Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Workin' It

I love pens. I love all school supplies, but I am especially in love with pens. I love the ultra fine point pilots, and my G-2's, and I have every color of Sharpie. I even have forest green, a color I loathe, but I have the Sharpie because I couldn't help myself. I think I became a teacher because I love pens so much and no one questions a teacher who has one million pens, but anyone else, well, this might raise some eyebrows ( I'm already self-conscious about the reaction I get when anyone discovers how many lipsticks/balms/gloss I carry at one time). The second reason I became a teacher was so I could draw on the chalkboard. Don't get me started on this business of replacing chalkboards with whiteboards. I have very strong feelings about this, but I'm determined not to get sidetracked, as is my nature, so back to pens. In conclusion: I love them--but not the 89 cents for a pack of 10 kind. The good ones. The reason I became a teacher. Oh yeah, I was a teacher once, which makes me think of all the jobs I've had. Did that flow nicely? Well, I ain't a teacher anymore. . . So here is my employment history.

Paper route: I delivered papers at 12 years old for the Lincoln Journal. I hated it, but I learned to fold papers really quickly and to hate old people (they were always trying to make my job harder--on purpose/deliberately/with disdain: I tried to get everyone to pay by mail so I wouldn't have to go to each one of their houses each month and the old people wouldn't because "it's part of the job!" grumble grumble). I decided to get the job because my older brother, Christopher, had had a route for years and when I complained about the inequality of housework among my brothers and sisters to my mother, her reasoning for giving him less chores was because he had a paper route. So how dumb did I feel when I had the same amount of household chores, but a paper route in addition. . . So I did what any other spurned preteen would, I split the route in two, paid my younger brother and sister a small fee to do it, ordered the rubberbands, and made a little profit.

Babysitting: This counts, right? I liked it, especially when the kids went to bed and I could help myself to a big bowl of sugar-cereal. You know what I"m talkin' about. It went smoothly, some better than others. I hated the family across the street with three kids because they'd say they'd be home at 11, and then they'd come home at 3 smelling of pot and pay me $1 an hour: with 3 kids, and even for the 80's that was cheap. There was a family I loved, though, because the boys were darling and made me Valentines and all sorts of sweet things, but I once had a really uncomfortable car ride home with the dad. He was really, really cute and he drove a cool corvette and I had a crush on him. I babysat for them starting in the 7th grade and the summer before 9th grade, lets see, how can I say this delicately? I went from a AA to a C and Mr. Corvette told me he noticed that I was "growing up," and "filling out" and something painfully awkward like that and there was this awful moment of silence I'll never forget and that was that. So imagine how confused I was when I found out, years later, that he left his wife. . . 'cause he was gay. Turns out he didn't love me or my filled-out sweater.

The Gallup Polls: "Hello, My name is Lisa and I'm calling from the National Gallup Organization. I assure you I'm not trying to sell you anything, we're just conduction a survey about (insert a variety of subjects: apples, tabacco, President Bush (the first one), insurance, the People's Choice Awards, etc)." I must have said that one million times. (no Miles, not exactly "one million," it's just an estimate). Gallup's Polling headquarters are in Omaha/Lincoln due to our "lack of an identifyable accent." Nebraskans are really proud of that. Working at Gallup was a prerequisite for high school graduation; everyone worked there at some point in time. It was a great place for showing up, talking-gossiping-flirting (point of interest: the office vixen went to the Catholic high school and her name was Chastity-how funny is that?), ordering food, leaving and then doing a half an hour of work. You were paid per quota so it could take you 15 minutes or 4 hours to get your surveys done. Sounds exciting? Well, it was. You had your finger on the pulse of the country. Do people like apples? Why yes, yes they do. Machintosh ones, in fact. Not everyone is privy to such information, but we were. I worked there all through high school and the summer I came back from my freshman year at college. I also verified calls. I'd have to call people, bugging them a second time and asking them if they REALLY completed a survey weeks ago. Basically I was questioning their integrity, and we both knew it. But I doodled a lot, played a lot of Peter Murphy and Fishbone.

