Wednesday, December 22, 1999

My New Job

"Winter is not a season, it's an occupation."

Sinclair Lewis


     Went to bed last night tired from all the caroling, but it was a good tired in the sense that fatigue is a good, non-chatty companion and exhaustion is a great contraceptive.  If that doesn't quite make sense, it's probably because I'm still tired.  Seems my body has finally found something it's good at and has no intention of letting go.
      It hasn't helped that I woke this morning to find myself enmeshed in a new career - that of Winter peon.  Old Man Winter actually arrived at my home at 2:45 a.m. and made me an indentured servant while I slept on unawares.  (Having tried sleeping awares once as a child and finding it terribly stressful, I've never tried it again.)  Apparently the seasons continue to have the power to draft us into their army of servants in exchange for no pay, no time off, and damn few health benefits.  
     I'd have filed a grievance with the U.S. department of Labor - I really would have - if only Winter hadn't forced me to get busy doing his bidding immediately at calendar-point....

     First order of business: Body temperature regulation.
     That's never been my strong suit.  Although I went to a vocational high school, I majored in Radio & TV Repair - not Basic Body Functions.  Despite this admitted handicap, I've generally been able to fake it three seasons out of four, but Winter - Winter is so demanding.  I've frozen my butt off so many times I finally left it in the snow back in 1995 and was fitted with a twin-cheek prothesis.  It works pretty well, but observant humans and the average dog can tell that I need to press a button implanted in my wrist whenever I need to fart.  If I had it to do over again, I'd pay the extra $5.95 and gotten one with the electronic AFF (auto-flatulation function).  That way I'd never have to worry about accidentally blowing my head off by napping too long.
     Second order of business: Finding enough food and furs to complete the first order of business faster so that the third order of business (hibernation) can be mastered before lunch.  Unfortunately, I'm stuck with a body whose previous job experience in this area is pretty much limited to eating nuts and berries in warm, sunny climes under a pretty lax supervisor by the name of Evolution.  Winter's expecting the likes of me to survive its freezing rages is the equivalent of me forcibly using a toothbrush to paint a house.  I suppose it can be done, given enough time and energy, but I don't think anyone's gonna be too pleased with the results.  The best I could do today in the food and furs department was grab a bag of Fritos and slip into some polyester pants I first wore in 1976 and am sure are bound to come back into style any day now.  If Winter doesn't approve he can kiss my prothesis.       
     Third order of business:  Yes, that's right - hibernation.  I know it's not a job Winter had in mind when he sucked me into his maw but it caught my eye on the Openings bulletin board and I figured what the hay - I've been to college and what's hibernation but an elongation of the longest class you've ever had?  I had real high hopes - all the higher since friends and family have been telling me all my life that sleep is what I do best - but they all came crashing down tonight when I learned that the position had been given to a transient chipmunk.  A chipmunk!  A small, rat-like mammal that I've never, ever seen answer a single question correctly on "Jeopardy!"  
     I was crushed.  So crushed that I probably would have bugged out for a temp job with the southern hemisphere's Summer, Inc. had a well-dressed man not button-holed me by the frost dispenser and offered me the job of being his Personal Toboggan.  I think that's a far north term for Personal Assistant.  Whatever it is, it's got to be better than this dead end, little toe on the snowman position I've got now, especially since he assured me that I'd no longer have to worry about pulling my own weight.  
     If Autumn had only written me a better recommendation, I'm sure I would have gotten the job of Personal Toboggan in the first place, but I refuse to ooooo and ahhhh over silly colored leaves just to get ahead.  
     I may be a poor body temp regulator but I still have my pride.   

 Last                 Home                Next

(©1999 by Dan Birtcher in a vain attempt to restore circulation in his hands)