Crime Blotter #2

At 10:12 A.M.
on Oct. 10, a student worker
was told to sharpen pencils at her on campus
job. Over 400 pencils were found on the scene.
After 2 hours at the electric sharpener, her
will to live is in critical condition, but an
expert in the field assured DPS that after
a cup of coffee and maybe a bagel,
her condition will stabilize. However,
witnesses expressed fear that her faith
in humanity may be ravaged beyond repair.

Okay, okay, overdramatic.

And unfair. My on campus job is actually pretty nice. I literally would not be able to live in L.A. without it.

I am a tad disturbed by my bratty reaction to the pencil sharpening request, i.e. “This is where my college degree got me,” “A robot could do this,” “A monkey could do this,” “I should have just done that minor in interpretive dance,” etc, etc. 

But my incredibly random assignment of sharpening boxes and boxes of pencils got me thinking about jobs and how random they sometimes feel because of all the little things required to reach a common goal. Someone ordered the pencils, and then someone else probably dealt with the mess that was the delivery of the pencils, and then someone organized the pencils, and I sharpened them, but someone else will distribute them at the campus even this weekend, and students will think, “wow that was so worth it because I got this free pencil and it is already sharpened and full of possibility.” Or, at least, one can hope.

I mean, I’ve had stranger, far more unpleasant jobs. Here is a list of my top three, just for kicks:

1. That time I worked in a department store warehouse. In all honesty, I lasted one week at this job. At the suggestion that I wear “work clothes,” I showed up in cheetah print heels. I was taken aback when everyone else was dressed in sweatpants and the first thing my boss handed me was a big knife. It turns out it was for opening boxes. In the boxes were hundreds of pairs of corduroy baby pants. My job was to hang them on little baby hangers, the kind that have squeezey clips on the top. After a full day of this, my thumbs were imprinted with the word, “PUSH.” I also had the pleasure of meeting a real life lady “escort” at lunch. Ah, yes, I feel better about the pencil sharpening already.

2. That time I worked for the circus. I only bring this up because it was disappointing. I thought there would be elephants and fire, but really all I got to do was interview people for the popcorn vending position.

3. Anytime I have worked in childcare, ever. Children are terrifyingly smart and manipulative. One lovely little girl tried to lock me in a closet under the guise that we were playing “spa,” and of course didn’t you know spas are usually in closets? That same sweet angel also told me that her mom wanted her to cook dinner using only the spice rack. As in, she thought I would let her pour all of the contents of the spice rack into a bowl. So weird and adorable! I love seeing what kids paint, too, because it almost always involves their parents and aliens and castles and sometimes guns. Oh, the sensemaking.  Taking care of kids is usually really fun, unless they gang up on you and overturn a couch. In most cases, that means you’re fired.

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had? How did you avoid digging yourself a hole of unearned self-pity? Or, if you found yourself in said hole, how did you decorate it? I’m thinking of getting myself a chandelier …


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