"Why would anybody want to marry a complete stranger for their money? Well, I guess it beats workin'. Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but aside from gravity and how good it feels to put a Q-tip too far into your ear, nothing quite unites mankind like the fact that at one time or another, just about all of us have had a lousy job.
My grandfather used to say, "Dennis," and about five minutes later, I'd say, "Yes, Grampa?" And then he'd say, "Dennis, always do something you love, and you'll never work a day in your life." Of course, my grandfather operated the hoof-grinder at a Hormel plant and he was extremely sarcastic, but it's a cute story. You would think that in this country nobody would have to settle for a bad job. Why, then, why would someone willing subject themselves to an environment where they are constantly humiliated, degraded, and debates? The answer is quite simple: my writers have no green cards.
There are many ways to know that you have a bad job. For instance, if you have to carry out the body of the guy whose place you are taking. If you're employed at the post office next to a coworker who's constantly muttering under his breath and the only word you can ever make out is your first name. And, most important, you never want to be the bathroom attendant in an Indian restaurant.
The problem with bad jobs is that often they make you dress the part. Every time I go to the food court at a mall and see those girls at that lemonade-and-corndog place wearing the red hot-pants and the multicolored hats, I have to bite my tongue to keep from screaming, "Sell your blood!" I worked as an usher in a movie theater when I was a teenager. I had to wear black tuxedo pants, a white ruffled shirt, and a black bow tie, all topped off with a burgundy polyester jacket with the company crest over my left breast. Christ, I looked like a prom narc. You wanna be wearing formal attire when the guy whose dick you're shining a flashlight on looks up at you and says, "Pray for me?"
I've had lots of bad jobs. There was the Fotomat gig where a lady got testy because her pictures weren't there in twenty-four hours as promised. I tried to keep it together, but when she called me an incompetent minimum-wage slug, I told her I had to send her order back to the lab because the photographs of her ass wouldn't fit in the booth.
I have friends who have, in my opinion, the worst jobs anyone could possibly imagine, but they are either fucking with my head or completely insane because they think they've got life by the balls. My friend Joey cleans out the small-object filter screen at a major urban sewage treatment plant. He calls himself a "flow-facilitation engineer," and he insists that the job has many perks and often winks at me as he makes large purchases with buckets full of damp, stinky, loose change.
For Twenty-five years my friend Cliff has scooped dead animals off country roads for a living. Cliff fancies himself a "pelt wrangler." He also insists that the rewards of his job go beyond the paycheck, as he casts a proud glance toward his fur-lined den, out of which he operates his all-natural, eyes-are-still-in-'em toupee business.
And then there's Lindell, who puts electronic surveillance ankle bracelets on people under house arrest. Lindell loves being part of the criminal justice system because he feels that too many people are immoral and unethical and, besides, from time to time a hooker will give him a hand job for loosening the bracelet a notch. The point I'm making is there's good work out there. But, more important, if your sense of who you are is entirely wrapped up in what you do for a living, I feel sorry for you. There is so much more to who a person is than how he collects a check. There's family. There's friends. There's hobbies. And, above all, there's going down to your local Subway shop and staring through the window at the guy your age in the canary-yellow "Sandwich Artist" polo shirt sweating over a provolone-and-salami hoagie like he's defusing a fucking bomb, and you thanking God that you are not him.
Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong."