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My Robot Is Pregnant theme song!

tough guy poetry and manly stories of loneliness
all contents copyright Jon Rolston 2004, 2005, 2006

February 16, 2011

jeff’s looking for work

can you find the first brick Jeff stole?

The old Jeff Stewart graduated himself from college and is looking for work. Adrift in an ocean of foreclosed homes and stay at home moms out looking for any work they can, the man asked me if he should apply at a coffee shop.

We both agreed it would lead to a total loss of faith in higher education. I personally would not be able to look a teacher in the eye knowing they kept Jeff in a classroom for four years, spending thousands of dollars,and then released him into the world with no idea how to make money. Not even confident enough to be sure he’d get hired to pour coffee.

He is so bored. He looks on Craigslist for work. Which is like going to Ace Hardware for breakfast. If you really look around, like in the break room, you might get lucky. But it’s not the right place for decent honest food. Or work, as the case may be.

The thing to do is to go out and make some work. He was so depressed this morning I brought him along, telling him we’d go look for bricks. Secretly I was thinking we’d land a hauling gig.

I lured him out of his house with the promise of free bricks because he wants to cover an area in his back yard with them, but he’s got no money. He rides his bicycle around and when he spies a loose one, he stops and grabs it.

Lot’s of time, no money. I figured, he can look for bricks, I’ll look for scrap metal. Maybe we can drum something up. Maybe get enough scrap to buy a hamburger or Vietnamese. We park the truck and head out on foot in the Mission.

About a block from my truck we see guys in a warehouse.

“Any scrap metal?” I ask.

“Maybe some in that pile of junk,” one says, hollering up from the basement. Jeff and I were crouched down looking into the shaft of an industrial elevator to the basement where guys were working.

“Want us to get rid of the junk? We’re haulers. We’ll haul it away.”

“How much?”

I looked at it from my crouching position, ten feet above the garbage.

“A hundred bucks.”

“Okay,” the guy says. “The lift is broken though.”

Well I was showing old Jeff how to go out in this world and create wealth. Create a job. Will work to happen. You just gotta talk to people. Let them know you can help.

The two of us climbed down a ladder into the basement and started hauling wood up. Big chunks of press board, particle board, MDF, chip board, every iteration of heavy ass glue and sawdust crap you can imagine. Some of the hardest stuff to get rid of.

Clean wood I can leave at the beach for the bonfire people. Painted solid wood over 6 feet long and plywood I can donate to Builder’s Resources. But no one wants press board. And it’s heavy, which means it costs a lot to dump.

Jeff and I spent about thirty minutes pushing this crap up the open maw of the lift to the street. We climbed up for a break.

“I’m not gonna make any money,” I tell Jeff.

“You were crazy to say $100. This pile is huge.”

Jeff was right. A huge pile was on the sidewalk. And it was all heavy. No balsa. No pine. No redwood.

“Let’s just walk away,” I say to Jeff.

Normally Jeff is the one who quits early. Take words with friends, the iPhone app sensation. It’s basically Scrabble. If you get more than 30 points ahead of Jeff, he’ll resign the game. This is indicative of his world philosophy. It’s beginning to rub off on me.

The two of us just stood looking at the junk sprawled across the sidewalk. Still needed to be loaded on the truck. Still more to haul up from below.

“They don’t know our names. Haven’t even seen the truck,” Jeff says.

“Grab the little bit of metal we found,” I say to Jeff, as I pick up some short length of old gas line with a brass shutoff valve attached and walked back to the truck.

“Let’s stick to bricks today,” he told me. Some days you should.


  1. Ever thought of compiling all your stories about how to find work and not make any money with it into a little book? Publish it and sell it at coffee shops. Make some money with it. Or not…

    Comment by dastard — February 16, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

  2. Just up from dead center….. You could make it a little harder….

    Comment by Al — February 16, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

  3. It’s time for a tv show…

    Comment by Rolston — February 16, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

  4. Did someone say TV show????

    Comment by Lyle_S — February 17, 2011 @ 1:36 am

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