career counseling

October 8, 2006

This is the first week in a while where I’ve had to struggle to get writing done. Between the day job and various other activities, there isn’t a lot of energy left, and sitting down to come up with 5000 words this weekend has been kind of like trying to perfect cold fusion using a few simple household items.

Of course, if I ever do discover cold fusion, I’m going to take a lesson from “The Saint” with Val Kilmer, write it all down on index cards and stick it in my bra. After this movie, we finally know what Victoria’s Secret is: the Nobel Prize for Physics.

But it encourages me quite a bit, to think that writing is turning into a full time job, (even if I already have one of those) especially as it compares to some of the other jobs I’ve had over the years.

The last time I worked 40 hours a week for a full year, I had a job that I still shudder to remember. I was still doing costuming, intending to work full time in theater, or something like it. And I found ad for a costume shop position, with no explanation, in an unmarked building on the North side of Milwaukee.

Going on record here to say that this was a subcontractor of the enormous fast food restaurant chain in question (with it’s highly paid staff of lawyers) and that my abject misery while working there had nothing to do with them.

But I worked where the giant fiberglass hamburgers come from. And hamburger pushing clown suits. And bright red wigs.

Not the burger shilling clown you see on TV. That shop was out in LA. This shop made the suits and styled the wigs for the hundred or so field clowns, the ones you might see doing guest appearances at local restaurants.

But we really weren’t supposed to talk much about it because it would spoil the illusion that there can be only one (like the Highlander, but with really big red shoes). I’m assuming that the majority of my readership is over five years old, and can handle the fast that there is more than one clown, just as there is more than one Santa.

Over the year or two I worked there, I had a wide variety of stupid and annoying jobs. I became a master at styling clown wigs. I swear, to this day it’s the only hair style I feel really confident about doing. Tease it all straight up, use half a can of Aqua Net, comb it down, wave the front, and spray with the other half can of hairspray.

Except for the day where I mixed the hair spray up with the yellow spray paint and punked out Ronald, before I could stop myself.

But if you did it right, you could drop the wig form on the floor and not mess up the style. Then you stuffed it in a plastic pickle bucket, shipped it to a clown and billed him $250.

I was doing it all in a factory setting, with a time clock and continual piped in Muzak. The woman before me had climbed to the roof and stuffed the speaker with foam, which took the volume from intrusive to irritating. Every day for the entire time I worked there, the radio was playing an elevator jazz version of “Thanks For the Memories” when I punched out at five.