December 23, 2008

My Back Pages

Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 16. I could be in the driver's seat.

Tag? I'm it? Okay, I'll play.

The Anchoress prays unto the Lord, as she will, Lord, how dull I am!, because self-abnegation is a way of life! (Hair shirt? Check. Scourge? Check. Communion Wine? Make it a double.) And then she passes on this virus to me.

“It’s simple. Just list all the jobs you’ve had in your life, in order. Don’t bust your brain: no durations or details are necessary, and feel free to omit anything that you feel might tend to incriminate you. I’m just curious. And when you’re done, tag another five bloggers you’re curious about.”

Fine. I'll do it, but only because the Anchoress is Sister Mary Nunsense in my book and I don't want my knuckles slapped with her ruler.

My jobs, in order, were:

Mower of Lawns
Washer of Windows
Washer of Cars
Sweeper of Floors
Guardian of Libraries
Reader of All American Magazines from 1800 to 1850
Driver of Pick-Up Hearse in a Mortuary (Nights)
Dealer in Herbal Remedies (Nights)
Assistant of Rock and Roll Tailors
Editor-in-Chief, Organ Magazine
Managing Editor of Earth Magazine
Director of Drama and Literature Programming KPFA-FM
Editor-in Chief of City Magazine
Fiction Editor of Viva Magazine
Fiction Editor of Penthouse Magazine
Senior Editor of Penthouse Magazine
Publisher of Penthouse Magazine (Europe)
Senior Editor, Houghton Mifflin Book Publishers
Director of Trade Paperback Publishing, Houghton Mifflin
Literary Agent and Book Packager
Fashion Editor, Penthouse Magazine
Executive Vice-President and Director of
Author, Two Books
Ghost Writer, Five Books
Executive Editor, Pajamas Media
Unpaid Blogger
Co-Author, Let It Bleed (Forthcoming 2009)
Today? Shoveler of Snow

I hereby name:
Richard Fernandez aka "Wretchard"

(Yes, I know that's six but I don't always play by the rules. Neither should you.)

May I go now and sin no more?

Posted by Vanderleun at December 23, 2008 6:17 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Boy, do I feel excluded.

Posted by: Donald Sensing at December 23, 2008 7:34 PM

That woman!! She could bottle her moxie.

Posted by: Jimmie at December 23, 2008 8:25 PM

Donald: I was tagged, but no longer have a blog to post on. I'll electronically impose on Gerard's and then look forward to your Opus 1040:

Filer of musical scripts
Unpaid gestator, nurturer, and educator of six human beings
Manager of fabric store
Nordstrom flunkie
Driver of large ugly recycling truck
Process server and private investigator
Unpaid citizen activist and kicker of government butt
Poorly paid lobbyist for men's and father's issues
Ghostwriter of children's book
Babysitter for office full of commercial real estate weenies
Manager of trivial business in redneck haven


Posted by: askmom at December 23, 2008 8:42 PM

Okay, Donald's in. Anyone else?

Posted by: vanderleun at December 23, 2008 8:59 PM

Mower of Lawns
Jockey of Bottles
Carrier of Newspapers
Assistant to Veterinarian
Photographer in the Underground Press
Runner for a Night Club
Underemployed Actor
Driver of Taxis
Dispatcher of Taxis
Builder of Waterbeds
Gopher in a Whore -- er, a Theater
Dispatcher of Taxis (Glutton for Punishment)
Secretary in a Print Shop
Print Salesman
Print Production Manager
Print Salesman
Freelance Writer
Unpaid Blogger (Yes, there is a difference.)


Posted by: Mark Alger at December 24, 2008 5:54 AM

Sitter of babies
Seller of pastries
Independent seller of pharmaceutical and herbal remedies (ahem)
Bakery worker
Sandwich seller
Cocktail waitress
Nightclub manager
Nurse's aide
Licensed Practical Nurse
Registered Nurse

Posted by: teresa at December 24, 2008 10:18 AM

Driveway hole repairer, the first job I was ever paid to do, which gained me the princely sum of 10 cents when, as a very small boy, I filled a hole in my grandfather's driveway with gravel.

Dairy-farm hired hand, again with my grandfather, who was the farm's owner and who paid me, occasionally, 50 cents to shovel out and hose down the milking barn after the milking was done. I'll let you imagine what that was like. (My own sons learned early not to tell me that some job was beneath their dignity!) He paid me more money than that to toss hay in the hay barn. Of the two jobs, I'll take the shoveling over the hay tossing any time. And anyone who's ever done both would likely agree. I was less than 10 years old, and this was the early 1960s, so that was a lot more spending power than it seems like today.

Mower of lawns, the first time (as a teen) that I started to make real money. Granddad paid well for me to mow his large lawn, and I also mowed lawns around my neighborhood.

Grocery bagger, stock boy and cashier. I was in high school, working two summers at Woodlawn Market, an independent mom and pop store run by "Pappy," who was alcoholic or nearly so, ran a tight ship, set high standards and treated you well when you met them (fired you if you didn't). Before I left for greener pastures, I made it to cashier, which was literally the same as Pappy handing me his wallet every time I went on shift.

