Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Greatest Job on Earth
I've written often about the many shitty jobs I've held throughout my career.
I was an industrial pot washer at a hospital.
I drove a forklift.
I put in time as a landscaper.
And of course, I've toiled for many years as a copywriter. In fact recently I devoted a whole week's worth of postings detailing my less-than-ideal travails working with Taco Bell. (Web traffic almost doubled last week so you can be sure there will be more 4-part series in the future.)
Today, we're going in the other direction.
When I was a junior in college I decided to go it on my own. I would declare complete financial independence. By omitting my parents monetary support for an entire year, I would be eligible for much-needed financial assistance in my final senior year.
Of course to do that I couldn't get by on the $3.62 cents an hour job I had washing dishes at Brockway Dining Hall.
Fortunately, my father knew a guy. Actually he knew two guys, both of whom had exceedingly Italian last names. And were possibly made men. They managed a new bar on campus named Sutter's Mill.
It was rumored that the bar was nothing more than a front to launder cash. Those of you who've watched Breaking Bad know exactly what I'm talking about.
In any case, Sal called Tony, Tony called Paulie, Paulie called Vinnie, Vinnie called Joey, who wasn't anywhere to be found (if you know what I mean), so then Vinnie called Angie. I had never poured drinks before but none of that seemed to matter.
Next thing you know I'm sporting a Sutter's Mill Polo Shirt and I'm standing behind a bar in close proximity to the two things I enjoyed most: alcohol and women.
Moreover I was coming home every night with a thick wad of cash that reeked of cigarette smoke but was legal tender nonetheless. Even more importantly, Uncle Sam never saw a dime.
Wait, it gets better.
Sutter's Mill quickly became the most popular bar on campus. The bosses knew that to maintain that fun atmosphere, the employees needed to look like they were having fun. Every hour, on the hour, the bar manager, Richard, a 6 foot 6 inch rail thin black guy who came to work in a shirt and tie and a leather cowboy hat would ring a bell, stop everything and pour shots of Yukon Jack for all the bartenders on duty.
You think that's a college student dream job? You haven't heard the best part.
We packed it in every night and because the drinking age in New York State was 11 years old at the time, we had our fair share of brawling. We also had a team of menacing bouncers that could have and should have been playing on the front line for the lowly Syracuse Orangemen.
These guys were big, beefy and itching for the opportunity to earn their keep.
All of which gave me an unwarranted sense of bravado and power.
Power which I'm ashamed to admit I abused with great regularity. Whether it was rescuing a coed from some unwanted suitor or cutting off a guy because he had too much to drink or simply because I didn't like the cut of his jib, I could always appear braver than I had a right to.
"Gimme a Moosehead."
"No, you're done."
"Oh yeah, who says so?"
"I said so."
With one quick glance to the rare exit door, a bouncer would appear on the scene.
"Is there a problem here?"
And there never was.
If only there were bouncers in advertising.