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Ever worked at a job that you knew, without a doubt, that you were “above”? You know, like you have a college degree, but due to circumstance, bad credit, and a minor mishap with tequila and an on-duty police officer, you’re doomed to working the drive-through at Jack In The Box or the men’s department in Wal-Mart? I’m not talking about people who enjoy that job, and have decided to work it and try to ascend to the higher elevations of retail management – I’m talking about “I just have to do this for 6 months until I can get a REAL job” people. These people are bad eggs.

Let’s not get confused here, though. There are differing levels of disgruntlement, ranging from “this place sucks” to “I’mma kill ALL you motherfuckers!!!”. I’m not talking about the extreme range of that psychosis…I can’t even begin to understand the rationale behind walking into your workplace and shooting people. Hell, if it’s that fucking bad, just quit. Or – and here’s a novel idea – just kill yourself. Just you, not the 15 people just trying to get to their desk or check their bank accounts or see how much porn they have. Just your crazy ass. Do it in the garage with a running car and a hose pipe to make it easier to clean up your punk ass. Or OD on something. Either way, keep your problems to your damn self.

No, I’m speaking of a more relaxed type of disgruntled, along the lines of “I don’t need this bullshit”. Those people are fun for their coworkers (the cool ones, at least), and hell for management. Especially if they’re really good at their job, or it’s an undesirable job like working at the Exxon station at 3am. These are the bad eggs, the people who become occupational sociopaths with little regard for consequence or personal feelings. These people rock. These are the people who may slide you an extra burger in your BK bag and say “Shit, it ain’t MY burger. I don’t care.” These are the people who will take your 3 dresses, 2 pairs of shoes, a new belt, and a matching purse, and just ring up the belt. In their minds, they are <span style=”font-style: italic;font-family:arial;” >better than their place of business; it is beneath them to even consider treating the job with any amount of respect. I know this because I’ve been this person on more than one occasion.

I’ve written a couple of blog entries about the time I worked in the mall. If you haven’t read them, go do it now – there’s a test later. <a  href=”http://darkdamian.blogspot.com/2004/10/tales-from-mall.html”>Tales From The Mall</a>
I was not a nice employee, and I didn’t even attempt to be. I hated working there, the pay was lousy, the hours unreasonable, and my manager was dumber than Anna Nicole Smith at a MENSA convention. It sucked – but it was the only thing I could find. To offset my disdain for working there, I became indispensible – learning every job in the whole place, being willing to work overtime at short notice, coming in on my days off – anything I could do to make me unfireable. And it worked. Once I got to a point where I knew my manager would sooner gangbang a herd of Shetland ponies than fire me, I had it made. I could let my disdain for the job show more and more. I gave out more free food than the Red Cross. Duke and I would have deals worked out with other disgruntled employees from the other stores in the mall: Eats for Treats. Eats for Treats meant that if I give you a free meal, you give me a free something from your store sometime. We’d get shoes, clothes, CDs, books, free arcade games, frozen lemonade, toys…you name it. It was awesome, and none of us ever got caught, except for one girl who foolishly let her friend walk out with $250 worth of clothes, while only charging her for socks. That was just plain stupid.

Later I worked for GE, after graduating from college. Sounds great, right? Nay. I couldn’t find a job in my field, so I took a 3rd shift job in a fucking tool crib. A tool crib is a large caged area where tools and other factory supplies are stored. People came up and said “I need a 2″ bolt with a hex head”, and I had to go find it. Here I was, B.A. in English, fresh outta college, working 3rd shift in a TOOL CRIB! It was located on the 2nd floor, where I could have a clear view of the entire factory. I can’t tell you how many times I saw welders jerking off at 4am behind a piece of machinery. Being the only black face in the plant didn’t win me any friends in the 40-and-over white male demographic there, either. So I shirked my duties. Hard. My boss once went on vacation for a week, and told me to organize the motor parts or whatever. I did nothing of the sort. I sat on my ass and read the newspaper for 5 days. When he returned, he asked me if I’d done it, and I point-blank said “No.” He asked why, and I replied “I didn’t feel like it. They’re heavy.” This didn’t go over well, but I was just depleted by then, and did not care one iota. He said this, and it actually changed my attitude a hair: “Damian, I know you don’t want to work here. Hell, I don’t wanna work here. But we do. And if you had a better option than this, you’d take it. So please, try to remember that I’m the one standing between you and unemployment, ok?” It sunk in, and I became a model employee – until I quit 4 days later.

