Well, I know we all have stories about our careers. Maybe you have a few little ditties and water cooler stories to tell. The following is one of mine. Let me know what you think.. and PLEASE share yours below. I'd love to hear them!
Oh, and PS: This story is TRUE. The names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.
In Middle (St)age it's interesting to look back at people's perception of what I do for a living.
Several years ago, I called a plumber into my home. Let's face it, a home, like a body, gets a clogged pipe now and then. And you gotta make a phone call... or something.
I asked my trusted neighbor, who has lived in my 'hood for decades, if there was a plumber she'd recommend. Without hesitation she said, "Oh, Mr. Walkenmuck. He's a great guy. Won't cheat you. The business has been handed down to him from his father. He's a family man. He has a halo. No pipe has ever been harmed by him..." You get the picture. She liked the guy.
(I should just take a second here to tell you that this is not a story about plumbers. I think they're just fine! And deserve (mostly) EVERY penny you pay them. I mean seriously. Do you want that job? Bless the plumbers!)
So Mr. Walkenmuck comes in and as promised, gives me a fair price on my clog, but has to go get some parts and will return tomorrow. Fine! I can shower at the gym and wee in a bucket one more day. It's the closest I'll ever get to camping. I'll try to enjoy it.
Walkenmuck comes back and we're standing in the basement towards the end of this ordeal. He has workers down there with him and we're chatting. About the area. About high taxes. About the weather. Then, he asks me a fatal question. "What do YOU do for a living?"
I know what's coming. Or a version of what's coming. To a civilian, this label is confusing, misunderstood and invokes a melange of odd responses.
"I'm an Actress," I say. "I work on Broadway"
Walkenmuck's eyes glaze over. He starts stammering. He doesn't know quite what to say. So he says the obvious thing. Well, I guess it's obvious to him.
"You're a dancer?"
"Well, I wouldn't say that." I explain. "I do musical theatre mostly, so I have to dance a little... but mostly I'm an actor and a singer."
And that's the end of that. He has nothing more to say to me. The job is finished. He and his workers pack up. I pay the man what he's due, and they depart.
My pipes are unclogged and all is right with the world and BRRRRnnnggg... (phone ringing) "Why hello Mr. Walkenmuck. Can I help you? Did you forget something?"
He speaks in a low voice, probably because the workers are in the truck with him, and I'm slightly confused until he spits the whole thing out, "Listen, I just wanted you to know that I have a SPECIAL TOOL. If you ever need to use my SPECIAL TOOL, I'll bring it over. Just call me anytime. My SPECIAL TOOL is always ready".
I thank him kindly. Because I'm a child of a different generation and people pleasing is something I can't completely get rid of... then I hang up. And I am VERY confused. Until it hits me.
I said actor. He heard whore.
Welcome to my profession.
Now go watch Middle (St)age. You'll feel better about yourself. You're welcome.
Middle (St)age is written by Stacia Fernandez and Jacob Pinion and can be seen in it's entirety on Stage17.tv. Follow Stacia at @Fernandezstacia -- follow her character Marina Lippon at @MarinaLippon or follow her page MIDDLE STAGE on Facebook. Just don't follow her around the grocery store. It makes her nervous.
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