Leon's Market: Featured in "Terms of Endearment," this little gourmet grocery store is within walking distance from my home. It's small and overpriced, but it has the best steaks in the city, and that's why it stays open. I needed a second job when I came back from my first year at BYU to kill the summer and interrupt the time inbetween sleeping and listening to the Indigo Girls in the dark. I did slave labor for the Deli women (two old ladies in their 70's who were going to teach me a thing or two about life), which I didn't mind because then the time would go by faster. Time stood still in that place. I did everything I could to keep busy. I offered to make signs for the deli, for the front counter, for the meat counter, for the . . . you get the picture. Some of those signs are still up today (not because they're so great, but because time stands still in that place--they still think it's 1991). I dusted the gum. EVERYDAY. Once I started wiping the windows and the manager told me, "we have someone who does that." I dusted the candybars. ANYTHING, I've never been so bored in my life. But it's here that I learned how to make watergate salad and learned the subtle, yet important distinction between swiss and baby swiss cheese, and my life's never been the same.

Hogi Yogi yogurt blender/hogi maker: I know, I know. Not the proudest moment in my life, but I'm not too proud to make an honest living. . . does your opinion change of me if I tell you I only worked there for 3 months? Yeah, I blended. Raspberry/cream cheese: try it. An old boyfriend introduced me to his fiance my first week on the job. One of my proudest moments. Even Topher, then just a friend, came in once to mock me (oreo-vanilla, yeah, I remember). I left when my then roomate, Rebecca (www.ignorethecrazy.blogspot), convinced her manager to hire me as a watress at a restaraunt if I helped clean up cockroaches after Saturday's bug bomb. That should have been a sign. . .

Waitress at The Underground: Certainly one of the more lucrative jobs. It was a great job for me: I worked with really cool people, there were plenty of "work drama" to keep me entertained, and as much Mr. Pibb as I could drink. I learned a lot, too. Apparently it's romantic to eat dinner in an old-fashioned car in a fake speak-easy, french fries you don't pay for ARE, in fact, better tasting, and always tip 20 percent. Some of the highlights include: Watching Keith, the cook, tease Marsha, an 80 year-old who got her hair done every Thursday and wore lots of dark blue eyeshadow (we were never sure what her job title was, but she made bleu cheese dressing and cheesecake, and wrote letters to everyone who had ever worked at the Underground) that when she died, since she had worked there for so long, they'd have her and her cats stuffed and placed on the mantle by the piano. Then she'd cry. But they were best friends so it's okay. That scene happened every Friday night. Rebecca and I would always get Keith to cook us up something: french toast, prime rib, etc. . . Keith was a really good cook, too and I've never eaten so well in my life!

Bombay Company: I sold overpriced, cheap fancy-looking furniture, but mostly I talked to the other employees because it was another "dusting" job. In a two years we had three different gay managers, all of whom were really funny and hated their job but LOVED "Pretzel Time" (what time is it?)! There was one exciting day: I was interviewed by company headquarters because apparently there'd be "a call" about someone stealing some stuff. Then the next day we had a new manager! I still, to this day, don't know who it was.

Sears and Western Watts: Both involved calling people, but not selling anything. Both were really boring, and I told them so.

Spanish Fork Middle School: 6th and 7th Grade: I will go to heaven just for having this job. Seriously, the deal's been made. I remember when I thought I was really getting to them--I mean, we were really having a deep discussion. I was really going somewhere and I thought they were with me, I remember saying, "Have you ever heard the expression 'the pen is mightier than the sword?' " and Thomas, who had a problem, physically, sitting still immediately raised his hand excitedly and said, "Oh yeah! I totally know what you mean!" I smiled, (this was what I knew teaching was all about--I had FINALLY gotten through to them) he continued, "That's totally true! 'Cause this one time, when that guy got out his pen, there was poison in it and then he stuck it in that other guy. . . " hmmm. .. where are we going with this. . . "and then it had a bomb in it and he TOTALLY killed him with the pen. It's so much better than a sword." Oh yeah. It occurs to me he's talking about a scene from "Mission Impossible", and that pretty much sums up that experience/job. That, or the time we were reading "The Devil's Arithmetic" and talking about the Holocaust and a student raises his hand in the middle of our discussion and asks where "the name bagel comes from?"

Springville High School: 10th and 11th Grade: see above description, but remove "students who can't physically keep to themselves," and add "can't physically look anything but bored."

Voice Overs: Ellis, Commercials, Peak Productions, BrainGarden, JuniorsGiants. What could be better than talking into a microphone and getting paid for it? It's the best gig ever, but I'm always afraid someone will find out it's not that hard and do it themself. But I could really use the money, so mum's the word.

