Sunday, May 22, 2005

Wanted: Mattress bobsledder

Being out of school and without children, it’s hard to keep track of simple things, like what season it is. I also work inside all day, so I can only tell what time of year it is by whether or not the Dairy Queen is open when I drive by. Judging by the line on the ice cream side, I’m going to guess that it’s springtime, which means that it’s the time of year for graduations, and for old people to pretend like they actually have advice to give to young people, other than, “Pull your pants up.”

When I was in college, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, somebody gave me this advice: “Remember what you used to love doing as a child, and then think of a way you could get paid for doing that. That’s what you should do for a living.”

That’s great advice for a kid who likes to build the Eiffel Tower out of Lincoln Logs, or to a kid who always pretends to be a mid-level manager at a large pharmaceutical company. But when I was little, my favorite thing to do was to write stories about dinosaurs with flatulence problems. That is a difficult skill to parlay into a career. I was also passionate about riding mattresses down the stairs, and trying to make spiders and lightning bugs befriend each other in mayonnaise jars. So by now, I should probably be either a bobsledder or a diplomat, while moonlighting as an author of books with titles like: “Tommy the Triceratops Eats a Burrito.”

Maybe you’ll have better luck than I did turning your childhood pastimes into paychecks. Hopefully, as a child, you loved sitting in confined spaces for many, many hours in a row, bathed in fluorescent lighting, and leaving your seat only long enough to satisfy your basic biological needs. If this was the case for you, you won’t have any problems making money doing what you used to enjoy as a child.

Once you decide what kind of office you want to hole up in for the rest of your life, there are still some important things you need to know to truly exceed in an office environment. When giving career advice, some people will blather on about work ethic, punctuality, and so forth. Some people will also tell you that it is easier to hike uphill than downhill, or that Patrick Swayze’s dancing in Dirty Dancing was better than Kevin Bacon’s dancing in Footloose. These people are obviously crazy; don’t let them fill your head with nonsense.

The most important thing to master in an office environment is how to mouth saying, “Hello,” to people in the hallway without actually saying, “Hello.” I have worked in several different office settings, and everyone does this, so it is very important that you learn to do it correctly. Just say the words just as you normally would, but at no point are you to actually engage your vocal cords. Also, if you later find that office life isn’t for you, you can use this skill when shooting music videos.

Another tip: if you need to go to the bathroom and you need to refill your coffee mug, make two separate trips. I don’t know if it’s weird for some reason to bring a coffee mug into the bathroom, but it seems like it might be. You should probably just play it safe on this one.

That’s about all the advice I have to give. Hope it helps. Oh, I’ve also found that if the clock on my car radio doesn’t show the correct time, disconnecting and re-connecting the battery at exactly midnight usually does the trick. Other than that, you’re on your own.


  1. Tommy the Triceratops Eats a Burrito, huh? That should so be the first kids book you ever write, and I'll hold you to that. And with a name like that, I think the book would practically write AND illustrate itself. Just remember to thank me in the credits.

  2. free (in)continental breakfast5/23/2005 3:04 PM

    When you leave your coffee mug in your office while you go to the bathroom, I usually refill it for you. No reason both of us should have to walk all the way down to Aisle G.

  3. Man, I had a lot of blog posts copy/pasted onto my palm pilot for reading this afternoon, and thank God yours was last. Some of them were depressing, some were infuriating, some were inspiring. Yours made me laugh out loud. Bravo.

  4. Oh, puh-leeeze let me be the illustrator for Tommy the Triceratops' series! Once again, Mr. T, thank you for sharing your work with those outside of The Recorder's delivery area.

  5. Hey, I'd buy the book. My kids would love it. They already have one about a farting dog.

  6. Thanks for the comment on my blog! I'm laughing out loud as I sit here "in my confined space, bathed in fluorescent lighting." Love the blog!

  7. Forget about just parents buying that. I'd but that in a second! Great stuff as always, buddy.

  8. Y'all rock. Thanks for the encouragement. You've got me thinking about the prequel: "Also, for an Appetizer, Tommy Ordered a Bean Dip."

  9. And for dessert...deep fried ice cream!