For the last dozen-plus years, I’ve been working for slave wages. Literally. Zero dollars and zero cents. (Take that, FICA!) And this job is friggin hard, man. 24/7/365 and then some. Here are some of the tasks I’ve had to complete in the service of my current job:
· Feces Control (Human and animal): Cleaning it up, inspecting it, guiding the proper disposal of, in the early years there was a lot of discussing it ad nauseum and stressing over it.
· Urine Control: See above.
· Body as Jungle Gym/Punching Bag: Picture being permanently designated as the “base” in a game of Tag. Picture wearing a toddler as an earring. Picture being smacked in the face and having to respond in a neutral, calm voice.
· Full-time Manager of Complaint Department: This octopusian position requires the ability to receive, empathize with, and solve (or fake really well) a plethora of problems/complaints/ailments. From “I feel sick” (said 30 seconds after barfing) to “Make him stooooop!” (heard while driving at 65 miles per hour.) Must be adept at disposal of icky and crawly things (despite the fact that I hate icky and crawly things.) Must provide miraculous lotion (in my case, emu oil) that cures a diversity of skin eruptions. Must have acting abilities to rival Meryl Streep in order to hear horrifying news (“I just dropped your iPod in the toilet,”) and react with calm efficiency. (“Hmmm. Let’s just see what we can do about that. Accidents happen.”)
· Magician: The ability to solve the unsolvable is absolutely required for this job. It took me several years to hone my magical skills, but now I can usually apply a special blend of confidence, fairy dust, a lick and a prayer to conquer most everyday obstacles.
That’s just the top five.
But it’s so rewarding, right?! No. No, it’s not. No money. No pats on the back. No holiday bonuses. No positive feedback. There is no pay back to this job. Yeah, yeah, they’re cute. Whatever. Cute won’t buy Mama a new pair of Birks.
But recently I scored this side gig, writing book reviews. This means I have read exactly one book for pleasure in the last six months. And it means I have read some books that, well, let’s just say some books I wouldn’t have ordinarily selected. And it means I spend several hours on the weekends writing the reviews instead of relaxing. (Ha, ha! That was test to see if you were paying attention. I rarely get to relax during the daylight because of the full-time gig I have.) But it also means that every so often I get a check in the mail with my name on it!
Recently, I got my year-end report (or whatever it’s called) listing all the books I’ve reviewed and the money I’ve made for each review with a grand annual total sum at the bottom. I was so thrilled! I won’t tell you the total sum, but I will say that when I recently crowed about it to a friend, her face was frozen in horror at my glowing pride at such a piddly amount.
Piddly, it may be. But at least it’s not diddly squat.