast amongst 3 women whoís combined age was about 297. So they would gather in the corner of the office and whisper and then look back over their shoulders at me like I was the anti-Christ. I found that a little disconcerting. I was only 21.
Meh, they were just jealous because my bra straps werenít getting entangled on my granny panties. I had actually been hired or re-hired, much to their chagrin, by our extremely racist editor Ernest J. Ernest J. was this tall, hunched over Ebenezer Scroogie guy from Texas who, for some unknown reason, had decided to buy a small progressive newspaper in the middle of liberal, hippie-dippie, pot-smoking California and write these incredibly inflammatory editorials, basically calling everyone who wasnít white and Republican, a useless piece of crap. His columns were so outrageous that I used to laugh at them. And needless to day, people either hated him or loved him. We even used to have all these old war veteran guys stopping in, wanting to shoot the shit with old Ernie. He was like their god.
Ernest did have one soft spot in his old gnarled Republican heart though. It was his little white poodle, FiFi or FooFoo or Fritzy or some girlie-man name. He totally loved that little white ball of fluff, who followed him around and would growl, if any Democrat came within 10 feet of him. I had my secret Democrat invisibility shield on and would always say nice things to FooFoo-Fritzy Dog, because I loved animals. Even dogs.
But, oh dear, what we used to say, back in the production room. Me and the reporter guy John. We used to work out elaborate dog kidnapping plots. John was far less nice than me. His plots didnít always involve happy endings and usually involved Ernest going crazy and shooting a bunch of people from a church bell tower. He even used to make loud yipping noises when he described if poor Foo-Foo-Fritzy dog ever ďaccidentlyĒ fell into the printing press.
Because we had a huge newspaper printing press in the middle of the building, with a small metal walkway that went through the middle of it. You were, in essence, walking in the middle of two massive rolls of newsprint going about 150 mph in two different directions and if Foo-Foo-Fritzy had ever misstepped on the metal walkway, she would have immediately been sucked into the unforgiving newspaper printing press and probably printed on page 9 as a large blob of poodle goo. I always used to hit John when he said that. And what was worst was when John, who looked a lot like 20/20 news reporter John Stossel, would look over at me when Ernest came walking through and he'd let out this tiny little strangled poodle yip and cough simultaneously and then expect me to keep a straight face until Ernest was out of view.. What an evil comic genius that boy was.
I guess you can see why I liked working in production more than as a receptionist. But things changed when John got promoted to a reporter from a production person and I got fired to become a receptionist. John got very uppity and if thereís one thing I donít like its uppityness. Especially when its somebody, who was formerly your comedic partner in crime. Because he suddenly started treating me like some half wit girl-servant. He also started complaining about stupid shit like I made the ď5ísĒ funny on his messages or I misspelled the word ďtheĒ or I accidently hung up on the President of the United States. Just really stupid and petty stuff.
What I really think was that he was a little jealous. It seems that the dumb little receptionist girl had submitted an entertainment story about a local theatre group to Ernest, complete with a nice photo she had taken (he had to drag along our staff photographer) and suddenly I was also writing for the newspaper. It really was no biggie because I had already been writing for other area newspapers for 4 years. He had a big fancy journalism degree from some college in Boston. I only had gone to a local junior college. He seemed miffed and therefore became insufferable.
So one day it was April Foolís Day...heh, heh. And to be honest, I was tired of being treated like the dirt on John Stosselís shoes. And I knew that John was doing a very involved story on some very important, serious subject. So I was taking messages for him, as usual. But this one message got through to him. Iím not really sure how...(me looking innocently up at the ceiling). It had the name of some person he might have been wanting to hear from for his big important story. Except well...ummm...heh. I think I might have accidently looked up the phone number of the local pet cometary and somehow....although Iím not exactly sure how...put THAT phone number on his message with the other personís name.
So I was sitting across from John when he called this person back. Of course he thought he was talking to like the CEO of United Way or something, but instead it was like Ferd Snerkle of Pets are Heavenly Pet Cometary, and for like a good 5 minutes he kept asking all these really important serious questions and taking notes. And I could see his brow all furrowed, like dang, this guy is dense. He finally realized he wasnít talking to who he thought he was and then abruptly thanked the person and hung up.
Guess the McFancy Bostonian College education didnít count for much, when he crossed paths with that dumb ol' receptionist, who only had an associates degree from the local junior college. (He had made fun of this fact repeatedly and what kind of a comeback could I come make? Yup. Its true. My parents didn't have the $50K to send me to UC Berkeley and made too much for me to qualify for student loans...ummmm.
Amazingly he didnít say anything to me. I think he realized what I had done and that I had done it on purpose. And actually after that he started treating me nicer and eventually was very supportive of my writing efforts when he became the editor. I guess he realized you don't need to have a fancy degree to write for newspapers. You just need talent.
So yes, I guess Iím not exactly cut out for those conventional careers like bank teller or receptionist. I just get too darn cranky when I donít get to do something creative...even if its only to PUNK a snotty, insufferable coworker. Heh!
Lyrics by Lennon/McCartney. All angst copyright by awittykitty