haven't had a proper job since 1984, I think. And by a proper job I
mean a Monday morning that belongs to someone else, and a Friday afternoon
that involves an envelope or a bank account with money in it.
In 1984, I think, I found work in an accountants office. They
required correct clothing, an ability to distinguish between a letter and
a figure, and capacity to change coffee filters.
The work came to me as a consequence of drunken moments during the
Christmas holiday season. That time of year when the properly
employed sometimes take to bars to forget the nightmare that is the
remainder of their year. He was a junior partner in the firm.
His wife had recently given birth, and when the bar closed he did not want
to go home.
The city of Cardiff, in South Wales, a
part of the United Kingdom, had in those days several places to drink the
night away. I, being a veteran drunkard, a hunter gatherer, knew
many of them, and offered my services as a guide.
There is in my experience no place
lower than an amateur drinker, but this man came within the category of
'hollow leg'. By morning he still had his wallet and he was ready for
bacon and eggs from the works canteen at the bus station.
Something about egg and bacon must have
finally damaged his sense of worth. It was the morning of Christmas
Eve, and through the night he had failed to make contact with home. I had little
sympathy for him, but of those many sights to be seen at the bus station
canteen in the early morning, a blubbing junior partner is not something one
I have since come to believe that a
proper job castrates the soul. It requires an obedience that in
earlier generations men rightly referred to as serfdom. These days it
is the wage or the salary, or health insurance, rather than what it is we
actually do, that sadly binds so many of us to purpose.
When he offered me the job, I assumed I
would be keeping warm in his winter garden. Not at all. He wanted
me correctly attired and in his office. Two months later, when he was
fired I was fired.