In college: desk clerk at the Jack Spence Motor Hotel in Nashville, a 300-room hotel owned by Jack Spence (of course), who also owned a hyper-priced hotel on Music Row. Did this one summer and made pretty good money.

Also in college, I worked an overnight shift one summer at a grocery distributor, "pulling" grocery cases of various items from the warehouse for the 18-wheeeler drivers to load on their trucks. Very heavy, manual labor, but paid out the wazoo, which is why I took the job. Also gave me most of the daytime hours free, another plus.

Vanderbilt Library gofer - this I did for four weeks the summer before my senior year, after completing ROTC Advanced Camp at Ft Bragg, NC. It involved reshelving books and ironing (yes) the catalog labels onto books which needed them. Absolutely the dullest job I've ever had in my life. I'd rather toss hay or shovel the barn daily for a year than do that again for four weeks.

Army officer. These assignments I'll simply list, excluding military schools:

Field artillery forward observer, 2d Infantry Division, Korea.

Field artillery battery fire direction officer.

Instructor, combat techniques, Ft Jackson, SC.

Company commander, Ft Jackson, SC.

Field artillery battery commander, 2d battalion, 3d FA Regiment, Germany.

Brigade fire support officer for 1st Brigade, 3d Armored Division, Germany.

Field artillery battalion S3 operations officer, 2d battalion, 92 FA (8-inch, SP), Germany.

Public affairs officer, 35th Signal Brigade, Ft Bragg, NC

Chief of media relations, XVIII Airborne Corps and Ft Bragg, NC.

Operations officer, 3d Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment (MLRS).

Director of Joint Public Affairs, Joint Task Force Bravo, Honduras.

Leadership support staff, OCPA, Headquarters, Dept. of the Army, the Pentagon.

Director of Joint Media Relations, National Victory Parades following the Gulf War.

Plans officer, the Army Staff, Headquarters, Dept. of the Army.

Chief of Public Affairs, US Army Criminal Investigation Command.

After the Army --

Technology Assistance Program contractor for Nashville's office of the New York Life Insurance Co.

Salesman, business-to-business sales, Phoenix Computer Company, Brentwood, tenn.

Since 1997, I have been under episcopal appointment as a pastor of the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church.

More than you wanted to know, I'm sure...

Posted by: Donald Sensing at December 24, 2008 11:48 AM

What, no lawyers or community organizers in this bunch?

Posted by: Connecticut Yankee at December 24, 2008 3:04 PM

You didn't ask, but I'm playing anyway.

So there.

Posted by: Mike at December 24, 2008 4:34 PM

Janitor at Dunkin' Donuts
Janitor at Shop N' Save supermarket
Attendant at Hi-Fy self-serve gas station
Office worker at Prudential Insurance Co.
Worker and Bobcat driver at a local recycling plant
Canvasser for Clean Water Action
Typesetting and prepress for a small printing company since 1990

The owner of the printing company subsequently bought another small company that makes water purification equipment. That company was teetering on the brink of collapse when he bought it, and now it is a truly international business. The owner's son lives in China, they sell their US-made products all over the world, and I make the drawings and the technical manuals.

Posted by: rickl at December 24, 2008 5:58 PM

Penthouse? PENTHOUSE? Are you kidding me, Anchoress? Why am I the only surprised reader? I have no problem with magazines trading in tittilation, but never noticed a connection from your writing to anything that was not the most courteous and upright.

My life is impossibly boring after reading the others so far:

Bathroom duty
Car Washer
PBX Operater [one ringy dingy...]
Wire Chief [microwave communication equipment]
Railroad Official [several permutations over a lengthy career]
Animal charity volunteer
Upon Retirement - Cadillac and Chevrolet dealer aide [volunteer]

Posted by: iowavette at December 26, 2008 8:39 AM

My apologies for the prior comment. Fingers sped before brain caught up with links.

Posted by: iowavette at December 26, 2008 8:44 AM

This is fun for some reason. My list is:

Good babysitter
Bad waitress
Part-time secretary and typist
Editorial assistant at computer trade magazine
Assistant editor at same magazine; turns out I'm a natural at substantive editing, and they let me write some features, too, one of which was good
Freelance writer and PR person
Corporate communications writer and technical editor at interesting defense contractor; big bonus here: I learned how the world works
Communications manager at exciting startup software company that almost died so ejected most of us but it was so fun it was worth it, for example I wrote an important paper with an esteemed computer scientist
Freelance writer
Communications director at semi-exciting but poorly managed software company that never did get off the ground but took a very long time to die
Freelance writer
Marketing director for three months at company with major death wish, which wish was eventually granted but I happily escaped early
Account rep aka salesperson, consultant, and general dogsbody at interesting research firm specializing in customer satisfaction and loyalty for technology companies, which was dealt a fatal blow when the internet blew the research business out of the water
Manager of long successful midlife crisis aka transition during which friends kept dying on me and pretty much everything changed, largely for the better, except for the financial part
Author of a nice little book about a diner
Freelance writer
Pro bono communications provider for oyster farm we are trying to save in Point Reyes California
Long-suffering attempted author of book about said oyster farm
Freelance writer

Posted by: Sarah Rolph at September 8, 2013 7:01 AM