See, I worked for the government one summer...and I don't want those people anywhere near my tonsils, pancreas or bowels.
Before I suffered the ultimate indignity of dressing up as a Ninja Turtle for children's parties, I worked a summer for the 1990 US Census.
Shortly after we were married, my wife and I found that money was an important thing to have. You can buy food with it.
We heard that the US Census was hiring.
We both went and took a test to see if we were smart enough to work at the Census. As I recall, the test consisted of seeing if we knew how to breath.
A few weeks later we received a letter in the mail. We had scored well at breathing. We were now official government workers.
My wife would work the day shift, and I would work the afternoon shift...allowing me to go on auditions and not get them.
My first day on the job I was introduced to other people who could breath. Barely.
We sat at official US government cardboard desks. I do not jest. They were cardboard desks.
Our job was to open US Census survey envelopes and input the data into a computer. The data would be used to make sure the government would function over the next 10 years. One look at my co-workers and I knew the government was in for a bumpy 10 years.
Back then the economy seemed to be in pretty good shape. So not a lot of people needed jobs with the US Census. This means that the people who DID need jobs with the US Census were particularly interesting. And slightly scary.
I overheard the following conversation on my first day on the job. A man (for that is what I think he was) was telling another man the benefits of working for the government. It went something like this:
"So, like, if you ever feel sick and you're at work you can just go into the bathroom. You could stay there all day and they'd still have to pay you. Know why? Because you're at work. But you're sick. You're there...so you're officially at work...but you're sick...so you're not working. Like if you have diarrhea. What are they going to do? Say, no you can't have diarrhea? Get back to your desk? No. Cuz then you'll mess yourself at your desk and subject other people to your spores. And they don't want that. So, you have to stay in the bathroom. But you want to work. It's just your bottom is not cooperating with your desire to work. So they have to pay you. And what are they going to do? Check on you in the bathroom? No. They have to believe you cuz they can't demand to see your diarrhea. That's against the law and an invasion of personal privacy. No one can insist on looking at your diarrhea. That's a known fact. And if they did. You could sue them. So diarrhea is a good thing to have if you come to work but don't want to work. But you'd have to spend most of your time in the bathroom, that's the only downside."
Not everyone was as unusual as this man. Some of my co-workers were just there to supplement their income. Others were there as some requirement of their parole board.
One retired woman was there because she thought it would be fun. I remember she would sit in front of her computer and say. "Oh fiddlesticks! Behave Mr. Computer!" In the three months of working next to her, I don't think she ever input one thing. She got close. It was at the end of the three months that I discovered she hadn't learned how to turn her computer on.
Another co-worker was in his early 20s. He loved the Fox sketch comedy show, 'In Living Color.' He would spend every moment saying, "Two Snaps Up," and then shouting, "Werrrrrrrrrrrrr!" I don't what that meant. But he did it all the time. After two months I thought about bringing a weapon.
Diarrhea man took care of it by trying to flush the young man down the toilet.
It was a magical time in my life.
I hear they are hiring again.
I can still breath. Maybe I should give it another shot.