Job Rock In Prose 

By Anthony Buccino

“Sorry, ma’am, your gravistan is jammed in the forkistran. What we need to fix it is a monolithic jack fork lift to separate and recoil the semi-conductor rectifier...”

In 1970, my 11th grade English class was divided into groups to do a group book report. One group got I Never Promised You A Rose Garden. The group I was in got The Strawberry Statement Notes of a College Revolutionary by James Simon Kunen.

Of the five students in my group, I was the only one who read the book through in three days and started reading it again. No one else in my group even liked the book and were struggling with themselves to read it at least once.

I loved that book. I began writing after reading that book, and most of my early writings were in that off-beat unrelated style.

It was fun being a writer. I'd tell anyone who asked, "Yeah, I'm writing a book."

They'd always ask, "About what?"

I'd usually mumble, "You'll have to see when it comes out," trailing off, then avoiding that person for a week or more.

Someone once asked Bob Dylan what he wanted to be. He answered, "a movie usher." That's great. It says a lot of people have other things in mind to be doing other than what they are doing. Here are some of mine:

I've been a shoe salesman, and let me tell you, it was no fun. It used to take me fifty minutes in the back room each time I had to find a pair of ladies' pumps. I lost the job when the boss didn't like the way I'd re-filed the shoes. I though it would be easier if two left shoes of different sizes were in every box. That way, I figured, the lady would have an option to match her foot size.

Before the oil embargo I wanted to be a gas station attendant, washing windows, checking oil, pumping gas, etc. The highlight of that career would have been explaining mechanical malfunctions. I'd do it this way: "Sorry, ma'm, your gravistan is jammed in the forkistran. What we need to fix it is a monolithic jack fork lift to separate and recoil the semi-conductor rectifier. It'll take two weeks and cost about eighty-five thousand dollars."

Another of my occupational fantasies is to be an over-the-road truck driver. I'd wheel my big rig over the interstate highways talking in code over the CB radio about "smokies" down the road. The best job I could get in this line of work would be as a 'roadie' for a pop star hauling equipment from New York to Detroit in three hours.

Sister Dressed Me Funny by Anthony BuccinoRelated to the 'roadie' image, another over-the-road job would be as a security guard in a private, marked patrol car. I'd have a siren and impressive strobe lights on top of the car.

An occupation that would satisfy my thirst for law enforcement is the walking, chalking, work-a-day life of a meter maid. Of course, I couldn't be a meter maid. I don't look so good in skirts -- I learned that when my sister dressed me funny. But I'd still like to be a ticket writer-outer on the avenue.

It boils down to only one other line of work for which I'd settle. It would unite me with "man's best friend." I'd like to be the dog walker for Lenore's Canine Clippery in Belleville. All I'd need to work there is a borrowed leash, a shovel, and a broom.

Back in high school, I had a friend who wanted to be a garbage man because "they only work two days a week." Let me close this report by saying, "It isn't all that meets the eye."

Adapted from Sister Dressed Me Funny by Anthony Buccino

©1976-2017 by Anthony Buccino, All Rights Reserved

First published Jan. 15, 1976, in The Independent Press of Bloomfield

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New Jersey author Anthony Buccino's stories of the 1960s, transit coverage and other writings earned four Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism awards.

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