Acting: Garrens Improv Comedy, which doesn't really count because I got paid, like fifty cents a show, and it was fun. But I did get paid for some away shows, so I'm totally going to count it. Don't let me deceive you, I don't consider myself "an actress." I usually get calls for audtions because they're calling Topher in and, well, I answer the phone. And how awkward is that? They kind of have to ask me then. I have done some Commercials, and I think I've always been "the mom," so does it really count as acting? If you're Cox cable and you're wondering if you should send the check, the answer's "yes." "Stalking Santa"--I'm "the pregnant mom" in that (really stretching it) and Topher's "wife," so as you can tell, I'm really choosing roles that will challenge me as an artist.

BYU Independent Study: Science Fiction Class: I wrote the original online class when Miles was a baby, and I'm revising it now. It seemed like a good idea at the time, then came the birth of child #4 and strep throat and a disk drive that won't work and now I'm wondering if it's worth all the work. Oh, you'll pay me three dollars? Yeah, it's worth it.

Thanks for reading my blog about pens. (I'm trying to wrap this up all nicely, is it working?) As you can see, I used a pen in ALL OF MY JOBS, so you can see how important they are to me. And lipstick. I've needed lipstick in every single one. Now you know what to get me for Christmas.

35 comments:

christopher clark said...

I know what I'm getting you for Christmas. Are you ready for this? PEGGY'S PEN! I don't know why I never thought of this. It's perfect for you.

I knew and loved you through many of these jobs. You were really a champ at all of them. But especially Hogi Yogi.

ashleywilkinsonneves said...

Lisa!
You like Peter Murphy!! I like you even more now!!
Oh, and have you ever seen Kathy Griffin do stand-up? She is soooo you! without the swearing...

Azúcar said...

I knew I knew you before Topher! Remember me? Annoying High School Girl #3 at the Hogi Yogi counter? Chocolate yogurt with Skor bar?

Eric D Snider said...

Lisa, a man can be gay and still love you and your filled-out sweater. Who WOULDN'T love those great big things?!?

~j. said...

There are several stories about the origin of the bagel. One of the most popular accounts states that in 1683, a baker in Austria wanted to pay tribute in gratefulness to King Jan Sobieski of Poland, who had helped drive Turkish invaders out of Austria. King Jan was well known as a skilled horseman, so the Austrian baker decided to shape some dough into an uneven circle resembling a stirrup. The Austrian word for "stirrup" is "beugel." The name later "morphed" into the word we now know as "bagel."

I want to do voice-overs.

Bek said...

Lisa--I am both ashamed and honored that I got mentioned in your Hogi/Yogi--Underground entry. I really just wanted you to work there because it was so much fun. I distinctly remember many Friday nights one of us would pick up a shift so we could work together. What the Underground had to offer on Friday night was far better then anything the outside world did. I am sorry that I made you come in to clean up cockroaches that time. Ewwww. Why did either of us do that?

Was it for the whopping $2.13 an hour we made? Was it the fact that we could eat for free (hey, we were poor students)? I think it was the Turkey sandwiches dipped in blue cheese dressing while watching Day's of our Lives in the banquet room. Remember dipping fresh sour dough bread in ALFREDO SAUCE? We ate like pigs and were still tiny....those were the days.

lisa v. clark said...

Bek: As I was writing this blog, I got really hungry for the turkey on wheat dipped in bleu cheese, and for the mighty, yet controversial (who owns that receipe today?!) philly cheesesteak. Seriously, we were skinny, right?

Topher: I don't want your second-hand pens.

Eric, you've always been there for me.

Becky Baird said...

Lisa, what? No mention of the Marie Osmond sighting while you worked at Bombaby Company? That's one of my favorite stories! It might be it's own blog...?

Still waiting to fill out my sweaters.

ashleywilkinsonneves said...

Lisa, I need to clarify...
You don't LOOK like Kathy Griffin. Her funny reminds me of you. That's all.
kbye

Suzie Petunia said...

I saw Marie Osmond at the St. Louis zoo when I was about 6 years old... like I knew who she was at the time.

I worked at the Sears tele-center place in Provo and only received incoming calls. I got reprimanded by a supervisor once for scheduling service for and air compressor when it should have been an air CONDITIONER! What does a 18-year-old girl know about appliances???

