Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Tuesday I post a new column.
At the age of 28, I might finally get a full-time job this week. To most people, this would be good news. Comfort and financial stability are common goals of society’s upstanding citizens. But I’m not an upstanding citizen. I’m a worthless deadbeat, so for me the idea of full-time work is downright terrifying.
If someone hires me full-time for a real job, that means I can’t get bored and ditch out after two weeks, right? And when the work on my desk starts piling up, I’ll have to actually complete that work instead of just finding a new job, right? No sir, I don’t think I like this new way of doing things.
I’ve always been this way. As a kid, anything my parents asked me to do would take no fewer than 15 working days to complete. Clean my room? I’ll just move the mess around with my foot until it looks different. Take out the trash? I think we can cram a few more items into that thin, weak plastic garbage bag, mom. Whenever guidance councilors suggested what I should do with my life, all their options seemed like a lot of work. “Can’t I just wake up at noon, drink and bitch about ‘The Man’ all afternoon, and end my day at 7pm by throwing up all over the toilet seat at Pizza Luce?” Usually this honest question would receive a horrified glance in return.
I’ve always considered myself a Duluth beatnik at heart, meaning I hold down an occasional job here or there, getting by with just enough for my rent and a few cheap beers at the bar, but never forcing myself to take on actual responsibility or hard work. If there’s such a thing as heaven, I’d like to think it’s bumming around the Twin Ports, living off complimentary bowls of bar food and drinks bought for me by drunk tourists who think I’m interested in being their friend.
By taking a full-time job, I feel like I’m going against everyone I look up to. All my heroes are deadbeats. The Dude from The Big Lebowski? He didn’t need to work. George Costanza from Seinfeld? He was a lovable bum. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis from Some Like it Hot? “Transexual musician” isn’t a real job.
After re-reading that paragraph, I’ve just realized all my heroes are fictional. Is that further proof of how pathetic I am, or a clever social commentary on our nation’s crushing lack of real-life heroes? You decide!
So what is this potential job, you ask? I’d be an assistant to some executive person. I’d pretty much just answer their phone, add stuff to their calendar, and sometimes organize things for them. There’s not much to do. I’d probably spend most of my day surfing the internet.
Wait a second. There’s not much to do? Most of my day will be spent surfing the internet? This doesn’t sound like a real job at all. This sounds like a job for a . . . deadbeat! A deadbeat like me! An assistant job pays just like a real job, but doesn’t require all that pesky work!
I can’t show up to work drunk like I want to, but I can show up hungover, and sit all morning holding my head in my hands just like I do on weekends! I can take long lunch hours and not mark them on my timecard! I can spend all day looking at messenger bags on Amazon.com! This job is perfect!
Even though the fictional lives of George Costanza and The Dude would make for a horrible life of suffering in the real world, an assistant job is a good way to honor their dream. It’s the closest a person can get to being them. And you know what? I’d like to live that dream. Sign me up, my friend. Sign my lazy, good-for-nothing, goldbricking name on that contract. I’m in!
Of course, if my potential employer happens to google my name and read this column, there’s a small chance I might not get the job.