…or, how I became a writer.

I’ve held a wide variety of jobs in my lifetime.

I’ve been a dishwasher, a waitress, a bartender, a nanny, a voiceover artist, and a motivational speaker.

I’ve worked in an ice cream shop, at a hot dog cart, in a classroom, and in an ambulance, among other places.

I have sold hand-knitted scarves out of the back of my minivan.

I was once named “Employee of the Year” at a computer training company. Four months later, I was fired.

I’ve also been bitten, pissed on, discriminated against, and sexually harassed. And that was just this morning.

What do all these experiences have in common? Just me. They are all part of the gloriously crinkled road map that has led to this exact moment and place. And today I am celebrating that crazy journey. Wanna come?

One of the best jobs I ever had was as a docent in a children’s museum. Several times a day, I had to give live demonstrations about the inner workings of Stuffee, the larger-than-life doll used to teach kids about internal organs. Parents would shift uncomfortably in their seats every time I would unzip and disembowel Stuffee, hold up his 6 foot long large intestine, and ask the kids “Anyone know what this is?” Some kid always shouted “PENIS.” Then one of the dads would make a joke like “Yeah, that’s about right.” Awesome.

Once, at the tender age of 19, on one very drunken Mardi Gras evening in New Orleans, I became a bonafide street performer. Apparently I had a knack for it too because one man who was out of beads handed me a twenty dollar bill and thanked me for sharing my gift(s).

I did data entry as a temp on the night shift for a few months in my mid twenties. All my coworkers were beautiful young black ladies with the longest fingernails I’d ever seen. They found me mildly entertaining. “What’s a white girl like you with a college degree doing down here at night? You crazy!” But I loved that job. I loved the solitude and the quiet. I loved racing against myself to do more entries and fewer errors than the night before. I made some great friends there too. One girl even took me to play bingo with her mom and grandma. And they thought I was crazy? Shoot. I tell you what – you haven’t lived until you’ve played and survived competitive bingo in Oakland California on a Saturday night. Day-yam. If the second-hand smoke didn’t kill me, a stray bullet could have. Those bitches take their bingo for serious, y’all.

One of the most promising but disappointing jobs I ever held was counting beads at a local bead shop a few years ago. Hand to God, I got paid to count out beads, put them into little baggies, and label them. It was perfect for me. The only problem was that the shop owner kept giving me more and more responsibility and all I wanted to do was count beads in peace, make a little pocket money, and get the hell away from my noisy kids. I quit after 4 weeks. 

I spent a couple years working with severely emotionally disturbed kids in their group home and classroom. That job was a heartbreak and a half. A good day was one in which I wasn’t assaulted or smeared with some kind of bodily excrement. I know…sounds like a regular day as a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM), doesn’t it? But it was worse because I couldn’t drink on the job or cuddle the kids. On my worst day there, I got punched square in the face by a very angry and enormous twelve year old boy. I had recurring nightmares after that and ended up leaving that job shortly thereafter. I met my husband there, by the way. He was one of the managers, not one of the poo-smearing kids.

Leaving that job was a turning point for me, and not just because I was sleeping with my boss.

After that, I switched gears and started climbing the corporate ladder. That was fun and very lucrative for a while, until I had kids. No big surprise, but I’m a classic unitasker. I just didn’t have the skills to be a successful full time employee AND a decent mother simultaneously. Something had to give.

And that something was my career.

I’ve been a full time SAHM ever since I got knocked up with Mini-Me almost ten years ago, not including that 4 weeks as a bead counter.

Until today.

I Rock the Powder Room Today I have officially been named part of an elite team of Jedi women writers at In the Powder Room. The editors there are on an “epic journey toward world domination” and apparently feel that my penchant for bathroom humor will help them get there. Either that, or they needed someone to help class up the joint. Bless their hearts.

They’ll be featuring my writing every Tuesday, provided I can meet my deadlines and continue writing things that don’t suck. Wish me luck with both of those, would you please?

I have to say, so far, the best part about being a professional writer is that it is highly unlikely I’ll ever be punched in the face. Also, I’m the one who gets to do the penis jokes for once. I’m not sure yet about the stray bullets.

Yeah… I think I’m going to like this job.

And if not, there’s always Stuffee. I could showcase his large intestine like nobody’s beeswax.

enthusiastically yours,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris. All rights reserved.