I also love pens and sharpies and have yet to fill out my sweater.

ashleywilkinsonneves said...

I HAVE filled out my sweater many times.
I just LIKE pens and sharpies.
I had a gay man tell me LAST NIGHT that he thought I had nice tatas for someone who's nursed 4 kids.
And, I saw Marie Osmond when I was touring the Independence LDS Visitor's Center and RLDS temple in 1994.

We're all brothers and sisters in the Lord.

lisa v. clark said...

yes, yes we are. And thanks for the Kathy Griffin shout-out. . . I'm blushing.

I love that all anyone learned from my EXTENSIVE job experience, is that I fill out my sweater (or used to--Hugh will be the end of me).

I do have a very special story about Marie Osmond, but they're turning it into a tv movie of the week, so I can't talk about it now.

Azúcar said...

Suzie--
The Sears tele-center was my first "real job." I got in trouble for scheduling ALL the incoming calls as number one priority.
Seriously, why did they let 17 year olds schedule repairs for broken appliances in Cape Girardeau, MO?

Did they make you sell detergent? They were trying to make us sell detergent all the time.

"I'm sorry that the side of venison that your late husband put up in your garage freezer is now spoiled because your
thingy broke, but I'm pleased to offer you 15 pounds of the finest no-name detergent on the market at a rock bottom price! How many boxes may I put you down for?"

wendysue said...

Well Lisa, Leons has gone south without you. I picked up some potato salad (the deviled egg kind) the other day and the "Deli ladies" (I'm sure it's the same ones), couldn't even tell me the ingredients!! And the Oreo fluff was looking so sad. And I was going to fill out a complaint card that I went to pick up some gum, and it was DUSTY!! Ugh, where can you get some good employees around here! (P.S. I only vaguely remember that babysitters story but I HAVE to know who it was??????????????????????)

Kactiguy said...

I like pencils more than pens.
I fill out my sweaters too.
I've had a few run-ins with the Osmonds.
I've never worked at Sears but I do have an air compressor from Sears.

Lorien said...

I have a little 1st grade 'About Me" book thing that asks what you want to be when you grow up and why. My answer? A teacher because I would get to write on the chalkboard. We are SO kindred spirits.

I like Uni-ball Vision Elite pens. Have you tried them? If you haven't you really should. I like to buy the multi-colored pack. My favorites are purple and green (it's more of a kelly green, not forest). In fact, I should check around right now for sales on my favorite pens seeing how it's that fabulous month August with it's oh-so-wonderful school supply sales.

Bek said...

Lisa,

When I was in England on my mission I had my parents SEND me my favorite pens because I couldn't find them there! We are kindred souls.

I served my mission w/ an Osmond. He looked JUST like Donny. He never sang for us though because he is deaf. By the way--in England they LOVE the Osmonds. We got more dinner appointments when he was with us, so I guess he was good for something. I never got "shussshed" by an Osmond in a mall eatery. (For those of you who don't understand that last part, stay tuned for the Marie Osmond story......)

christopher clark said...

You guys, I don't mean to be gross AT ALL, but I've seen lisa's boobs a whole bunch of times, and they are even better without a sweater. Seriously, I don't mean to be gross.

Stephanie Aurora Clark Nielson said...

chris, really that was unapropriate but I will say i've seen them too (nursing) and they are nice...

Valentine said...

We just painted Derrick's living room forest green. Sorry. I have those sharpies, too. I love the dark purple. Adam's dog chewed up my fine point black Sharpies (or as I call them... Heaven on earth) last week and I cried. Oh, and I'm unemployed. Those are my comments.

Bek said...

Someone send Amanda a package of Sharpies--STAT! They may not help you get a job, but they will make all those long hours a little bit more fun!!

Remember, in LA you aren't "jobless" or "unemployed", you are simply "between projects".

Lorien said...

Chris, what a sweet thing to say! I don't think it's gross at all. You're a dear. Lisa, really you should share them with more people if they are that nice.

Azúcar said...

Maybe that's how you can get Ralph and Yvonne to finally remember you!

lisa v. clark said...

Thanks for the encouragement, guys, but I'm not taking my blouse off for anyone, even if it IS artistic.

