Tell Me About One of Your Weirdest Jobs
Plus a few notes from the road—sorry I've been gone so long!
My apologies, it’s been more than a minute since our our last walk. I’ve been on tour promoting my new memoir, Dirtbag, Massachusetts. If you haven’t already ordered yourself a copy, it’d mean the world to me if you considered doing just that (ask for it at your local independent bookstore or library!). You can also order a signed copy of Dirtbag, Massachusetts via the good people at Books Are Magic—just be sure to specify you want a signed copy when you order. If ya still ain't sold, Michael Ian Black said some kind words about the book in the New York Times, and Dirtbag is now a New York Times bestseller. Also, if you’re a Walk It Off subscriber living in the UK, please know that the book became available there yesterday. Pick up a copy at your local bookshop and tell your friends!
As I mentioned back in April, Walk It Off will be moving at a slower pace this year. With that said, I couldn’t have possibly predicted (nor dared to dream) that Dirtbag, Massachusetts was going to take off in the way it has this past month. I am incredibly grateful. But I don’t want you worried that Walk It Off will sit stagnant for the rest of the summer. Or year! I’ve got some great walks coming your way—Stephanie Foo! Jason Diamond!—and promise you’ll be getting those soon. Thank you so much for your patience.
Ok, now that the logistics are out of the way, let’s get to this week’s question.
The last Walk It Off we did was with artist and graphic novelist/memoirist Leslie Stein. It’s a fantastic conversation (if you missed it, I highly recommend checking it out). Leslie talked about the many different jobs she’s had while tirelessly pursuing her art. That—plus Dirtbag, Massachusetts being about a few of the interesting jobs I’ve had over the years—got me wondering, what was one of the weirder jobs you’ve ever had? Let me know in the comments below! I miss y’all’s stories so, so much, so I can’t wait to read ‘em. And, like I said, more Walk It Off will be coming soon. Thank you, always, for your ongoing support. ❤️
Yours in walking, -Isaac
PS: My tour has been extended. Come see me IRL!
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In college back in the 90s, there was a blind philosophy professor. I had a work-study job wherein I read to him: sections from philosophy texts as he prepped for lessons, student papers, etc. The weirdest (coolest!) thing was that he had an encyclopedic memory and would point to a shelf in his office and say something like "I think the Descartes "Discourse" should be the third book from the right with the blue binding and I believe Part 4 on God and the Human Soul is the section I'm looking for." He was never wrong!
About 25 years ago, I found myself working for the first time as something other than a writer, in this case, a car salesman. It was my first week on the job. I had $12 in my checking account, and the manager who knew salespeople were easily replaceable, was rude and condescending to everyone. I thought about telling him, "I am a grown-assed man and you can't talk to me like that," but knew this would get me fired on the spot. Instead, I went to his office. He was on the phone. "Get out," he said as he waved me away. I sat down. He finished his call and glared at me, "What?" To this day, I do not know where the words that came out of my mouth originated. All I knew was that I had to do something to change the terms of our relationship, and it had to be something that would disrupt the terms of our interactions. Out came this, "Henry, has anyone ever told you, you have really pretty lips. And I say this to you not in a homosexual way, more like a prison thing." It was the goofiest most off-the-wall thing I had ever uttered. Henry was silent, and I was pretty sure his next two words were going to be, "You're fired!" And then he smiled, and the smile gave way to a laugh, and we were on a different level. A few months later I got hired on a Steven Bochco show and I was back in the world I knew. But for a while, car sales was my world and it was nothing like I expected.