Since then, I’ve modified my view on work. I now use the IAPTS model of working, otherwise known as It All Pays The Same. I don’t get paid any less to do different aspects of my job, so I don’t bitch about having to do something I don’t like. It works, actually. Try it – you may find that your own job satisfaction will increase, without even having to reload a weapon.

Peace.

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I’ll get a new post out soon…I’ve got 2 or 3 in the works right now. However, I’ve been butt-ass busy with work, and haven’t had time to get them finished, so sit tight for now. It may be after Christmas. I’ll leave you with this one little nugget, however:

Another Tale from the Mall

One night I was working alone in the ice cream spot, making home-made waffle cones and burning my fingers on the blazing hot waffle iron. This enormous woman waddled up to the counter and stared at the menu for about 5 minutes. After Orca’s cousin looked over every item we offered, she asked “Can I have a chili dog?” Chili dogs aren’t on the menu, and I told her that. Free Willy’s twin said (in a huffy voice) “Well, can’t you just get me a hot dog and put chili on it? Seems like that would be a chili dog.”

I did her one better.

I reached down into the cooler where we kept our persihable items, grabbed a foot long hotdog from its tray with my bare hand, waved it in front of her and said “Is THIS chilly enough for you?” From the look on her face, you’d’ve thought that I slapped her thigh and tried to ride the wave in to her crotch.

Orca: “I want to see your manager!” I heard that a lot.
Me: “Yes Ma’am, I’ll go get her.”

I got Kake, who agreed with the manatee that I was rude and would be punished, which was bullshit. I was indispensible, and there was no way I would accept any punishment. When the sea cow left, Kake sighed.

Kake: “Why can’t you just give them what they want?”
Me: “Because they’re stupid, and ask for stupid things.”

She sighed again, and went back to the office.

Peace.

Still more tales from Calhoun Courts…check out the first and second stories for more background.

Salt Tea

Blinders had a girlfriend, Harpy. Harpy was somewhat attractive, but any beauty she had was negated by her personality. I’ve seen snapping turtles with more charm than she possessed. However, she did have an apartment, and that meant Blinders spent many nights over there. Whenever she would come over, Crony and Radial would put on a particular 2 Live Crew CD and blast it through Crony’s state-of-the-art Onkyo system. I don’t know the title of the track, but the chorus went “Get the fuck out, get the fuck out, get the fuck out my house…BITCH!” As soon as she set foot in the apartment, they would start blasting this. Every. Single. Time. She was none-too-bright…every time she would ask “Are y’all playing that ‘cause I’m in here?” And they’d say no, they just liked the song…a lot…whenever she came over. And she totally bought it. Blinders suspected a more sinister motive, but he was just happy they weren’t on his ass.

One day while the happy couple was at her place, the boys decided to play a joke on them. Harpy kept powdered Nestea at our apartment, which we weren’t allowed to touch. We were told this in grave tones from Blinders himself, and he even had a hint of “or else” in his li’l speech. Whatever. Radial stole a salt shaker from the east campus cafeteria, and they dumped the ENTIRE shaker into her powdered tea, which they then shook up to hide the evidence. When B-Real and Harpy came over, she immediately made a pitcher for her and Blinders to drink – and, naturally, offered us none. Awesome. It would’ve been difficult finding a credible reason to not drink the tea. They went into the room we shared and closed the door. We wait…the boys were like kids on Christmas Eve, and I was just chillin’. After all, I didn’t have a hand in the prank. Five minutes later, Blinders came out, furious. “Which one of you put salt in the tea?!?!” Radial and Crony looked at each other, feined surprise and shock, and then simultaneously pointed at me. As if they’d planned it. Oh wait, maybe they DID plan it! It was a setup! THEY THREW ME UNDER THE BUS!!! That’s what I get for being a freshman. Blinders gave me the fish eye, and went all Et Tu, Brute on me. He said “Them, I expect this from…but YOU?” I didn’t contest…the look on his face alone made it worth catching the blame for it. Besides, as those things went, that prank wasn’t that bad.

