Continuing my saga of jobs I held….When I was around twenty I started working at Record Exchange. This was a classic storefront owned by a hippy. What I mean is, everything was piled haphazardly, priced sporadically, there were pots catching water leaking from the ceiling in the middle of the aisles and stacks of dishes, garden tools, dresses, whatever scattered everywhere. In short the place was a total fucking dump. I worked the counter along with Jeff, the very gay fortyish guy who always talked about his wife and his former corporate job that he left so he could do something with music (this would be pathetic enough on its own, but if you add to the equation that his ‘corporate’ job was being a manager at coconuts records…well, you see the level of delusion you’re dealing with here…In this guy’s mind, he was a straight, married corporate robber baron turned industry mover and shaker, in reality he was a single gay guy who had a career being a clerk in various record stores…nice guy though. He’s the guy who told me princess Di was dead, and he also told me that when they found Janis Joplin’s corpse, upon examination it was revealed to be carrying seven different strains of venereal disease…understandable). There was also a roving cast of employees, most of whom lasted about two weeks due to the boss being a batshit crazy hippy dick.
His name was gary, and he was bald, but he’d save and save and get a few hairplugs put in, then he’d wear a hat for a while, then the hat would come off and he’d have this perfect, inch wide strip of hair along the front, then he’d save, wear the hat, then the strip would be two inches…The whole thing was really sad. He had a huge pushbroom mustache and he kind of looked like if Cheech Marin was a red headed Jew. Also, he was completely bipolar. Well, let’s put it this way: he was a hippy. In my experience, almost all hippies are uptight dickheads just waiting to explode, but they bottle it all up under “nah, no worries, no problem, it’s mellow man…” until something goes too far and then they FREAK THE FUCK OUT!!!!!!! This was Gary. I watched him make so many of his female employees cry. He was crazy. CRAZY. He was one of those dudes who would all of a sudden just snap because you didn’t know what Yes’s follow up to “Owner of a Lonely Heart” was and he’d literally start calling you a moron in front of the whole store at the top of his lungs while his spit flew everywhere and he turned purple (and this was back in the days of CD’s, when people were still in record stores). Anyway, he was a dick, that’s that. Everyone in the world that’s ever known him hates his guts….The other people I worked with were way more interesting.
This girl Tara was goth and in a surprise turn, disgusting. She looked like she was wearing a half deflated innertube around her waist under her lacey black turtleneck. She was really into the band Coal Chamber (remember them? Me either.) and she’d come to work and tell us about all the shit that the dudes would do to her. “Oh, tommy stuck this here while Bobby put his beer bottle up my this and that…” These were her stories. Her breath smelled like a fish had shit on her teeth, and she somehow had the nerve to attempt, on a daily basis, to make me picture her getting spit roasted by a couple of goth dudes while a third guy poured beer into her asshole or whatever was going on that day. She was so foul…But there was this other guy there who kind of loved her. He was also goth, and losing his hair with the giant, ever expanding forehead…and he was a much older guy, SO he did the kieth Richards thing where he wore the bandanna over his forehead, and just let his curly long hair go in the back. The result was he looked like the keyboard player from air supply, but he was goth. Otherwise, he was very mild mannered. It had to be a bummer for him, just all around, you know, between coal chamber and air supply, this guy probably had a lot of undeserved sleepless nights.
There was this other goth kid who never talked and wore panty hose on his arms and shit and one day his drug dealer came in and started screaming at him. “you got my fucking money? You did all my shit and now you ain’t gonna pay me? I’m gonna fuck you up, Junkie!” Screaming this. Strangely, the kid was fired on the spot.
Every day I’d walk to work from my place and pass by this designer shoe store with super hot girls working there and I’d look in. At the time I was in a relationship, but it was already doomed, so I was particularly wistful around cute girls. One morning I was in the record exchange, hating my life when my cellphone rang. This was one of the first calls I ever got on my cell, and I was one of the very first people I knew to get a cell phone, just to put into perspective the era when this was happening…I was shocked to be getting a cell call at all.
On the phone was a very nasally voice that said “hey, is this Brendan?”
“This is Fat Mike. Uh, I really like your band and I think you should do a record with us. You’re the guy with the gravelly voice, right?”
Now, for those of you who don’t know, Fat Mike is the singer of one of my favorite bands. I’ve been a fan since I was twelve. He also runs a great record label…We still work together today. SO let’s just say this phone call was fucking super exciting.
I hung up the phone and I was shaking. I walked inside, told Gary to go fuck himself and walked down the street to the shoe store, opened the door and yelled into all the chicks “I QUIT MY JOB!!!!” Then I went and got drunk at the LnL. Man, back then things sure seemed to be looking up. Sigh.
Have a good day. I have to go to my current shitty job.