Monday, September 25, 2006

After devoting my debut blog to corpse disposal, I thought I should get with the theme here and write about some of the many jobs that have enriched my life, if not my pocketbook.

Job One through Job None.
by Pat Hart

Age 8/Entrepreneur/Curbside location: Purveyor of fine kool-aids and penny candies to local populace.

Age 16/Button tabulator for yarn and fabric store/Family-owned--my family: Inventory taker of a wide variety of sewing notions, especially skilled at counting ceramic sweater buttons featuring “Ducks with bonnets,” “Kittens with yarn,” and “Kittens without yarn.”

Age 20/Front line sales/Burger Chef (Burger King’s less royal brother): Bravely greeted my college classmates dressed in a polyester blue outfit and chef toque/hair net.

Age 20/Reserve book room desk attendant/University library: Preventor of learning, denier of knowledge, and general impediment to progression of the species as I studied and students, desperate to get the assigned reading materials, begged me to get off my caboose and at least LOOK for the reserved books.

Age 21/Pineapple Princess/Dole pineapple plant/Hawaii/Nightshift: Removed the little hard bits from the pineapples after they’d been shoved through a can-sized tube. Gained valuable knowledge about the acidity of pineapple juice, the tenderness of human skin, and the protective properties of Vaseline.

Age 21/Officious Manager/Carpet installation company/Hawaii:
As the lone mainlander in the organization, I was solely responsible for getting the installers to quit laying around on the carpets smoking, and get in their trucks and on their way to the job before the customers started calling.

Age 22/Collector/Vacuum cleaner debt/Arizona: Tracked a ‘unit’ to Mexico where I was told “to come ahead and get it, they didn’t need it no more on account of the floor, it was a dirt.”

Age 22/Teaching Assistant/English/Arizona: Tried to convince a roomful of 18-year-olds that I knew anything at all. Somewhat successful with the ESL students.

Age 24/Medical Courier: Picked-up blood samples and other mystery items in Petri dishes and delivered to a laboratory, usually on dark and stormy nights.

Age 25/Advertising/Account Supervisor: With Larry Tate from Bewitched as my patron saint, I put on my big girl shoes and pretended to be a grown-up, and mostly succeed for about 20 years. Ultimately, I noticed there are no women over 40 in my business. Just as I begin to suspect the soylent green Chai lattes…

Present day/Writer of fiction -mostly marketing materials for my clients, but stories too.

14 comments:

nancy said...

Pat, you've had an illustrious employment history! The pineapple job is going to look fabulous in your book jacket bio someday!

Judith said...

Pat: I love your job descriptions. It reminded me of Elaine Viets Dead End Jobs books! Maybe fodder for thought?

Meryl Neiman said...

How did you end up in Hawaii?

Anonymous said...

Pat, you make my school age resume look mundane by comaprison...the most exciting it got was being a meat wrapper at a supermarket, duh! I think your next article should be of early career 'sexual discrimination' experiences...

Carol

Gin said...

I love that I get to laugh out loud when I read your stuff. Hey, wait a minute, wasn't that MY kool-aid stand? No, I guess not.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Soylent green chai tea, huh?

Too funny!

Cathy said...

My all time favorite job as a raspberry picker pales in comparison to your past history. I'm a little jealous of the Hawaiian thing, too.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't you mention anything about how the advertising gig inspired the fantasy murder club gig? I have some strylines for you.

The clock's ticking....

Gina said...

OK, I have to ask. How did you remove those hard little things from pineapples? [I just can't picture that skin and Vasoline connection . . . ]

Kristine said...

Wow, Pat! I'm impressed. My resume now looks extremely boring.

I'm also interested in hearing how you ended up in Hawaii, unless of course you're saving that for a future blog.

Pat Hart said...

I ended up in Hawaii mid-college by visiting an old friend from junior high school (an army brat) and stayed long enough to get two jobs, a roach infested station wagon and an apartment similarly afflicted with crunchy pests--but no TAN!

On the pineapple line we wore rubber gloves and picked the cored pineapples up with our left hands. With our thumbs in the hole where the core used to be, we gently rotated the fruit while hacking away with an extremely sharp knife, which was easily the length of my forearm. As newbie I didn't know to cuff the glove to catch the juice but let it run into the crease of my arm where it literally ate about three layers of skin. Eventually, I learned all the ways of the pineapple line; slathering Vaseline from my wrist up to my shirtsleeve, cuffing my glove and assiduously managing juice collection and disposal throughout my shift.

Thank you all for your comments today.

PS to Gin, who is my sister: It was too my Kool-Aid stand!

Alan Van Dine said...

Pat: Neat post! I had no idea you were harboring such a lavishly whimsical resume, since I've known you only in your ultra-professional post-pupa stage. But at least you've made it clear why you're a mystery writer. You're trying to solve the deep personal mystery of how you got from Hawaii to Pittsburgh.

And your trail of jobs provides settings for god knows how many bizarre crimes to solve.

ann k said...

you have totally pegged the reserve book room mindset

i also did not know about Hawaii--hope that's a future topic

Curious HR Professional said...

While I was tempted to burst forth with a chorus or two of the '60's hit Pineapple Princess, I Love You, your prior position as a purveyor of body parts/fluids begs the question:

Were they extracted voluntarily or involuntarily?