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.