Brandon Christensen has been living on the “extreme margins of society.” He writes,
Now, before I segue into describing what the average line cook in Texas is like, I want to remind you all that I have long hair, a bandanna, and a nasty-looking beard. I have these things for a reason. I got this specific job for a reason. I don’t want to settle down in a suburb yet. I don’t want to work in an office and be tied down to a health insurance policy or a decent 401k package. I don’t want to spend my nights alone (or with a pet dog), watching TV, and waiting patiently to fall asleep so that, tomorrow, I can repeat the same mundane tasks I performed earlier in the day. In order to avoid adulthood, then, I have to wallow in the filth that is America’s food service sector.
This recognition is what sets me apart from most of my fellow line cooks, I think. Drug use is rampant in the trailer and behind the bar. Many of my fellow co-workers show up to work with booze on their breath. Their pupils are almost always dilated or their eyes glazed over. If they are not buzzed when they show up for their shift, they are in a bad mood. Attitudes toward the job in particular and life in general are poor, to say the least. Cooperation is viewed as a sign of weakness in the minds of many line cooks. Short-term incarceration is a frequent occurrence. The turnover rate at my place of employment is astronomical. It’s higher than the phone-based “student fundraiser” job I had in college, and it’s a normal rate here in the ATX.
History, law, and art are not discussed in private conversations. Jokes about penises, flatulence, and women govern comradely ties. This is the culture I wanted to re-immerse myself in. This is high school (and church) in Old Hangtown. This is what keeps me hungry and competitive. (It also pays my bills, of course.)
Working shitty jobs has enabled me to travel all over the country and all over the world in a unique and almost legendary manner. Working shitty jobs has given me a perspective on life that few people in my position, as a relatively privileged white boy, are able to have. Working shitty jobs has helped me to be grateful for the opportunities that I have earned for myself over the years. Working shitty jobs has shaped my sense of self, my sense of humor, and my sense of soul in a deeply profound manner. Working shitty jobs has opened up social networks to me that are otherwise inaccessible to American WASPs. Working shitty jobs has reinforced with grit my stubborn, indomitable dignity.
Making gourmet donuts for drunk people in Texas is easily the worst job I’ve ever had. It would have been the worst job I’ve ever had even if it wasn’t based out of a trailer. I am truly thankful to my entrepreneurial employers, their management team, and my co-workers for their hospitality, generosity, and patience over the past five months. I couldn’t have asked for a better send off into the brave new world of conformity, comfort, and consumerism.
Read more here.
h/t American Digest