Outstanding Job, April!


1986 … had to be the worst year for everything. Clothes, Music, Relationships.

For me, I worked more jobs than I knew what to do with.

I was barely 19 and living in an apartment in Costa Mesa, California. I had zero concept of money or how to remotely live on my own. I remember the guy next door, Dave, worked at the bank and had to teach me how to write a check. Yet, he neglected to inform me it was not like a line of credit. ( Now credit I knew about from watching my mother spend like there was no end in sight). I really thought every time I wrote a check, the bank would just make sure there was money in there, so I was living the high life for a while until I realized how badly I had screwed things up and thought to myself:  ” Holy Shit, I need more jobs!”

At the time, I worked at a pizza place; Bogey’s Pizza. I think as I look back that was one of the funnest jobs I ever had. I was the sole employee, except for the owner and his wife. They were from China and had immigrated here and spoke very little English, but enough that I got a check every week and free lunch every day.  But it wasn’t cutting it to make Home Savings and Loan happy again as my account was “outstanding”.

When Dave informed me that  I shouldn’t be celebrating over my “outstanding” bank reputation, I panicked and looked for a second job. So I walked next door from Bogey’s and got a job at Clothestime too.

In 1986 there were three popular token items every idiot chick was wearing. (including me)  Brightly colored thick-knit, over-sized, chunky-button synthetic cotton cardigans, floral leggings and heels with ruffled socks; and my hiring manager, Colleen, wore them all– altogether… all the time.

Colleen was a handsome gal with thick blonde curly hair, lots of freckles, and a tad on the squat side. Colleen thought she was the band Heart’s, Nancy Wilson incarnate and found the opportunity to do Nancy’s infamous “kick” any time she saw fit. Which was pretty much all the time. Colleen would accidentally “kick” customers ( oops!) ,  “kick” over displays and even broke her toe one time when she “kicked” a mannequin in the tit. We would usually have some warning a kick was coming when she would be humming the song “Crazy On You” or “Never”; we knew then an there to back the fuck up!

As much as I was entertained watching Colleen kick her way through the workday, listening to B-52’s  “She Brakes for Rainbows” on repeat, and hanging up badly fashioned clothing; I still needed more hours I was not getting,  I was tired, broke and my cat missed me.

Arriving home one evening after being hired for concurrent job number three, Patrini Shoe Store… I realized how badly I neglected my apartment and went on a cleaning spree and as broke as I was had minimal budget for cleaning supplies.

There was no 99 Cent store in 1986, we had Pic-N-Sav and I was not going to drive 20 miles to opt for cheap supplies.

At 19 of course I knew everything, so decided to polish my furniture with: Vegetable Oil. (Ok, Shaddup… I was 19 and it seemed to work great- oil was oil right?)So I took out my bottle of Wesson and I worked it into the wood. Everything came up SO shiny and dust free!  I figured it was natural  and it worked….so, done AND done. Until…….

I came home from one very long, very special day at the shoe store, where none other than Jan Crouch came sauntering in to shop. Now, If you lived in Southern California in the 70-80’s then you know exactly who Jan and Paul Crouch are. Especially if you loved your late nights and trashy TV.  Jan Crouch was an over-the-top,  Evangelical TV personality who everyone loved to hate. Her gaudy make up and pink hair, always weepy-eyed, and always wearing  some sort of awful baby-doll style clothing which made her just shockingly noticeable everywhere she went ; and if you didn’t notice her, she would hang around until you did.

Day One, Job three: In walks Jan Crouch. Swaddled a pink and white tulle, wrap-around style pinafore dress, pinkish blonde Bouffant hair-do and sunglasses so big she put Joan Boyce to shame. ( and I LOVE Joan Boyce! Who doesn’t!) So Jan stayed in that shoe store from noon, until closing and bought over 30 plus pairs of shoes; from me! On my first day!

I was so excited, I knew my commission check would cover whatever I screwed up from the bank.  I hurried home that evening as friends were popping in to share the excitement of my celebrated day with crazy Jan Crouch and her holy minion of shoes she acquired. When I arrived at home, I walked in to find to find my cat licking every piece of furniture I had in the house, in a complete frenzy. As much as I tried to pull her away, there was no stopping her. The vegetable oil idea had terribly backfired, as I frantically tried to wipe down the rest of the greasy furniture.

Friends arrived just in time, with their Bartles and James wine coolers and clove cigarettes to witness me, complete disheveled attempting to tame my furniture-licking cat, the only thing that distracted me was the phone.

The manager of the shoe store was calling to tell me I was earning Employee of the Month, on my first day because of my huge sale. Finally!– I would be out of debt and would learn my lesson about what writing checks was really all about.This was way before ATM cards, or any sort of Versa-Tel so it’s all I had to rely on.

Unfortunately, It didn’t really work out for me in the end. Jan’s  reputation was just as “outstanding” as mine. Her check bounced. Which made my commission check bounce; which made the vet’s check bounce from the chronic diarrhea the cat had from its ottoman-licking escapade.

In the end I quit the pizza job… and Clothestime (they ended up closing making way for Wet Seal ) Sadly,Colleen had to to find alternative places to kick. Patrini shoe store closed when the manager was caught stealing and doing Crystal Meth ( ah, the 80’s) and Jan Crouch is probably still crying on TV. ( most likely from a jail cell, for defrauding people out of their hard earned money in the name of the Lord) and It took me a year to cover those fees at Home Savings and Loan. You know, when I finally went in to settle up with them; They had closed their doors. Go figure,

So, I went and bought shoes instead…and they were OUTSTANDING!


Blog Post Music Pairing: “She Brakes for Rainbows” – B’52’s  and   “Crazy On You”– Heart