Well, technically, he didn’t give it to me. His television show’s post production company did.
About a month ago, I got together with a friend I hadn’t seen in a few years for lunch. He’s a video editor. I asked him what his current job was. Suddenly, his voice got real soft.
“You know that show ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter?'” my pal muttered. Clearly, he wasn’t that proud. Who could blame him? After all, “Dog” star Duane Chapman is a well-documented racist.
I didn’t judge my friend, though, because I’m pretty sure he got the job prior to Dog’s apocalyptic n-bombing. Besides, people gotta eat. This was my thought moments after Unidentified JG2 Pal #1 made the following offer:
“You know, if you’re ever looking for part time work, they could always use a hand with transcription.”
Living in New York isn’t cheap. I get by, but it can be real stressful sometimes. I’m looking at a pretty expensive summer this season, too—I want to celebrate my thirtieth year with a trip across America and a jaunt to France. So the thought of pulling in some extra scratch typing up the ramblings of a reality TV star in my spare time, even if said star is the text book definition of white trash, was not verboten. I told my friend to try and hook me up if I could.
Immediately after this conversation, I talked to a few friends about it. Would people respect me less if I was employed for “Dog” in any capacity? Everyone I talked to was of the following mindset: there are far worse ways you could be making money in this economy. I’m starting to get real sick of that phrase. IN THIS ECONOMY. In this economy, you just can’t afford not to move dead kittens around with a pitchfork.
About a week after lunching with my editor friend, his employer called me. An interview was scheduled for the following day at noon. I tried to get in the zone, but it was tough. This call really couldn’t have come at a worse time; late afternoon on a very busy writing day. I had already consumed about a gallon of coffee. I would be up until at least four that night. Oh, and that morning, I inexplicably decided to give myself a haircut after showering. I had only tried that once before. Hence, my ‘do was all different lengths and shapes.
You can see where this is going. I turned off my alarm the following morn when it rang at nine-thrity; I didn’t wake up until eleven. I didn’t have time to shower, so I just threw some gunk in my hair (which made me look like metrosexual Gumby) and got ready to slip into the only suit I own. Tragically, I’ve gained just enough weight since last wearing my suit that it now looks like sausage casing. I was forced to wear some of my baggy old “fat” clothes. I looked like a toasted sales rep for a skateboard company.
The funny thing is, even though I looked like a teenager dressed up for some kind of high school assembly, this crackhead still pointed to me on the subway and said to his friend, “All these Wall Street guys are losing their jobs, man! They don’t know what to do!”
I got to the place a little after noon; I immediately felt like an overdressed idiot when I met my interviewer, who was rocking a look similar to the one Warren G had in the “Regulate” video. More interesting—this person was not Caucasian. I came very close to asking Unidentified Interviewer if they were really comfortable working for a program whose star was vocally opposed to interracial dating. At the last second, I decided it would probably be a little uncouth to bring that up.
Not that that really mattered; I mean, less than thirty seconds into the interview, I already had one strike against me.
“Have you ever done transcription work before?”
“Ah, no, no I haven’t.”
A disappointed look overcame Interviewer’s face. This wiener’s never even done this shit before! Strike two came a few minutes later when I asked about the hours.
“Oh, it would be a night shift, 6 PM to 2 AM.”
“Oh, really? Huh. That probably won’t work. I was really hoping for a morning shift.”
Beggers can’t be choosers, you weird-haired fuck.
Strike three came with this typing test I had to take. It was just some thing on the Internet, not very official at all. I hadn’t taken one of these since middle school. The Interviewer didn’t give me any instructions, and there weren’t any on the screen. I was also still in editing mode mentally, so I just read through the paragraph onscreen a few times looking for typos. There weren’t any. I struck a few keys and a timer started counting down. I didn’t know what the hell was happening. This is one of those instances that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that my ancestors are from Poland.
I realized what the deal was after a few minutes of Zoolander-esque computer exploration. Interviewer had to restart the test a couple of times due to my poor comprehension skills. I’m sure that sealed my fate. I fell about twenty words short of their per minute requirement anyway. This was disappointing, because I’ve always considered myself a pretty quick typist. I blame the sample paragraph, which was apparently lifted from the opening of Wizard of Oz. It was all, “Dorothy lived with her aunt and uncle in Kansas in a house yay big that didn’t even have room for a garret!”
What the fuck is a garret? Where’s the damn Scarecrow already?
I left feeling pretty lousy, yet I was partially relieved I wouldn’t have to carefully doctor my résumé to include “transcription for mulleted racist from Hawaii.” The rest of my day was just as comically aggravating; a whiny child ruined my lunch at a pizza shop, I bought a root beer float that tasted like rhino ass, I developed an awful headache on the ride home, the DVR forgot to record the “MonsterQuest” episode about alligators in New York sewers, and my roommate continued his campaign to stub all of my toes with his carefully placed box of pornographic VHS tapes in the living room.
At least that crackhead thought I was Wall Street.