A few years back I had a job that was slowly sucking the life out of me. My boss was certifiably insane, I was pushing paper all day, and the buzzing of the fluorescent lights nearly drove me over the edge. My cubicle offered me a beautiful view of a dead plant, and sometimes I’d get to bask in the scent of Marlboro Reds and Jack Daniels from a coworker who would stop to unload his drama on the guy sitting in the space next to mine. There were days when tying a noose around my neck and ending it all seemed less painful than that place.
I decided I needed to take matters into my own hands and find another source of income. I didn’t have anything specific in mind, just something that would pay the bills and help me avoid feeling jazzed about a hanging death. Let me tell you, when you leave the range this wide open you’ll end up doing some messed up stuff.
My first encounter was an advertisement from a local university offering $500 to participate in a study. I called in, they asked me a few questions about my mental health history, and said they’d call me back. I received a call 10 minutes later. It’s never a good sign when a place that just asked you questions about your mental stability is anxious to call you back.
I went in for a screening, and talked with one of their graduate research students. She asked tons of questions relating to my formative years. As I began to get in-depth, she did the worst thing a future therapist could do: she yawned. It was not one of those little yawns where the person is desperately trying to hide it. She actually opened her mouth widely and let out a sound. I’m sorry my awkward junior high years bored you, Sheila.
She delved further into the most traumatic moments of my childhood, and then did the only thing that could trump the yawn: she laughed. She tried to cover it up by pretending to cough, but we both knew it was a laugh. As I walked out, I laughed…at how I was a walking MasterCard commercial. Gasoline to get to case study: $10.00. Parking fee: $5.00. Amusing a shrink with your trauma: priceless.
Needless to say, it was time to pursue another avenue. I saw a posting for a clinic offering big bucks to women who would donate their eggs. Perfect! I didn’t want these things anyway, so it was a win-win situation. I called the number, and got directions to the clinic which screened potential donors. When I got there I immediately noticed I was the only woman in the waiting room.
After spending 20 minutes reading a pamphlet on proper testicle care, a man leaned over and asked me if I knew I was in a sperm bank. Are you serious? They accidentally sent me to a bank where the only deposits being made were in the form of someone’s funky spunky. I took it as a sign from the universe that nobody should create a child using my DNA.
Not one to be easily discouraged, I did some research and found a lab looking for product testers. I thought it’d be a fun way to try out retail items before they reached market. Want to know what I learned? It’s not fun to get a rash on my neck from perfume. It’s not fun to have a metal taste in my mouth from an energy drink. It’s definitely not fun to grow thick hair on my knuckles from a lotion. I also learned that men don’t care for women with shaggy hands who have hives growing below their chin.
I decided I would try my hand at one last thing— movie reviewing. I found a listing for payment in exchange for rating movies on a partner company’s website. I wasn’t a cinephile by any means, but getting paid to watch films in my pajamas? Sign me up! It said my package with instructions on how and where to review would arrive in 2 weeks.
I was so excited when I got the first set of DVDs. I ripped it open to find “My Big Lebowski” staring back at me. As I thumbed through titles like “Jesus Christ: Porno Star” and “Sperms of Endearment” it became clear I was expected to review adult movies. How does one do a proper write-up on this subject matter? “I thought the score was beautifully done as was the makeup. I didn’t feel the main character, Darth Invader, was believable. Overall, I give it one out of five squirts.” Heaven help me.
Something I hadn’t considered was that every job has its drawbacks. My job as an office underling was definitely mind-numbing, but it provided a certain stability that these escapades didn’t. I show up each day, answer a few e-mails, and in two weeks they pay me. Don’t get me wrong, there were still days when I’d run my hand up and down my imaginary noose, but at least the hand I’d be doing it with wouldn’t be covered in a thick layer of fur.
Other original works by this author can be found at Sips of Jen and Tonic
About the Author: Jen and Tonic
Jen and Tonic was classically trained in the art of guzzling a beer in less than fifteen seconds. She is single-handedly responsible for creating the David Hasselhoff empire, and destroying Dustin Diamond’s career.
On the weekend she enjoys wearing pants with elastic in the waist, arm wrestling small children, and skinny dipping in her neighbors’ bathtubs when they’re not home. She has struggled for years with being overly badass, and scientists are currently studying her in an effort to figure out how one person can be so awesome. br> View My Profile