So, I work in a restaurant. Well, like my day job. When I’m not busy being a secretly important man and wearing the paint off the keys during the small hours, that is. Cause, you know, I do have a hyper-obscure-enough-to-qualify-as-bitchen blog and I’ve sold a few books. Thus I’m not just paid kitchen help.
However, I don’t make my living off writing. In all reality I don’t know if I could pay the interest accrued on a free lunch with the money I’ve made writing. Ok, I’m fucking exaggerating. I decided to try it since I heard that once a blogger exaggerated. But, seriously, writing only qualifies as profession for me in very broad terms. I guess you could say my endeavors are subsidized, and the conditions of that subsidy include unglamourous restaurant work.
All said, I pay the bills and provide for my family via “dishware sanitation engineering”, food preperation, kitchen closing, and being the informal in-house quasi-IT guy. By the latter, I mean I design and print the special event fliers and menus, plus do some minor bookwork and other assorted computer shit from time to time for the executive chef. Cause, basically he’s a Luddite when it comes to computers. Dude is 54 years old, has never used a computer and swears he never will. It’s admirable, when you think about it. Everyone at work figures that because I have a blog, published on the internet, can make DVDs, and run Linux instead of Windows, that I’m like Richard Fucking Stallman or some shit. Some kind of “1337 haxxor” or what fucking ever. I do nothing to disavow them of this belief, for it only adds to my already inflated sense of self importance. Which, obviously, is evidenced by the fact that I’m a personal blogger.
I don’t make assloads of money. But I’m hardly complaining. I make enough that I’m never broke, my bills are always paid and there’s never been something my wife or kids really wanted that I just didn’t have the money for. At forty years old, with around twenty years put in gathering wicked cool stories, bro, vis a vis the liberal ingestion of manifold varieties and grades of illicit narcotics, no high school diploma (though I did get equivalence papers and even went to college for a short time before it got in the way of getting wasted and I dropped out), a rap sheet that if printed would use 7/8 of a new ink cartridge, and now being out of the penitentiary six 1/2 years after an eight year bit on a robbery beef…well, I figure I’m doing pretty fucking good. Bro.
And here’s the thing. My whole gig started at this job cause I just walked in and asked them if they needed kitchen help back in 09. My family and I had recently lost our apartment, her and the kids were staying at her fathers and I was staying in a storage room next to our old place. I needed fucking work. So I just hit the pavement and tried every place I could find. Got hired here as a dishwasher for seven an hour. Fuckit, it’s a job. Nowadays I do a lot more, I get paid more, and the owner rents us the second floor of the joint. It’s a big apartment, where the original owner lived when the place started out in ’47 and where some of the managers down through the years used to live. It’s nice, I get a good deal on it, and it takes me all of about 45 seconds to get to work. I really have a good all around set up here. And more important, I get along with everyone I work with and generally like everyone. Plus, the chef feeds me every night I work. Can’t beat that with a fucking stick, nor that he shares his recipes with me.
But wasn’t none of this gonna happen if I had gone out looking for work three years ago with the idea in my head that certain types of employment were “beneath” me. Or that I absolutely would not work for less than X dollars an hour. Or if I refused to do “shitwork.”
Seriously. I see people running their faces about how they refuse to work certain kinds of jobs. It must be nice, you know, to be privileged enough to refuse work. There’s people picking garbage to make a quarter a day in some countries and motherfuckers are going to complain because they have to take a customer service, gas pumping, or dish washing gig to be employed? Really? And then these same people are going to talk shit on immigrants for “taking our jobs.”
All I know is that since the Glorious Anarchist Revolution isn’t getting here anytime soon to abolish work so we can all lay around on pillows smoking opium, fixing our bikes and making folk punk, the fact remains that unless a motherfucker is equipped to engage in some illegal capitalism via hustling…well, then you gotta make money somehow. And like, you never know. An outwardly awful looking job at first might turn out to mutate into an alright gig. Given, there’s work-and then there’s Work, some jobs are just fucking harder. What I do now is harder than what I did when I started and only figured on working here a month or two.
But even if the institution of wage slavery is fucking horrible and unjust, you can’t forget that even outside of the coercive economic model we all labor under-work is honorable. It doesn’t matter how shitty your job is, you’re that much better than the person who refused to earn money flipping burgers, or clerking, or scrubbing toilets, or telemarketing, or doing factory work, or waiting tables. Let the fucking politicians pander to the “middle class homeowners and small business owners” all they fucking want. My working class heroes will always remain the rest of us. Everyone who just goes out and does what they have to do to get by, everyone for whom a living wage is anything above minimum. Anyone with balls enough to work an unspectacular job so they can put food on the table rather than complain because nobody wants to pay them fifteen an hour for pushing paper.