No one has tagged for the four things meme yet. Why not? Am I considered untaggable? I think I've compared tagging to spam and spam to (non-consensual) sodomy before, but I wasn't expecting anyone to take me seriously. Especially since I was whispering it into an old drainpipe. Who listens to the whispers coming out of the drainpipe anymore? Everyone, I guess, because no one has tagged me.
Well I'm gonna do it anyway. I'm gonna do it natheless.
FOUR JOBS THAT I HAD THAT ATE MY SOUL
Telephone surveyor. This job must have a fancier title. It must, because all jobs that are the equivalent of licking out public toilets have fancy titles. This was in highschool. I sat in a little booth three evenings a week and phoned people relentlessly, harvesting their opinions on the thirst-quenchingness of certain sodas, the effectiveness of no-fault insurance, and I believe I even once had to ask people how often they used their fridges (the answer was usually a confused "um... always"). The office was managed by a woman with tiny eyes and huge frosted blond hair who wore an array of worn-out university sweatshirts. She was forever showing us pictures of her boyfriends, all of whom were stationed at the Army base in Minot, North Dakota. I used to wonder if they fought each other every weekend for the privilege of her love.
Eventually I stopped showing up for work and hoped that they would forget about me. Six months later, the frosted blonde manager called and asked if I could come in that Saturday. I told her that I had to babysit my cousin (note: a lie). She thanked me and that was that.
Used bookstore manager. This job did not eat my soul. In fact I had a great time, sitting behind a counter all day long and making small talk with a group of semi-homeless regulars who had nothing better to do than talk to the guy at the book store. For bad mood days I brought out a wooden mallet stashed behind the counter. I would hold it loosely and smile at people as they walked in. Those days witnessed low sales.
The store owner was a narcoleptic pothead who ran the bookstore as a hobby project. His real business, besides underpaying me and looking like a Groucho Marx with bloodshot eyes, involved a courier company, where I believe he was a regional account manager. Every so often he would come in and demand a full accounting of my activities, but his attention would wander in the middle of my accounting. Sometimes he'd just drift off in mid-sentence. I took a lot of books from that place when I left.
Strangest moment there: In a copy of a William Gaddis novel sitting on the shelves, a man found a picture of his family from the 1960s.
Worst moment there: Bryan Adams came in. He turned out to be the cheapest, meanest bastard I'd ever dealt with. He was so mean that when I saw a poster for one of his tours in Austria ten years later, I gave it the finger. Yeah, take that, Bryan.
Catalogue phone jockey. If cattle were paid in some other coin than a whirling blade, then this would be the job for our bovine buddies. Call centres are warehouses for the hopeful and those past hope, university students, ex-convicts (and in the States, you need not even be ex-), housewives, downsized managers from other companies. During my week of training I spent my cigarette breaks (now quit) listening to a stream of overly jovial sexist jokes from a fellow in shirsleeves with a moustache like trimmed red yarn. It was quickly plain that he had been fired or laid off from some job in middle management somewhere, and the shock had sent him toppling into misogynist jerkhood. He didn't last long.
Production Researcher. My god. This would take longer than a paragraph. This would take five novels of pain and a fat chapbook of screaming and footnotes. I could put Bruce Wagner and Nathaniel West to shame with the tales of my three years at a small independent television production company. And one day I will. But not now.
MORE THAN FOUR BOOKS I'VE LOVED
Monsignor Quixote, Graham Greene.
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Haruki Murakami.
Flow Chart, John Ashbery.
V., Thomas Pynchon.
Suttree, Cormac McCarthy.
Ubik, Philip K. Dick.
Le Ton Beau de Marot, Douglas R. Hofstadter.
After Babel, George Steiner.
Ulysses, James Joyce.
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Cruddy, Lynda Barry.
The Quick & The Dead, Joy Williams.
The Palm at the End of the Mind, Wallace Stevens.
Pastoralia, George Saunders.
Amphigorey, Edward Gorey.
The Rattle Bag, Edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes.
The Third Policeman, Flann O'Brien.
The Napoleon of Notting Hill, G.K. Chesterton.
Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor.
Ah hell, I love a thousand more books than these.
FOUR MOVIES THAT I CAN WATCH OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
My friend Jon Joffe, who now makes movies, claims that the only measure of a film's worth is its repeated watchability. Based on that criterion, his favourite film was The Crow, but I think the principle holds.
Night of the Hunter
That didn't take long at all.
FOUR MOVIES I WISH I'D WALKED OUT ON
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the remake)
Reindeer Games. I mean, holy crap. What immense suck.
Mission to Mars. Was it worse than Reindeer Games? Possibly.
Armageddon. I felt like less of a person after that film.
FOUR TV SHOWS THAT I LOVE
FOUR PLACES I'VE CALLED HOME
Halifax, Nova Scotia
FOUR PLACES I'VE VACATIONED
Sunny downtown Ontario
some wretched campground somewhere
FOUR PLACES I VISIT DAILY
Wood s Lot
FOUR PEOPLE I'M TAGGING
No one! Because tagging is worse than spam, which is worse than nonconsensual sodomy.