01 August 2005

On the Job

McSweeney's Web site has a fascinating collection of interviews with people who work at "unusual" jobs. Activities director at a retirement home, repo man, certified firewalk instructor, New York City limo driver, and magician's assistant are a few examples. Because the interviewees are not professional writers, candor triumphs over craft. Their answers are often close to the bone and can be quite moving. There's also very funny material here, some of it surely unintended. Here's an excerpt from "On the Night Shift," an interview with a janitor:
The first vacuum I worked with, I called it Maud. She was a good vacuum. You know, life is like vacuuming — you're going along and everything is fine, when suddenly it shuts off and you realize you've run out of cord.
And this is from an interview with a guy who worked at a hot dog restaurant:
Q: What was the name of the place?
A: It was called Yum Yum Better Ice Cream and Hot Dogs.
Q: Was it some kind of hot-dog stand?
A: No, it was a family-run restaurant, run by two brothers who didn't speak to each other. They took turns managing—never at the same time, though.
Q: Did you have to wear a uniform?
A: You had to wear a Yum Yum baseball cap or a paper cap. Also a Yum Yum T-shirt that was just filthy. The people who worked there were not the most ambitious or cleanest people. I remember fighting for the good aprons. The ones that weren't torn or dirty or had strings that were too short.


donl said...

Keep up the good work. Time waits for no one.

Post to mine cheesecake factory recipe if you wish.

J. Kingston Pierce said...

Spiraglio is turning out to be quite interesting. You have a discerning eye for the oddities to be found in today's literature and media. Keep up the good work.

And thanks for fixing that odd space that I brought to your attention. It was driving me crazy!