Monthly Archives: July 2014

A moment of silence for my beard

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The new company, henceforth know as “SaberSave” did not have the actual uniform on site. So until that comes in they told me to wear a white polo shirt with black pants. Black pants are a part of the uniform and yesterday I made the mistake of wearing a red shirt to my orientation.

Fortunately, I was not the only member of a landing crew surrounded by any of the lead actors, so I made it out alive. Although this morning, I made the decision to completely remove my beard.

Unfortunately, on the way home, someone mistook me for an employee of Generimart and proceeded to ask me if, “You’re injured and you work for Generimart, will they still pay you if you had to stay home?”

The guy was on crutches with a busted leg, and sitting on a porch that I strongly doubt belonged to his house. And he was a bit of a tweak, leading me to believe that he genuinely expected a company to hire him on the spot and not actually require him to do any work.

I assured him that I did not work for that store and made my way home. The irony of the conversation wasn’t lost on me.

 

A Brief Word on Friend Requests

I’ve been dropping the ball with keeping this blog going. Fortunately, orientation with my new job starts tomorrow and I will not only have a generic name for it but a slue of new content before too long. In the meantime, there’s something I’ve been meaning to write about in light of the most recent friend request on my Facebook, this is as good a time as any.

The people on my Facebook fall into two categories: Family I want to stay in touch with and non-family acquaintances with whom I share a common interest or goal.

Over the years I have added and deleted people from both categories for a number of reasons. Maybe certain aspects of their personality, represented by what they post, became too irksome. Or perhaps I got tired of one too many passive aggressive, “I hate it when people post this thing that you clearly posted, but I don’t have the balls to tell you outright that I don’t like it” posts. Whatever the reason(s), the main thing to remember is that if I’ve removed you from my Facebook there’s no getting back in. This is the one sweeping gesture in my arsenal that no one can misconstrue or twist around to serve their own ends. Like my aunt and cousins have learned, once I’ve blocked you from Facebook, I’ve blocked you from my life. And if I do delete someone, sometimes it’s never out of malice. It’s just that at that time I have decided that knowing you no longer fulfills the need that drove me to adding you in the first place. There have been people that it seriously pained me to remove from my list, but it had to be done.

This brings me to friend requests. When I see someone I don’t know personally that I would like to add to my Facebook, I do something that literally no one has ever done for me in the time since I got my account. I send a short but detailed message explaining (or reminding them) who I am, how I found their profile, and why I would like to make a friends request.

Facebook may be slightly safer than Myspace, but you still have to protect yourself. For that reason, if I get a friend request from someone I do not personal know and there’s isn’t a message to go with it, I will reject it. I don’t care if it says “Friends with” whoever on my Facebook. Just because my brother knows him or because we went to school together (in many case, especially if we went to school together) that doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with him. And what if I piss him off? How do I know what’s going to set that person off and ruin their relationship with my actual friend.

There are rare exceptions to this. Some of the friends on my Facebook were not previously known to me but maybe they watched a television show I liked, or they shared some other obscure interest of mine. For the most part, I haven’t regretted having these people to my friends list and I hope they haven’t regretted adding me.

When it comes to kids I don’t know, there is no exception. If you’re under eighteen and we don’t share even a strand of hereditary DNA, then don’t even bother adding me. It’s nothing personal, but there are risks to having some strange kid I don’t know posting on my wall. The most annoying of which is to have my wall flooded with crap. The least annoying but just as inconvenient is the possibility that your parents will see some 30 year-old guy on your Facebook that they don’t know, and suddenly I have FBI kicking down the door with Chris Hansen close behind.

Overall it’s a simple rule. Did you and I go to the first grade together? Are we half an hour older than one another? Do we both love seeing  Hugh Jackman shirtless and buff? Then send me a message with your friend request telling me so and that will better inform my decision to accept or reject your offer.

I got the Job. And the Vest is Mine Once More…

So I had one option until today. The first place that hired me was a company I had worked for before and was located an extremely long distance from my home, at least if I was expected to walk there. Therefore it is no surprise that I graciously accepted the job offer for a grocery store that is located just barely on the edge of town, but not six counties over the border.

Tonight, I am going to attempt to tell some jokes at a coffee shop, assuming the price is right for the cheapest coffee and the open mic is not primarily a music based open mic. 