Wendy, under NO CIRCUMSTANCES EVER get the Oreo Fluff. But I DO recommend the macaroni and cheese--it's the real deal (every Friday if I remember correctly)

Lorien- Uni-Ball Vision Elite? Nice choice, nice choice. I'm a black or red kinda writer. Blue makes me really uncomfortable.

Panda: Adam's dog ate your pens!? ADAM OF MAROON 5?! Just deduct the cost of your destroyed pens from your rent. . . (ouch!) OR sell your story of woe to US Weekly. I'm just sayin'. . .

lisa v. clark said...

Panda: that last comment was a little harsh-- you're unemployed and I should be more sympathetic. But forest green? REALLY?

Josh said...

One time a guy laughed out loud at me in the BYU bookstore because I told Chanel that if I don't have access to a Sharpie I feel a hole in my soul. The joke is on him though, because he was shopping at the BYU Bookstore. Oh, wait...

One of the many perks of my new job is that we can order 6 packs of multi-colored fine tip sharpies right from the corporate supplies! At Banana Republic if I wanted sharpies (AND I DID!) I had to buy my own. Reason #482 on my list of why I quit.

Oprah loves Sharpies too. Just sayin....

Ben said...

Sorry this comment doesn't relate to sharpies, but it does relate to a job I had.

I was a 4:00am janitor for the FOB at BYU. My mentor/coworker (Tom) took me into a room one day and gesturing to the floor asked: what do you see?

Me: Nothing.

Tom then reached for and retrieved what I would categorize as a small speck, about the size of the following period.

Tom: After you have done this kind of work for a time, you will develop an eye. You'll be able to see things that other people can't see.

Me: Impressive.

c jane said...

Lisa,
When you used the word "blouse" ("I'm not taking my blouse off for anyone")it made me laugh. Kinda like the words "ballcap" or "culottes".

P.S. I take my "blouse" off all the time for artistic reasons. Allow me recommend it.

P.S.S Does my brother read this post? Cause I would hate for him to know that I just wrote that.

c jane said...

(Rather, "allow me TO reccommend it").

Tina the sistah said...

Oh Judy! I've had some of those jobs! I too, fondly remember car rides home with the hot gay man when Lisa was unavailable to babysit. And while Lisa had old people, I had scary welfare smokers on my paper route who wouldn't answer the door, much less pay. I've also done the Sears Teleservice and 4am Janitorial Duty at BYU (lasted about 7 weeks-I cried while quitting because I was so tired and it was 3:30am when I called in "sick forever.") The best job I've had is stealing my sister's voice over work while she's in England because I sound JUST LIKE HER-I've fooled some of you on the phone :)! Thanks Lisa! BTW-Walgreens has a sale on G2s this week-and Revlon lipstick-score! (No comment on blouse filling!)

Brdfrd11 said...

A blog entry about jobs ... it's brilliant. I know what I'm doing for my next one! Ha!

Also, I worked at Sears Telecatalog. Ugh. The best part of that job was looking through the catalog at Christmas-time and pretending I was 8 again and circling all the toys I wanted.

Becky Baird said...

Hey, I just talked to my friend that toured Africa for a month, and she said you can get ANYTHING you want if you give people pens! It's like an entire continent in need! Forget food, water, or discussions on how NOT to spread AIDS, what those people want are PENS. She told me when she walked into a store or market, as soon as they found out she was an American, they would say "You can have anything in my store if you give me a pen"!!! Oh, and apparently if you have a LIVESTRONG yellow rubber bracelet, you're a god. Funny place, that Africa!

BB

Peggy said...

Present Peggy’s pen to your puerile partner with her pointless post about her plentiful professions!?? How parsimonious! "Perfect?" Perfect for PEGGY to be precise!

disclaimer said...

Peggy is only a pretend personality produced by a person with a passion for alliteration and practically no willpower. Panic not over Peggy’s peculiar posts. Please pardon Peggy’s producer’s peculiar pastime of P-premised pranks. It’s past time for Peggy to pack up her posting profession.

Permanently parting,
PP

abelnap said...

Chris, that was a sweet, yet wholly inappropriate, comment about Lisa's tetons. However, Lisa, I seem to recall a conversation in which we discussed the fact that after kids the sistahs were headed south. It is all good with a heavy duty underwire, but after four...well, I'll just say my sweater is full when I've got good support. Without it, I pretty much look like a woman with a double barrel beer belly.