Filing down in the Black Lodge

#Workplace

Mon, Nov 17th, 2003 03:00 by REVSCRJ ARTICLE

This was my very first job. I was like 14 or 15 and yes, it was illegal for me to be working anywhere but a lemonade stand, or a carwash fund raiser. I was working for THE EXTREMELY WEALTHY and well, THEY have always been pro-child-labour as long as it translates into cheap.

"The rich didn't get rich by spending their money!"

Yeah, and Christ didn't better the world by 'keeping it to himself'--but that's beside the point. I got the job with a friend of mine Pete whose mother worked at the place in Carmel Valley, lets call it Dove Lodge. She had been approached by some senior manager in the bookkeeping department who asked her if she "Knew any kids who wanted to make a few bucks..."

We were paid under minimum wage (of course, I mean, after all, we were just kids) and worked in a side basement far from the prying eyes of the general public, local authorities, or good-for-nothing do-gooders who might raise an eyebrow about their unconventional hiring practices.

The work was simple: every day of operations for the past decade or so had produced the following paperwork: an X/Z register tape, credit card receipts and over-ring sheets from the restaurant/bar/and gift shop, each of these were stapled to a daily tally sheet. Typically the wealthy require a cripplingly unhealthy amount of maintenance, food and trinkets to get through a day so you can imagine how bulky a single day's worth of these papers was. They were so massive, in fact, that the lodge had run out of room to store them and new ones were piling up in the polished interiors of their offices above ground. That?s where Pete and I came in. All we had to do was rip off all the X tapes, combine all the Z tapes, ditch everything else and fold the whole thing over and staple it up in a strange accountant's burrito of sorts. Mindless. Repetitious. Gruelling, had I not had a good friend with me. It looked like a no loss situation: I was young and wanted a supplement to my allowance, they were wealthy and craved child labour. In retrospect they were typical rich bastards who should've been smothered at birth.

[Tangent] I got little against the rich who have earned their money from ground up, but its their children that really end up fucking the world. Born into wealth, live in soft ease, needs attended to, the children of the wealthy do not know the value of a dollar and thus do not know the work that one entails; paradoxically they are entrusted to them the power to command workforces. Their ignorance scars the world. I put forth here that anyone who makes more than 70k/year (2001, $ U.S.) should be sterilised and have a 25% tax increase for every pre-existing child that they have. [End tangent]

Anyway, Pete and I would sit in there up to 8 hours per day on the weekends smoking pot on our breaks outside under the cover of a tree or shrub and then, inside, bending paperclips into high damage projectile weapons that we'd fire off with rubber-bands into the mountains of cardboard boxes. We'd play games like trying to see who could stick the most of them into a particular box, or who could hit a particularly distant target (like the company logo on the door)--it was entertaining and time consuming. I got to be a pretty good shot with those little bastards- able to hit a quarter sized trademark on a cardboard box at about 30' 2 out of 3 times. Now, if you make over $700 a month you are likely thinking that we were really screwing these folk by wasting so much time when we were supposed to be working.

Let me remind you: under legal working age and under legal working wage; on top of that we were working totally unsupervised- a fact that didn't seem strange to me then but now I figure that the powers-that-were just didn't want to give a potential bit of ammo to a potentially disgruntled manager in regard to their frugal, if unconventional, hiring practices.

Despite the hordes of time we wasted here eventually we did finish up the lot after about two weeks or so. I used my portions of the spoils to purchase a large sack of cheap Mexican pot and two video games: Montezuma's Revenge and Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Dope and video games... funny how somethings never change... Anyway, I got more hours of enjoyment out of the above than I clocked in real labour at the lodge, so even in my first hired position I realized the vital necessity of the work to pleasure ratio and the need to keep it imbalanced. They used us, we used them--foul but inescapable.

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