What Do You Do?

I was talking to this woman who asked what I do. I truly hate that question because if I tell them what I do daily I get stuck with them telling me horror stories about something that happened to them, someone they knew, or someone someone they knew read about. I don’t have that kind of time.

And I always feel bad telling them I’m a writer. Yes, people do give me money for it so, technically, it is my work but, to me, it sounds pretentious.

‘Yes, my brain is so filled with wonder I must subject you all to it!’

And if I say comedy writer that’s even another level of weird. They always ask what kind.

“Hopefully the funny kind.” Is my standard response. But when pushed, and I always am, I start listing things. My words have stuck to every audio and visual medium, many paper forms, various verbal arts, and many of our finer walls and sidewalks.

It’s always funny when someone tells my girlfriend how lucky she is to have a personal funny man on call. She rolls her eyes and grunts while I explain she’s not a fan. As a matter of fact, for as much hate mail as I get, I’d have to say she’s my #1 Anti-Fan.

I always love the expression of confusion that covers their faces. I smooth it over by telling them I don’t mind.

“It’s one less copy of my books I have to give away.”

Then I do a few minutes of jokes to show them that, the closest person to me notwithstanding, many people do find me humorous.

But, because I am who I am, I often answer the question with some randomly created position. I think of it as a mild and cleaner (most of the time) form of Tourette’s. A random stranger will ask what I do, my mind tumbles and stumbles and out comes,

“I’m a urinal cake inspector!”

“I sculpt ice cube trays out of ice.”

“I’m a lifeguard in a gene pool.”

I once told someone I was inspector 14.

When this lady asked me this very simple question, one you’ve been asked many times and handled each time deftly, I don’t know what came over me. Oh, yeah, that’s a lie. I know exactly what came over me and so do you. I’m an asshole.

But how this came out of my head, as usual, I had no damn idea. That, my friend, is true. I often wonder who’s more surprised at what pops outta my mouth. I think they’re more shocked whereas I’m used to it. But it’s always interesting for me.

“I’m a director of casket marketing.”


Don’t worry, you don’t have to be concerned about me. I’ll handle that chore for all of us.

I could tell the woman had no clue as to how to respond. Again, I’m pretty used to that so I just engage mouth and carry on.

“I’m the one who got all major league sports, including the Asham World Curling Tour and the Brazilian Football Confederation, to use their logos on our caskets. That was a  big one.”

Sometimes a nugget of information from the day will creep into these psychotic episodes. This time it was Brazilian soccer. Earlier in the day someone was going on and on about it. Before that, I was clueless it even existed. But, you use the information that’s frying in your brain pan.

It’s around this time I know the person is pretty much done talking to me. And, although I’m happy about that, it’s here my little head jiggles out one last tidbit.

“I’m exceptionally proud of my latest idea. We call it the caskitty.”

You know, on second thought, maybe you should worry about me some.

“What we do is take a picture of your treasured cat and create it’s likeness around the casket. We can put the head at either end and the cat can be standing or curled up sleeping. Our R&D people are having a little trouble stabilizing the legs, but I’m sure we’ll be ready to roll them out by the second quarter of next year.”

In the end, this only proves a couple of things,

1) If I only used my mind in the production of good I’m sure the world would be a much better place.

2) I sure do have a way with people.

Whenever I speak, they go away.


9 responses to “What Do You Do?

  1. Wow, and I thought I was doing well as the head DVD rewinder at Blockbuster.

  2. Ya sets your goals and go for them.

  3. What do I do? If I told you then I would have to kill you.

  4. It is a fun game to play with them. I go with the unemployed circus clown many times.

  5. well, if it was a very pretty woman asking me that question, I think I’d answer with, “Hopefully YOU by the end of the evening…”

  6. “the caskitty”
    are you sure that’s not real?

  7. I think Stewie is your doppleganger twin…

  8. Delightful post. Love the way it proves its own point. About you being a comedy writer that is.

    Personal LOL faves: Inspector #14 and ice cube tray carver. Brilliant jobs!

    But, implied in this query is a rather unfairly personal embedded question: To what serious and/or fruitful endeavor have you devoted your life?

    Wouldn’t if be great to develop a new way to open conversations without asking people what they DO? It’s possibly a rude question, especially if the person happens to be an unemployed bum or otherwise useless piece of rubbish (or even worse is an ACCOUNTANT)!

    Maybe we need some new lines of inquiry like what’s your favorite medieval weapon? Or who would win this gloves-off match-up: Michael Jackson versus Boy George? Or how long has it been since you last puked your guts out? Boxers or briefs? Morning or evening? Vague or definite?

    No offense to any accountants out there …

  9. Good new opening salvos, David. I once asked someone what they wanted to be when they grew up. There’s another bit here where I told someone I made sex dolls for devotees of bestiality.

    I’m not good at small talk. If there is no purpose I’d rather keep my mouth shut and let them think me rude or stupid.

    I’m a good small listener though. I can sit there for hours and nod at people. I proved it over the holidays. I escaped as soon as I could to an empty room and sat there. Sometime later a guy came in and started talking (it was going to happen but at least it wasn’t in a room with seven people – I counted the voices – talking at the same time).

    When we were leaving my girlfriend asked what he was talking about, I seemed so interested, and I told her I had no clue. I did at the time in case I had to respond but, truly, it was gone as soon as it hit the ear.

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