Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Man Up!

     Years ago when I worked in a jewelry store the manager required all of his sales associates to pierce ears. I hated the idea of holding a needle-loaded gun to someone’s ear and firing so I managed to be busy when customers came into the store asking for this service. 
     But one time I couldn’t get out of it.
     A leather-clad biker chick, with spiked hair and smelling of exhaust and Pabst Blue Ribbon, came into the store wanting an ear pierced, even though she already sported a dozen earrings on each one. “I want a gold stud up here at the top,” she said, pointing to the place.
     “Up in the cartilage? Won’t that hurt?” I asked, hoping she'd turn around and walk away.
     She rolled her eyes and shrugged.
     I couldn’t talk her out of it, and there was no one else around to pawn the job off on. I sterilized her skin as I’d been taught, loaded the stud into the gun, held my breath and squeezed the trigger.
     Uh-oh; the stud only went in half way. Feeling like I was going to pass out, I bent over and took deep breaths.
     She tore the stud out of her ear. The blood must have drained out of my face because she looked at me curiously as she handed the stud back to me. “Be a man! Try again,” she ordered.
     I tried a second time, and the earring still didn’t go all the way in. I don't know what I would have done if a co-worker hadn't finally arrived and completed the job. 
     I apologized to the biker chick when she left, positive I'd caused her a great deal of pain. She slapped me on the back and told me not to worry about it, but I can still hear her words: “Be a man!” 
     Since then I’ve tried my best to be every bit the man she was.

What was the worst or most dreaded job you ever had? Is it your current one?


  1. I love my job now. The WORST job I ever had to do, I suppose, was clean out the grease trap behind some sinks at a gas station where I worked -- 2 hours of disgusting smells/feelings. But the job I liked the least overall was when I worked on an assembly line in a factory that made solenoids for army vehicles. I spent 8 hours a day doing the same exact tiny motion over and over, without anyone to talk to or music or talk radio to listen to. I thought I'd go crazy.

  2. Youch! that sounds painful. Can't really think of any one job I didn't like.. I've had a few horrible customers, but I can deal with them easily.
    I like your writing. Thanks for stopping by my page:)

  3. Oooh, I think I'd be hiding in the back too, if someone wanted an ear-piercing (or anywhere else, for that matter), I'm not at all squeamish about blood, but the thought of hurting someone...

    Worst job ever? Customer Service Rep in the Call centre for London Congestion Charging. Thank goodness it was only temporary.

  4. That biker chick sounds awesome. You should put her in a book.

    I've never had any jobs that I considered to be particularly awful - although I've been a chambermaid (cleaning toilets), an Au Pair (cleaning toilets and looking after kids), and a door-to-door activist for an environmental group (not cleaning toilets, but you'd think I was trying to from some of the looks people gave me). I think it was my outlook - I figured it was what I was going to be doing, so I may as well look for the positive and find a way to be good at it.

    Right now, my job is being a mom and a wife. I love it! But I love writing, too. :-)