I’ve had a lot of shitty jobs. The first job I got after dropping out of art college was at the Tuesday Morning next to my house, which also happens to be right next to an old folks home. If you’ve never been in a Tuesday Morning, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s like a Big Lots but with a bunch of mismatched closeout items that get frequently shuffled around, dropped on the floor, and slammed into each other. There is a sign over every aisle that says, “Everything 50-80% off.” This confuses and angers all the old ladies and housewives because Tuesday Mornings don’t have sales or sale aisles. That statement is their slogan, and every 15 minutes, Lauren Bacall is on the intercom saying how much she loves the savings.
When I was hired in, both managers were gay and every other employee was an old lady. Well, there was one black guy but he moved on soon after. I have nothing against old ladies and middle-aged gay guys (hell, my dad is one), but it was a little depressing being a virgin 18-year-old in a sea of older people. I was, therefore, DElighted when 28-year-old Wes was hired. Both managers were also delighted and speculated for weeks about whether or not he was gay. Wes and I became fast friends though and then everyone was sure that we were an item, which was silly because we were/are about as far from sexual as it gets.
One day, Wes came in with a huge, red employee of the month button and was all giddy about me wearing it. Ridiculous smile in tow, I strutted around the store with it on. Several of my coworkers were angry that I’d been chosen over them and I had to explain that there is no employee of the month. An old lady asked me what I’d do with my employee of the month money. I told her I’d mostly throw it out of the top of the employee of the month limo. I don’t think she could hear too well though because she said that was nice. Maybe she was just asking what I’d do with my working woman money seeing as how I didn’t have a man because if I did, I wouldn’t be working.
At closing time, we were moving all the endcaps around for Tuesday Morning’s monthly new stock extravaganza, which featured such horrors as old ladies lining up an hour before we opened to cup their ghastly old hands onto the big tinted windows and peering in at us while we did our morning rounds. While I was awkwardly pulling an endcap down an aisle, the assistant manager, who was about a year older than I was, was yelling at the 45-year-old druggie who lived with her mom and slept with guys in prison.
“Damnit Bo, I have to ask you to do the same thing like ten times. I just gave Stephanie a huge list of shit to do and she’s almost done already!”
Now I hate being singled out like that and I always have so I did what I always do and made a joke about it. “That’s why I’m employee of the month!” I shouted down the aisle, taking a hand off the endcap to point at the button. Bad idea. One wheel of the endcap hit a corner of another shelf and about 6 giant lamps came crashing off the top of the endcap, hitting shelves on the way down and raining glass all around me. I took a moment to account for all my limbs, realized I was unscathed, and grinned sheepishly at my wide-eyed, open-mouthed coworkers. I was also very relieved that Tuesday Morning sells nothing but crap so I didn’t have to give my next three paychecks back to the company for all those broken lamps.