March 31, 2006

How did I get here from there?

Sitting alone one somewhat sunny day, thinking about where I am and how I got here, led me on one of those faster than light trips through my memories. I'm talking about one of those internal free association moments that allow you to track back into your past and recall all the insignificant things that are linked together and have somehow placed you in the existence that you find yourself in at the present. I'm not going to try and recall everything I saw, that would be impossible, but I would like to talk about all the different kinds of jobs I've had in the past.

  1. The first thing I ever got paid to do was to walk a neighbor's dog. A huge Alaskan malamute that would drag me up and down the streets like something out of a Bugs bunny cartoon. ー I lasted two weeks and earned $10.
  2. Aside from doing seasonal work such as shoveling snow and cutting grass. there was a hiatus of about five years before I landed my next “real job”. Sorting greeting cards and serving soft ice cream for a card shop and candy store on Broadway. I got to eat as much ice cream as I wanted (when the boss wasn't around) I remember sticking my head under the serving machine and gulping down mouthfuls of the stuff and the excruciating pain that followed afterwards. A good summer!
  3. I followed that up with a job at a stationary store called ‘Menash’. The guys who worked in the art dept. were the best. (to Rod and Ralph, hope you guys are doing well).
  4. I actually worked in an S&M/sex club when I was fifteen. I didn’t get paid, but I was allowed in and got free drinks for picking up the empties and cleaning the ashtrays-Whoa, was that an experience.
  5. I worked as a delivery/stock boy at a pharmacy for about a year or so. Looking back I'd have to admit that it wasn't the best place for a teenager experimenting with ah... you know. The three guys I worked for we're really insane. Maybe they we're experimenting too.
  6. At the age of 17 I started working in kitchens. The first joint I worked at was across the street from the museum of natural history. Great fun! The place was run by a gay man and a lesbian woman. They would both rail against the treatment of homosexual whenever their friends were in the shop. The best memories I have of the place is of rolling the frozen cakes across the floor from the freezer to the display case to save time at the end of the night.
  7. Night Manager of a Gelataria: A definite low point in the succession of positions I held. There were only two good things about the place. 1- I learned to handle and groom a really beautiful food, to this day whenever I see a messy tub of gelato I feel like straightening it up. 2– Andy Warhol came in one night, struck up a conversation and ordered the coolest “sundae” we had. He then proceeded to feed it to his dog and he took pictures of the whole episode. Man! I put my heart into making that thing.
  8. Was a bouncer at the Palladium, a disco near Union square. Got to see all the beautiful people at their worst. Not the cool job I thought it would be and it ruined my ability to walk into a club and just have fun. I also did security work for another club called 10:18 and for the New music seminar. On the positive side, these jobs put me on the road to pacifism by taking the fight out of me, literally.
  9. I actually worked for a place called Coca Cola clothes. The clothing was crappy, but the people I worked with were tons of fun.
  10. Christopher’s on Columbus. Selling ob jet d’art and making silk flower arrangements. I’ll never figure out how I went from smacking drunks in the head to playing flitty salesman.
  11. Back to the kitchens– became an expediter at The American café a restaurant in Rockefeller Center. Loved that job. learned tons about professional cooking. Helping out on the line was totally frantic and exciting.
  12. For the next couple of years I floated from place to place doing anything that would pay me a buck– Waiting tables, working a coffee and juice bar, house painting, packing boxes, furniture refinishing, etc.
  13. Bar-Backing at the Raccoon Lodge was the coolest place I have ever worked. A hopping place with plenty of girls and an amazing amount of interesting folks to talk to. The man who owned the place, Gary (R.I.P. my friend), Knew more about creating the best drinking atmosphere than anyone I have ever met. He was truly one of a kind!
  14. My final place of employment in N.Y. was as a Bartender at a Tex-Mex bar & restaurant called the Border café. The Owner was a sneaky little bastard. you had to chase him down for your paycheck and insist that he cash it at the bar ’cause if you took it to the bank, the damned thing would bounce harder than the bed springs at a hot sheet hotel.

Of course this is not a complete list and a lot of stories are hidden between the lines. Eventually I’ll have to write about the things I’ve done here in Japan and the reasons that provoked me into choosing this country, but those memories are for a different day. Maybe I’ll tell you all the reasons I got fired or quit. That might be interesting

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