An Assinine Prank

There were times when the boys would fuck with Blinders for no reason at all. When they were bored or drunk, they would just torture the poor man mercilessly. One night, he was out studying for a final. The rest of us were at home, doing the same thing, when Crony looked at Radial and said “I’m bored.” Oh, shit. I quickly went into my room and climbed into my top bunk to avoid getting splashed by their stupidity. After about 5 minutes of whispers and giggles, they ran into the room I shared with B-Rabbit, with their pants around their knees. Sweet merciful Jesus, what are these inbreeds doing now, I wondered. They threw back his blanket and sheets, laughed, and crammed his pillows in their asses! IN THEIR ASSES! Even for them, this was too much. I told them they had crossed the line, and that this prank wasn’t funny. Apparently when I spoke, Swahili came out, because they responded by looking at me as if English was my second language. They walked around the apartment stinking up his pillows for about 10 minutes or so, making sure they sat down on every available surface. Then they neatly placed the pillows back on his bed, just the way he left them.

I was faced with a moral dilemma: do I tell Blinders what they did, and risk drawing their ire and getting some nasty payback from the boys? Not to mention the fact that I would then be omitted from all future pranks. Or do I leave it be, and let Blinders wallow his face into his ass-flavored pillows? What do you think I did? I’m not stupid. I kept my damn mouth shut. If Blinders can’t smell man-ass in his pillows, that’s his olfactory problem, not mine. My pillows remained refreshingly ass-free. He came home about an hour later, walked into the room, dropped his book bag on his desk, and dove into bed as usual, face-first into his pillows. I had to leave the room, because when you’re trying to stifle laughter, others in the area tend to get curious as to why. When I reached the living area, Radial and Crony looked at me, and burst out laughing, which naturally made me start laughing, too. Blinders walked into the room with a contemptuous look on his face and said, “Could you assholes keep it down? I’m trying to sleep.” Assholes, eh? If he only knew. We never told him about the prank. It was much funnier watching him wallow in the pillows and then giggling like schoolgirls.

The problem with being indispensable is knowing you’re indispensable. You can act with impunity without regard for repercussions. You can do the crime and not do the time. And it is intoxicating. It’s the social equivalent of saying “I’m Rick James, bitch!” and meaning it. My best friend “Duke” and I had such indispensability one summer.

We worked at a restaurant in the middle of a busy mall. This restaurant was divided into 3 units: the fast food unit, the ice cream unit, and the frozen yogurt unit. Duke and I were the only workers there who knew how to run every job in every unit, and that included the manager, Kake. She was an idiotic, insane woman who resented the fact the Duke and I went to college, and were way fucking smarter than her, but she needed us to be relatively happy so we wouldn’t just quit. Her body-building husband was dumber than a George W. Bush / Pauly Shore sandwich. He loved coming by work in his Body By Jake tank top and coaches shorts. He was one of these hyper-aggressive, testosterone-fueled, steroid-popping alpha males that bonded with you by punching you in the arm. Hard. We hated it, but tolerated it because (a) we were so very much smarter than him; (b) our futures were ahead of us; and (c) our johnsons were bigger than his. Touche, bastard.

Extra Onions
Whenever it rained, the mall was PACKED. We worked in Myrtle Beach, a major tourist spot, so rain drove folks off the beach and into the malls. We absolutely HATED rain days. Rain days meant we got called in early, had to stay late, and had to work our asses off non-stop, without breaks. It was a major bitch, but it put money in our pockets. This one particular day, the line in front of the restaurant was about 25 people deep – and there were 3 rows of this nonsense. We’d been at it for about 5 hours, and we were exhausted. This guy comes up to the window, and places a large order for himself and his family. He must’ve ordered 15 hot dogs, all with slightly different condiments. We hussled to get him everything he needed, and we sent him on his way.

About 4 minutes later, this asshole comes back to the restaurant, cuts through the line, and stands there, red as hell. Our cashier eventually notices him (like I said, we were slammed, so he had to wait) and goes over to see what his problem is.

Cash: “Yes sir, can I help you?”
Cust: “Yes, you CAN help me. You can give me the extra onions I asked for on my damn hot dog.”
Cash: “I’m sorry?”
Cust: “I CAME HERE AND SPENT $50 ON FOOD, AND I WANT MY EXTRA ONIONS NOW!!!”

Duke and I were in the kitchen, overhearing this. See, we remembered this dude. He stood there, indecisive, for about 5 minutes before even ordering. So long, in fact, the cashier went around him and filled 2 other orders while he was dicking around. Then, when he finally did order, he changed his mind about 2 million times before settling on an order. So as you can imagine, we were displeased to hear his dissatisfaction.

