Jim Bishop: Nice work, if you can get it

After nearly 44 years in the same occupation – the secrecy of which didn’t permit me to know what I was doing – I decided to change jobs, not realizing what hard work that would be.

In timely fashion, I started out as a watchmaker, which was great because I got to make my own hours. Unfortunately, I soon discovered I didn’t have the hands for it. Kinda ticks me off . . .

Then I tried being a grocer. But it only offered a meager celery and I came home every evening beet. While browsing their magazine section I was offered a job as a cartoonist. But the entire industry seemed a little sketchy, and I was only good at drawing flies.

I tried employment in the appliance section of the retail store, but sales of irons kept decreasing as they put the heat on me to sell more clothes dryers.

Completing work applications started getting to me. I went down the page and was asked, “Have you ever been arrested?” I immediately answered, “No.” The next question asked, “Why?” Thinking that was intended for anyone who had been arrested, I wrote, “Never been caught.”

I next looked into becoming a geologist, but my work was taken for granite, even though I was generous to a fault. I applied for an assembly line job at the candle factory, and even though I was able to wax eloquent, business tapered off after the holidays.

My next job was working in an orange juice factory, but they put the squeeze on me and I was canned … couldn’t concentrate.

After that I tried to be a tailor, but I just wasn’t suited for it … mainly because it was a so-so job.

Then I tried to be a chef – figured it would add a little spice to my life, but I just didn’t have the thyme (was that sage advice?).

I managed to get a good job working for a pool maintenance company, but kept treading water; the work was just too draining.

Then I worked in the woods as a lumberjack, but I just couldn’t hack it, so they gave me the ax and I split.

After that I worked in a blanket factory, but no one would cover for me and it folded.

Next was a job in a shoe factory; I tried but just didn’t fit in and was given the boot.

I then tried becoming a drywaller, but just couldn’t get the hang of it. I switched to carpentry, but kept biting my nails.

I opened the newspaper and read this headline: “Bear Takes Over Disneyland in Pooh D’Etat.” I turned to the “want ad” section and found this notice – Wanted: man to be shot out of cannon. Must be of high caliber. Great opportunity to be a big shot twice a day while being fired. (Here I thought “fireproof” was being related to the boss).

I kept trying to find steady work and finally got a job as a historian until I realized there was no future in it.

My best job was being a musician, playing the glockenspiel, but since about the only song out there that features this instrument is Buddy Holly’s “Everyday,” eventually I found I wasn’t noteworthy. “That’ll be the day” the music died, “Peggy Sue.”

I became a professional fisherman, but discovered that I couldn’t live on my net income even though I worked for scale (you swallowed that hook, line and clinker).

My last real job was working at Starbucks, but I quit because it was always the same old grind (and I was a drip).

So, for now, I’m working as a magician. But getting the tricks right is so frustrating; I’m pulling my hare out. And the audience keeps wishing I was the dumb bunny who disappeared.

Shhhh . . . be vewy, vewy quiet, and you might hear a pun drop. Copywight 2011, Elmer Fudd. All wights wesewved.

Like I said, changing jobs while creating pundemoanium is hard work, but someone’s gotta do it.

Even after this, Jim Bishop is still public information officer at Eastern Mennonite University. Give him the pink slip at bishopj@emu.edu.

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