Saturday, June 25, 2011

Let me Tell you a Story

So this is thing, I went to this show called the Moth Series, I think that's the name.  It's a show on NPR that is AMAZING.  It was basically a story slam where people tell true stories about their life without any notes.

Listening to all these stories, it makes you want to have a life worth telling a story about.

I want to tell you some stories:  Like did I ever tell you about the time I failed at becoming a temp?  That is a temporary worker, in case your wondering.  I moved to D.C. with dreams of being the most highly educated secretary in the world.

Actually the temp agencies sell themselves as agencies that will help you get a permanent job, so you think you are going to the right place.  You think you might have a future.  You tell them you are an aspiring writer and they ask you how many words you can type per minute and they check to see if you can spell.  Then they stick you in random positions until they can find the "right fit."  When you tell them all you really want to do is write creatively, they tell you to shut up and talk about your organizational skills.

I started out by stuffing envelopes.  Literally, stuffing envelopes and licking them closed.  I still remember the acrid taste.

Now, just as an aside, someone accused me of babbling the other day.  Now forgive me if I don't know the difference between babbling and blogging.  Yes, I in fact babble.  A lot.  I like to think it's part of my charm.

Anyways my humble beginnings in the secretary pool taught me absolutely nothing.  I did not learn how to be humble, instead I scorned those around me who looked like they had a real job.  I didn't really learn how to work my way up the corporate ladder because truthfully, I'm just not that kinda chick.

I know you want to hear a story about how I started by stuffing envelopes and then was stuffing my face at the company picnic as my employees shook my hand.  I'm sorry that didn't happen.

Let me tell you what did happen.  I was sent to the Chemical Safety Board.  They were supposed to, by law, lock up all their incriminating documents about chemical disasters so no stupid temp could find out about the truth behind all the unhealthy toxic calamities.  But I wasn't like the temp who worked for the tabacco company and found out that they were doing all sorts of illegals things.  I never even looked at those unlocked files and didn't even try to be that hero that could bring the government down.

I'll tell you what I did.  I tried, between answering phones and taking lunch breaks, to write stories.  I made them up because I was a fiction writer and I had no real stories of my own yet.  I made up characters, I even wrote a very bad screenplay.

Well, I also, like an idiot would save my writing to the work computer.  Finally, I got the job temping at USA TODAY.  My dream job, my dream temp job at least.  Again, I had no professional skills, I didn't know how to be fake and make a good impression and pretend like I was busy.

They had nothing for me to do, so I wrote.  But this time I wrote about two people talking about a certain sexual act, the same act that Bill Clinton was being impeached for.  I wrote about two people talking about it and I was fired.  Bill Clinton, that same year, did it and he wasn't fired.  This was 1999.

I have to admit, as another aside, I did pervue a few unauthorized websites in the course of my stay at USA TODAY.  Come on, the internet just was invented, I didn't know they could track your pages.  I was an idiot.

You know, I think it was the thirteenth amendment that made involuntary servitude illegal.  Even though I though it was voluntary, I was being connived.  There is nothing voluntary about stuffing envelopes so you can pay your rent.

By the way, just as a babbling note, I tend to repeat myself, so did I tell you this story before?  I think I told it differently before.

So where was I?  I wish this story had an ending worth stating, like how I lived happily afterwards, or a climax where something meaningful happened and we all walked away better people.

But all I can say is: I never temped again.


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