Work Diaries, Part Three

4 Dec

November 2012

OK, how am I gonna get money.  Maybe Charles Bukowski’s Factotum was not an appropriate book to read when experiencing anxiety about finding a job.  He’s cleaning toilets.  Polishing the brass rail around the L.A. Times building.  I don’t want to do that shit.

I have cleaned toilets.  Worse, I have cleaned toilets for a boss who then inspected each toilet, maddeningly thorough about detecting the tiniest bit of excrement left behind.  As though someone would have to shit, look at the gnat-sized chunk of stubborn waste on the bowl, and scoff.  I can’t shit here!  This was in an office building that hosted small insurance companies.  This was not the president’s toilet, or Madonna’s.  These were men who shit when the spirit moved them, specks of lingering asscrust be damned.  But still.  What is this, she would ask.  I thought you scrubbed the toilet.  Why is this still here.

Every job I’ve ever had has been some variant of this, and make no mistake, it’s all cleaning shit.  It’s all cleaning shit and then being asked Socratically, what is this, when some atom of shit is left behind.  And if you had stayed to clean it, what is this, you started cleaning those toilets forty five minutes ago.  I have never not worked for an exacting taskmaster who cut no slack whatsoever.  Who has not felt that I was lucky to be able to clean that shit.  There are always a thousand other people lined up to pry the toilet brush out of your hand.

Our society has completely failed if you can’t tell your boss to go fuck himself.  You are not free, and you never will be.  You’re gonna be scrubbing and scrubbing that stubborn shit chunk when you’re young and then asking some poor young schmuck what is this about a gnat sized speck of shit when you’re old.  It’s so hard to find good help these days.  People aren’t grateful.

It’s always what is this mote of shit and why do I even have to ask you about this mote of shit.  I don’t want to have to explain to you the standards here.  I want a motivated self starter who is detail oriented.  When I flipped burgers, if you fucked up someone’s custom order, the “big” manager would personally walk back to your station with the receipt in one hand and the failed sandwich in the other, demanding: how could this happen.   It says “no onions” right here.  And you would knee-jerk defend yourself– wait, are you SURE it says “no onions?”  Of course he has built his fucking case, he is the federal prosecutor with a ninety nine per cent conviction rate.  You fucked up the sandwich.  But you had to struggle and sputter and eventually apologize because you absolutely needed to maintain the appearance that you valued your job and were terrified to lose it.  Anything less was immediate dismissal, from four twenty five an hour and a high chance that you would drop a sixty pound case of beef patties on the delicate bones of your foot, or french fry your hand.  And the big manager, who was willing to make the occasional tongue in cheek joke about his degree from hamburger university– he  wasn’t a bad guy, but he had to enter every return into the computer with a reason, and if that was grill error, and the percentage of grill errors per sale inched up over one point eight per cent or whatever– he would get called to the carpet, have district managers visiting and ensuring compliance, looking at some chart and asking: what is this?  And to keep his job he would have to show fear.

But the truth is: fuck right off, I make eight thousand god damn hamburgers per day and the rest of them were perfect, and tell that fat fuck to scrape off the god damn onions.

Bukowski doesn’t have it in him to show fear so he keeps getting fired.  He’s broke, and he needs the gigs, but, fuck that.  He can’t bring himself to eat shit.  He’s not afraid to sleep on a park bench.  I am afraid to sleep on a park bench.  I lived in fear as a working man and now I will live in fear as an unemployed man, of the money running out.  Not maintaining the lifestyle to which I am accustomed.  Gas in the car and an apartment.  Cat food.  We need something like the public dole they have in England.  People shouldn’t have to work their whole lives.  It should be couple years on, one year off.  So much work is cruelty.

11 Responses to “Work Diaries, Part Three”

  1. vsoze December 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    “But the truth is: fuck right off, I make eight thousand god damn hamburgers per day and the rest of them were perfect, and tell that fat fuck to scrape off the god damn onions.”


    • Anonymous December 12, 2012 at 7:46 pm #


      • Sylviasarah December 14, 2012 at 7:42 am #

        Huh? Wut?

  2. odds December 4, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    Similar to your sentiments that you want an End of the World scenario to happen because if you survive, you will undoubtedly be better off, I am praying for a zombie outbreak. My life would be much more fulfilling fighting zombies and building a commune with fellow survivors than it is right now: looking for a job and fighting the cruel inescapable feeling that I, along with the rest of America, am just circling the drain.

  3. Hailey December 6, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    I like this entry a lot and heartily agree with everything you said. “You are not free, and you never will be.” Amen to that…

    Tennyson knew it too: “Death is the end of life; / Ah, why should life all labor be?”

    • Anonymous December 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

      But you can be free.
      You really really can. Pick a ghost town. Go there. Homestead it.
      Some Hollywood bigshot will wander through bi-annually and give you a fat fee to location scout their ass down the canyon. Buy a goat with it and some chickens. The rest will cover electricity until they return. I sware it my darling.
      You can be free.
      There may not be much slutty teenage pussy in it—but how much is that really worth a job?

  4. TominNOLA December 7, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    I’m tellin you, I know a guy who lives in Gary, IN and sucks dickses for a living pulling AT LEAST $10K a year, and that’s before SNAP, TANF and WIC. Nothing’s fucked here, dude.

  5. James December 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    DT, I love your posts. Your writing would be my favorite stuff on the internet if it weren’t such an ominous window to what my life will be like in 12 years. I fucking hate working and people and working for people. I hope you find a job that doesn’t make you hang yourself. Cheers.

  6. pffffffftttsssssssiimmbllllllddddddnnnnnnnnn January 13, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

    So wait, are you officially unemployed?

    You see, this is what’s fucking great about working union construction – you CAN tell your boss to go fuck himself. Once you get “obligated”, once you put the 1,000 hours in needed for the union to be obligated to represent you, you can do whatever the fuck you want basically. You don’t like the job site you’re on? Tell your boss to go fuck himself and then go back down to the hall and get put on a new site.

    Plus, there’s no fucking Human Resources department or the rest of that corporate bullshit. If you have a problem with somebody on the job you bang it out in the parking lot and it’s over. Or you don’t. Whatever.

    Like this right here is your average boss. This guy’s a business agent for the carpenters, but he’s pretty typical:

    But I’d rather work for someone like him, than some wormy cocksucker that’s too fucking nebbish to even look you in the eye when they tell you you’re fired.

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