I’ve had a variety of jobs, ranging from the kind where you wear a tie to the kind where you wear a hat so your hair doesn’t get in the chicken salad. Remarkably, I’ve only been fired from one of these that I can recall (Whole Foods Market’s tardy policy was not conducive to my “showing up twenty minutes late to everything all the time” policy. If I do end up making this a regular feature, I’ll call it “How Was I Not Fired Sooner” when I write about my time there.) My most recent struggle with honest employment was a stint at the Angelika Film Center in downtown Houston, where I was an average of four years older than the other employees and thus felt like I had grown up during World War II.
The managers were nice folks but for the most part weren’t too fond of me, due in part to things like my twenty minutes late policy, or not understanding why on slow days when I was working the box office I couldn’t play Guided by Voices CDs really loud on my boombox, or eat a cheeseburger, or take my shirt off, or let people into movies for free. Truth be told I thought about quitting nearly every day I was there; it wasn’t exactly a hard job, but it didn’t offer a lot in the way of personal satisfaction, or money. There were some bright moments along the way, though.
Thursday nights are when they swap out some of the older films for new releases. Sometimes the studios forget to send theaters signs for the films; the managers usually print out the name of the movie on computer paper to act as a placeholder until they can find something more proper. But if I notice a movie like, say, Gomorrah is opening tomorrow, and there’s no sign for it, and I’ve got a scrap of paper and a Sharpie lying around:
Surely that’s more sensible than going through all the trouble of calling a manager and making them print out some big boring Times New Roman block letters without a picture or anything, right? That’d just look silly up there on the window next to all the other movie titles:
I felt pretty good about what I’d done. I didn’t know what Gomorrah was about; I was pretty sure it didn’t have much to do with cartoon animals, but no matter. It was at least a day or so until the actual Gomorrah sign arrived and my handiwork was noticed/taken down. Nobody ever said anything about it to me; honestly, I'm not sure whatever else I might've done that day but the sign was probably one of my milder transgressions.
I think I gave my two weeks notice a couple days later. They seemed kind of surprised when I came back for those next two weeks.