The Title of Cart Jockey May Yet Be Mine Again

I just had a phone interview with a grocery store that is located physically closer than the place where my orientation has been held. It may mean peeing in yet another cup, but I am going to go to the in person interview tomorrow as I promised.

Just what is the advice about phone interviews? Are you always supposed to live with the idea that the next person who calls you on the phone could be a potential employer? I don’t think I botched it as evidence that I was asked to come in, unless they just want to inconvenience me as well as reject me.

Still, I’m going to go in there head strong and mouth restrained because well, I don’t feel like walking across the county to make jack per hour. I just hope I get an offer of employment from these people before Monday.

Closer To Free

There’s no such thing as a free meal. But if I go to the mall and spend enough time in the food court, I can get as close to a free meal as possible by confidently reassuring the hopeful owners of the various eateries that their minute sampling would definitely land my business in the immediate future, after I’ve looked at the other places and have vetted their samples. I can then cleanse my pallet by stopping at the frozen yogurt place and asking for a free sample.

These are all things that are readily available. If the lady behind the counter did not hold out a toothpick with the most delicious teriyaki beef ever tasted, I would not expect her to do so. If the little plastic card I found in the parking lot did not say I was entitled to a free grilled chicken salad sandwich, I would not ask the cashier, “Can I have some food that I don’t intend to pay for? I might pay you on Tuesday, if you’re lucky.”

This is a blog post I have wanted to write for sometime, especially since I have had so much free time these past two weeks. But it’s the most recent heckler clip by comedian Steve Hofstetter, involving a heckler demanding a free shirt that his spurred me to finally follow through.

We all like free things. Sometimes we even buy a product because of the free gift. But it’s when someone comes right out and with no indication that they had a right to do so, demands or asks for something for free. I truly can’t think of anything more brazen and disrespectful, except of course, for someone who tried to get a former roommate of mine to sell him some sound equipment for way below the market price, but that’s another story entirely.

When I was reading tarot cards in Burlington, I wasn’t allowed to put a price on the service. Because the people in charge of Church Street’s Marketplace consider what I did a performance and not an actual service. So as such, I was required to put a bucket down with a sign that said, “Donations”. Some months, I could pay bills with the money they’d throw. On other days, I could do a load of laundry. It was one step up from panhandling and yes, this is what I plan to do in the coming months with comedy, since ironically, I can’t read tarot cards in Salem.

According to the rules, which a lot of people seemed to think I was just making up, the donation had to be voluntary. If I was caught breaking that rule I could lose my license altogether and not get my twenty-five dollars back. So I was following that rule as well every other one, which by the way, was written down in a document I had to sign, which made it more frustrating when people kept chiding me for not charging. But again, I digress.

So when it comes right down to it, I could do about forty readings per day and get pocket change for my trouble. But that was fine, because long as someone was throwing something useful into the bucket I was happy for the chance to do this. I even didn’t mind when someone would get the reading and did not donate, because for every one that didn’t donate, there would be about ten really big donors.

What got under my skin were the people who came right out and asked, “This is free, right?” “Do me for free.” “I don’t need to pay for this, correct?”

Again, no, it wasn’t necessary to pay for a reading. But asking me like that always felt like they were telling me how little my time and service was valued. Getting something in exchange for the reading made the day worth it and reinforced the idea that my time meant something to the people who sat at my table. I was good at what I did and whether you believe in it or not, I didn’t employ cheap tricks or psychology to do my readings. I believed in what I was doing and I believed that I deserved to be compensated.

Similarly, you may think you deserve to get something for nothing. But the person on the stage, or behind the counter at your favorite coffee shop, or at the gas station, deserves to be able to live comfortably in exchange for the work they do.

If a shop owner offers to give you something, take it with a smile and a thank you. But don’t ever act like you’re entitled to something based on nothing but your own selfish desires.

Be Prepared to Pee in a Cup

All job ads should start with that, especially in the state of Massachusetts. Fortunately, years of saying no have prepared me for the numerous visits to pre-employment drug screenings and I shouldn’t have a problem. I even showed a little foresight in not taking my daily potassium supplement, because dietary supplements can cause a false positive test and I don’t even want to screw my chances of not winding up homeless again by even asking if it would be a wise idea.

My only other hope is that I get to go to the casting call on the 26th. It would be nice to work on a movie that I know people will see, even if I’m only going to be background noise.