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Man, I was totally wrong about careers.



Over the last ten years or so, I’ve been proven wrong about so many things. Revelations have blitzed past me like WalMart trucks on the Interstate.

This is the latest: I’ve suddenly come to an understanding of “weird” in relation to career choices.

You wanna know what’s weird, man? I’ll tell you.

Sitting all day inside a gray building full of gray furniture surrounded by people who secretly hate you for ordering the wrong kind of paperclips.

People who have decided — based only on what they’ve heard in the lunchroom — that you are a fatally-flawed individual who must be punished for tardiness by being denied an extra sixteen cents per hour.

People who hate — hate — others who might be a little more capable of paying for mass-produced items that define us as individuals (yes, that’s supposed to be ironic), but which are rarely used.  You know, like most things in our houses.

Think about that.

That’s more weird than anything I — a longtime writer of bizarre and twisted fiction — could ever think up on my own.

People who manage to get by while not living that way are unusual, but not weird. I’ll give you some examples — since you seem interested.

The bearded guy I met who was touring the western US along unpaved backroads on an ancient and heavily-loaded Honda single-cylinder motorcycle, occasionally stopping to tell stories and busk with his guitar for handouts here and there: He wasn’t weird. He was what I think most would recognize as “happy.”

The bohemians living four to a small apartment downtown and spending their days welding found bits of rusty metal into sculptures to sell on the street on First Fridays. They aren’t weird, either. Perhaps they’re also supported by informal patronage from bored upper-middle-class housewives who wish they had gotten wilder in college and enjoy posing anonymously in the nude after a night of sherry and weed. Those bohemians: They aren’t weird. That sounds like good, natural fun. If you’re looking for a job, do that instead. Do something with found-object art and naked ladies.

The old bluesman riding to his gig on his electric moped, one hand on his hat and his Les Paul strapped to the bookrack. He’s doing it. He’s making it work. He’s not weird. He’s happy to have a job that lets him share his talents with the world. God Bless him.

So, yeah: Who’s weird, now?