I am in the process of starting a new job with increased responsibilities and the potential prospect of work coming out the proverbial ‘whazoo’. By the way, it’s fascinating to me that Microsoft Word doesn’t recognize ‘whazoo’ as a real word, disgracing it’s very appearance by appending the red line of death to mock me as if I was a linguistical (there’s another one of those red lines) idiot.
Anyway…so I’m starting a new job. It got me to thinking about all of the other jobs I’ve held in my life and all of the other experiences and challenges that I’ve faced. Every time I start to wax nostalgic, I always come back to one position I held that I’m amazed that I was able to hold for a whole summer. By sheer lack of doing anything productive and by being a genuine complete waste of time while getting paid a boatload of money, it was a colossal mistake by this company. It really was the perfect summer.
I was a security guard. But not just a normal security guard. I was the sole inhabitant, guard, person, creature at an office building construction site from 6:00pm to 6:00am five days a week. That’s right, they gave an intelligent, scheming 19-year old kid the keys to the kingdom. My job was to ‘monitor’ the building for any transgressions, doing an hourly walkabout to see if any of the dirt had moved, and to report back on a simple sheet of paper the status of the site in miniscule 15 minute increments. A sample of my status:1:15am – All quiet
1:30am – All quiet
1:45am – All quiet
2:00am – All quiet
2:15am – Noticed a light on, turned it off
2:30am – All quiet
You get the idea. I would have been a LITTLE bit more helpful and motivated if they had given me a gun. Well, I guess actually I would have been a little bit more dangerous if they had given me a gun, but I was ‘equipped’ with a billy club (never known to have left it’s holster other than to hit a baseball), a badge and a police-looking outfit including a police cap. To get a sense of an actual night at the site, I’ll incorporate all my summer activities into one average night of work. Without further ado, I give you the perfect job for a 19-year old in the summer:
6:00pm – 6:15pm: Walk around the site, make note of any anomalies in the time/space continuum. If couldn’t find any, then create one so that I would have something to write down that made it look like I had found something.
6:15pm – 9:00pm: Sit in the provided trailer and wait for it to get dark so I could start the real fun part of the evening. Watch TV on the 3-channel TV provided and/or listen to a baseball game. At times, sit in my 1978 Buick LeSabre next to the main road, put my police cap on, roll the window down, and watch the people on the main road slam on their brakes when they saw me thinking I was an undercover cop. Great fun.
9:00pm – 11:00pm: Either watch some more TV or go out and throw a rubber ball against the wall and catch it as it flew back. After the summer, my right arm had the strength of a major league pitcher.
11:00pm – 12:30am: Local news, then David Letterman. Every. Single. Night.
12:30am – 1:30am: The highlight of my summer. The local channel had on two episodes of Family Feud every night. My goal for the summer was to determine which was better – to pass or to play. Simple as that. I tracked these statistics religiously over a summer. You scoff at this, but you really want to know the answer. I watched at least 10 episodes a week, 40 a month, for a total of about 100 for the summer. Each episode had 3 pass or play chances for a total of approximately 300 pass/play opportunities. With a hearty drum roll and a healthy dose of ‘sick of Richard Dawson’, here are the results:
Of the 300 opportunities, the team that ‘PLAYED’ initially won approximately 40% of the time. The team that got to STEAL (or was PASSED to) at the end won an overwhelmingly significant 60% of the time. SO WHY PLAY???? That question bugged me all through the summer with such gusto that I was consumed during the day with finding other ‘day-time’ versions of the show to see if it was true. And it was. You’re welcome in advance.
1:30am – 1:45am: Compile the statistics on Family Feud and look agog at them. Again and again.
1:45am – 3:00am: Time for a nap. I’ll admit that the 3:00am is a wild guess on this as there was more than once when the sun poked its shiny little rays into the half-finished office windows as I awoke from my peaceful, restful slumber.
3:00am – 5:00am: More ball playing. More pitching. More catching. You’d be surprised at how good you can get if you practice 3 hours a night. Too bad I didn’t like golf at the time or I could have been Tiger Woods with a billy club by the end of August.
5:00am – 6:00am: Fill out the rest of the report, walk around again to make sure that nothing had been stolen during my nap. And yes, it had been once or twice.
Interestingly enough, not once the entire summer did the security guard company check on me or my status. Also, not once did anyone comment on the reports that I dutifully filled out on a daily basis.
Parents – don’t let your kids get away with this kind of hullaballoo. They paid me for 60 hours a week at a not-horrible wage for compiling Family Feud statistics and taking multiple naps. Think about that the next time you sit in your cubicle calculating the rate of exchange on the cost ceiling for the variance to the earned value measurement system.
Kick them squarely in the whazoo and get them a real job where they actually have to do something.