Me: “Duke, do you hear this bullshit?”
Duke: “Hell yeah, I hear him. Fuck him! I’d like to see how many orders HE’D get right after being back here all damn day!”
Me: “Yeah man, that’s bullshit. He sees how busy we are.” This is me instigating Duke into doing something outlandish.
From the cashier, as if we hadn’t heard: “Duke, Damian, this customer needs his extra onions!”
Duke: “I got this one, man.”

Duke pulls out a big-ass vidalia onion from the cooler, and removes the biggest chef blade from the cutlery tray. Then he absolutely ASSAULTS the onion, all the while cursing the man and his heritage. This onion never had a chance. Duke was OJ, and this onion was Nicole. I swear, if a cop had walked through, he woulda arrested Duke for malicious mischief. He doesn’t dice the onion, like we would normally do for condiments. He hacks this poor veggie into huge, misshapen hunks of eye-burning misery. It looked like hash browns when he was finished. He piles about half the onion into a tray we usually used for french fry orders, walks around to the counter, and slides the tray down to the now-stunned customer like a bartender slides beers down a bar. Then he looks at the guy and says, “There’s your damn extra onions. Anything else? Huh?” I think he flinched his shoulders at the dude. The guy says nothing, grabs the onion mess, and scampers away. Needless to say, we didn’t have any more trouble that day.

The customer’s always right? My ass.

Wet Floor
Among the numerous responsibilities we had at that place was an evil chore known as “Floors”. We had a guy, Tommy, whose sole job was to walk around, sweep up the trash, take out the trash, clean the tables, and mop the floors. On Mondays, Tommy’s night off, this task went to the most unlucky bastard working that night. Sometimes Kake would schedule someone to come in and only do that job. We’re talking about 3500 square feet of floor that had to be mopped, and we could only do it between 7 and 10pm. It could be brutal.

One night I drew the short straw. So I’m out there, waiting for some fat family of tourists to finish their burgers and fries, so they could deposit the remains on the floor. Finally they leave, and I clear all the tables in that section and begin mopping. We had lots of those Wet Floor signs you see everywhere, and it was policy that we put those out whenever we mopped. I, being a forward-thinking man, thought it would be a better idea to put the signs on the tables, where they’d be at eye level for anyone walking through. Well, that’s what I get for thinking. While I’m busily mopping, this woman comes walking out of Gitano with 3 or 4 bags, moving at a brisk pace. She steps over my mop bucket, walks right by 2 tables with those signs, and promptly slips and falls. Oh, she fell. She fell like people do on TV, man. Her feet went up, she threw the bags in the air, and she went down on her ass like a sack of mud. I was concerned; did I put those signs where she could see them? I charted her path, and realized that she indeed could’ve seen the signs. Gotta consider liability, you know? Then I did what came naturally.

I laughed my black ass off.

I was doubled over, laughing so hard I could barely breathe. She was alright – she was already on her feet again. My laughter did little to ease her embarrassment. She took out her frustrations on me, the most convenient target.

Wetass: “You need to put some Wet Floor signs in this area!”
Me (between fits of laughter): “Ma’am, there ARE Wet Floor signs in this area! There’s 1, 2, 3… I count 5.”
Wetass: “They’re on the tables! How am I supposed to know the floor is wet if the signs are on the tables?”
Me: “Well ma’am, they say “Wet FLOOR”, not “Wet TABLE!”
Wetass: “I want to see your manager immediately!”
Me: “Sure thing, follow me.”
Recall what I said earlier about indispensability. I am unafraid.

I take her to Kake, and she tells Kake all about how horrible I am, and how I didn’t have the signs up. We all walk to the area in question.

Kake: “Ma’am, I hate to disagree, but I see Wet Floor signs in this area.”
Wetass: “Yes, but they’re on the tables!”
Kake (I swear she said this, I’m not making it up): “Well ma’am, they do say “Wet Floor”, and not “Wet Table”, so I’m not sure I see the problem.”

I laughed even harder. So much that I strained a rib muscle, no shit. Wetass walked away in a huff, her wet ass looking like she pissed herself while sitting in a lecture. Kake looked at me, opened her mouth to say something, closed it again, and walked away. I was a demigod, and Kake had just laid a sacrifice at my altar.

Indispensability is intoxicating.

Peace.

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