So today is my last day at work. Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about that. On the one hand, this is the job that has mangled the nerves in my back so bad that it feels like the skin has been peeled off my foot with a rusty file. On the other hand, I won’t have a job, which seems to be pretty important these days. The holidays are coming up, and although I had just planned on giving everyone my old, shitty work clothes as presents, I’ve been informed that this is unacceptable. Which means I either have to come up with some dough, or resort to the dreaded “craft present.”
Homemade crafts are not my forte. Actually, I’ve only ever tried that gig twice. Once, I bought a pile of t-shirts and—using various markers and fabric pens—arted all over them. I thought they looked kind of cool, but nobody else seemed at all impressed, so I decided to not ever do it again. The only other time I tried the craft thing was last year. Don’t worry—this was on a much smaller scale. I got my nephews—who are all about guns, soldiers, and World Wars—dog tags for Christmas. On a whim, I bought a couple of little wooden boxes at a craft store. They looked like little footlockers, and I decorated them with various decals and then put the dog tags inside for my nephews. When a four year old kid looks at your project skeptically, that’s when you know it’s time to get out of the sharp-edged world of crafts.
Oh, and just to demonstrate how grateful and polite my nephews are: when I lived in New York, I mailed their presents to them. I shredded up a bunch of newspaper to use as padding so that everything would arrive in working order. My sister called me to tell me about my older nephew’s reaction upon opening the box. “He opened it, and although you could tell he was disappointed, he said, ‘Oh, hey, Ray sent us some…newspaper. Nice.’ He even smiled when he said it. He looked so relieved when I told him that was just for packing.” That’s kind of a bittersweet story for me. On one hand, my nephew is such a nice guy that you can give him a box of newspaper for Christmas and he’ll pretend to appreciate it. On the other hand, he wasn’t entirely surprised to receive a box of torn newspaper from me, which probably says more than I’d like about my personality.
Anyway, so yeah, last day at work. I’ve been training a guy to take my place for a while now. His name’s Nacho. Another damning bit of evidence regarding my personality: I went around introducing this guy to everyone, right? Afterwards, these people would come up and ask me, “What’s his real name?”
“Beats me—that’s how he introduced himself to me.”
“Oh! Man, I thought you just called him that.”
“You thought I nicknamed him Nacho?”
“Yeah.” I should mention right now that Nacho is Mexican. So these people that I’ve worked with for two years now, they just assumed that I was asshole enough to meet the guy I’m supposed to train, “My name’s Ray, nice to meet you.”
“My name is-”
“I’m’a call you Nacho. Get it? ‘Cause you’re from Mexico? Ha!”
Sometimes I try to explain to people that I’m a dick. For some reason, they don’t want to believe me—either because of my incredibly good looks or because I’m so clever and hilarious. Frankly, I was a little put off when everyone thought I would nickname a Mexican guy Nacho. Because of the race thing, I guess.
Had it been a fat guy named Tiny or a one-armed lady that I called Captain Hook, maybe it wouldn’t have bothered me so much. I don’t know.
Nacho’s doing really well at learning my job. In a month or two, he’ll probably be better than I am after two years. I realized the other day that I haven’t mentioned anything about him, and sadly, it’s because he’s a good guy. The only time I talk about people is when they’re dick-offs. Nacho’s good at the job, he’s nice, he’s humorous. So these last few weeks, my job has consisted of going in and watching him work, and then riding shotgun while he drives us to the various stores.
Pretty sweet gig, actually.
But all things good must end. So when I go to work in a few hours, it will be for the last time. Like I said, I’m a little undecided about how I feel about it. It’s a pretty brutal job—brain-melting hot in the summer, cold in the winter, poisonous chemicals stacked all over the place, and everything weighing enough to annihilate your back when you try to move anything—but it’s also a pretty cool job. Once my boss saw that I knew what I was doing, he left me alone. I go in, do my thing, and go home. I get to talk to some interesting people—sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it’s a terrifyingly bad thing (one guy has been trying to talk to me about his many colonoscopies for a while now, and no matter how many times I threaten to puke on him, he keeps talking. I’ve found the best thing to do is turn and walk away—I’ll have to remember to pass that info along to Nacho). They’ve been incredibly flexible about my weird schedule—school, injuries, etc. All in all, it wasn’t so terrible.
The day I left Circuit City, it was like I tore off the plastic wrap I had been using to suffocate my soul. This isn’t like that. This is more like, “Shit. I don’t have a job no mo’.” I’ll be honest with you—I’ll probably miss this job a little. I bitch and moan about it, but it’s one of the better jobs I’ve had. Except for the part where it physically destroyed me.
Anyway. I was hoping this post would be more humorous, so sorry. Maybe next time.