An Award-Winning Disclaimer

A charming little Magpie whispered this disclaimer into my ear, and I'm happy to regurgitate it into your sweet little mouth:

"Disclaimer: This blog is not responsible for those of you who start to laugh and piss your pants a little. Although this blogger understands the role he has played (in that, if you had not been laughing you may not have pissed yourself), he assumes no liability for damages caused and will not pay your dry cleaning bill.

These views represent the thoughts and opinions of a blogger clearly superior to yourself in every way. If you're in any way offended by any of the content on this blog, it is clearly not the blog for you. Kindly exit the page by clicking on the small 'x' you see at the top right of the screen, and go fuck yourself."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

This Deadened Soul

I just spent a full hour standing in front of a photo-copier at Staples.

I feel like my soul has been effectively deadened by the experience.

It should have been more exciting. After all, I was commiting a federal crime: illegally photocopying musical libretti.

Look out, Gotti.

There are times in my workaday life where I feel like I'm making a difference in peoples' lives, but those moments are pretty fleeting. Most of the time, I feel like I am standing in front of a photo-copier at Staples, even if I'm not. It's a feeling I can get almost anywhere, a feeling that I'm stationary, that I'm a cog in a not-so-great wheel, that I'm, well, Xeroxing.

I realize that, working for a small non-profit, there are lots of unglamorous jobs to be done, and few exciting jobs to be done, and I do them all. I empty the trash and Lysol the can. I sweep. I clean up vomit.

I Xerox.

I have a funny, ambiguous non-profit title that doesn't mean anything. Program Specialist, Project Coordinator, Program Assistant, Program Coordinator, Staff Assistant, Project Manager, Assistant, Associate, etcetera, etcetera.

What these titles all mean is:

"Will photocopy until nauseated and then will clean up his own vomitus for $30K-a-year or less."

Of course, I'm pretty thrilled that I actually have any job to speak of in this economy, when so many people are unemployed, sitting around trash-can campfires and roasting their old shoes for sustinence. Believe me, I know enough to be grateful that I'm not sitting around jobless, homeless and stricken with Swine Flu. Still, bitching about one's job, especially on a blog, is pretty much human nature, and obligatory.

As I was standing in front of the copier this morning for an hour, illegally Xeroxing manuscripts, I could not help but feel that there were better ways to spend my time. I don't particularly mind working for peanuts-- because, like most people who work for non-profits, the absence of benefits and any recognizable salary or potential for upward mobility is supplanted by the warmfuzzie sensation that you're a do-gooder, like Robin Hood, only less gay looking. In my occupational existence, I've worked for two for-profits and two non-profits, and I always felt better about myself when I was working for the non-profits. I felt like I was sacrificing something, and I like that. Just nail me up on that old cross, boys-- it's quite a view from up here.

I just wish there was less Xeroxing involved-- but you can't have everything.

There are things about every job I've ever had that I didn't like, that I felt deadened my soul or wasted my time or insulted me in one way or another. When I was an EMT, one of those tasks was washing the ambulance. I could empty all the pee-filled foley catheter bags on the planet, schlep walruse-shaped invalids up and down dimly-lit, rickety staircases, clean thick goop from peoples' neck-holes, look at blood and poop and puke all day, make the stretcher nice and tidy five or six times in a shift-- but tell me to wash the truck and I would roll my eyes and do basically anything to get out of doing it. I suppose it comes from my own personal reluctance to wash my own car. Why? Doesn't it still drive the same if it's dirty? It's not like somebody rubbed feces all over the side of the thing-- why do I have to bust my ass to make it all shiny-- especially in the winter when it's just going to get filthy again in a matter of minutes? In the wintertime, we were supposed to wash the truck once a week. This notice, put out in writing on the Magic-Erase white board, was promptly riddled with ridicule and obscene protest comments from my coworkers. It was nice to know I wasn't alone.

When I was an optician, my first job out of college, the indignity that I avoided and dreaded was vacuuming the store. It wasn't hard, or taxing, or dangerous-- it just was something that, for one reason or another, I felt deadened my soul a little. It didn't help that my boss seemed to put the vacuum in my hand directly after I would return from a three-day-weekend or some other unusual time off, so that I equated being told to vacuum with punishment. I always did a shitty job vacuuming, too. I never tried to do a bad job, but I wouldn't say I ever especially tried to do a good job either.

As I stood at Staples, the warmth of the Xerox machine warming my crotch and legs, as page after page after page got spat out from the side of the great, whirring, rectangular object, I thought about all the soul-deadening things I've done for extraordinarly miniscule amounts of money. I tried to think about what soul-deadening things lay in wait for me in my jobs of the future, but my brain refused to let me watch that preview. Must be pretty bad. Could it be an unending, painful scene laden with collating, filing, sorting, organizing, paper-clipping, stapling, and being second-guessed, underminded, critiqued and patronized?

Oh my.

As Stephen Sondheim once said: heigh-ho the glamorous life.


  1. Writing my end-of-the-day therapy notes deadens my soul. As if it isn't enough to provide superior and meaningful therapy for 6 hours a day; it then has to be documented in a way to prove that a)I'm actually seeing the children and administering therapy and b)they're making progress, so I can justify my career's existence. A necessary evil, but a soul-deadening one at that.

  2. At least you're Xeroxing for a non-profit, and not a for-profit led by an ass who exploits his employees, and uses his magazine to perpetuate stereotypes.

    Just sayin' :)

  3. i work at a printshop.
    kill me now.

    i hate my job.
    but yes, at least i have one..
    but sigh. i see the seeds a changing soon.


Got something to say? Rock on with your badass apron!