For example, at the last job I had before moving to Adelaide, my boss was this crazy Czechoslovakian guy. He had the same name as a very famous surrealist painter so I am going to call him Breton. He was absolutely insane. A usual day working with Breton would consist of him storming in, waving his arms around wildly, yelling incoherantly and then running off again. Needless to say, he wasn't the best boss I've ever had. I also got the impression that at work we were getting the LESS crazy side of him. Apparently he had a cannon in his front yard. An actual, working cannon. In his front yard. The police told him many times to remove it, but he did not listen. How did I hear about this? From the boss I had before him, who apparently knew him because Newcastle is like that.
Before the job with Breton, I worked in a small independant fashion retailer. I was only being paid $10 an hour which I knew was well below minimum wage but I didn't care. It was the best job I had ever had. I got the job in a strange way. The shop was around the corner from my house and I wandered in one day and started talking to the owner. This is how the hiring process went:
Boss: You know what, I like your style. You're hired.
Me: But I didn't apply-
Boss: You start Monday.
Me: Sure thing boss.
For a while, I was the sole employee. They had another shop over the road and when I was hired the owner took the chance to spend his time in the other one. I would scoot in every morning on my little razor scooter. They would give me the keys and I would open the shop, "work" and then bring over the takings at the end of the day. I was alone in the shop, free to do my own thing. One of my favourite things to do would be to make mixtapes to play while I was working. I do recall a woman once making a rude comment about the song currently playing and I took way too much offence. I was very proud of my mixtapes. I remember this way too vividly. The song was "Get Me Away From Here I'm Dying" by Belle & Sebastian and an old woman said "Well! I wish he would hurry up and die already!" I didn't kick her out of the shop on the basis that I wanted to make money off her, but when she turned around she got the dirty look of a lifetime, let me tell you that much.
The shop itself was fantastic. I got some of my favourite items of clothing from there, including my metallic silver boots and candy pink trench coat. I seem to remember once selling a pair of barramundi skin boots, which I thought was fairly random. My boss was exactly the kind of person you would expect to sell that kind of item. I seem to remember him once telling me about his Christmas party. Apparently he had honed this recipe for a punch that was extremely alcoholic, but didn't taste it at all. So, at his party he had two bowls set out: one was the obviously alcoholic eggnog, the other the seemingly innocent punch. Apparently, he got way too much of a buzz out of people who weren't planning on drinking supping on the punch thinking it was non-alcoholic and then driving home. He laughed maniacally when he told me this story. I laughed too but my laugh was not so much maniacal as it was awkwardly humouring him so he wouldn't drug my coffee. I'm sure there are a bundle of other stories about how insane he was, but there is already too much material for this entry for me to drag those out of my memory. I do remember that I ran into him a year or so after I stopped working there and was duly informed that he didn't have a facebook, but his goldfish did.*
As for other insane role models, you need look no further than the educators I have had over the years. In high school I had an abundance of crazy teachers, but I would rather save that for it's own entry. Let's talk about uni for a moment. The first lecture I went to was taught by one of the most openly insane people who has ever attempted to teach me anything. He walked to the front of the hall with his eyes much wider than anyone who is not a serial killer is physically capable of. I don't know, they have some kind of gene. He spent the lecture gesturing wildly and stroking his big bushy beard. If I recall correctly my notes from this lecture looked something like this:
- A dog / A not a dog
- What is this man talking about
- What am I supposed to be writing down
- What is even going on
Now, those are only three of my "role models" and of course I had a lot that were completely sane. What I'm saying is, they were in the minority.
*This fish did not accept my friend request. Apparently even goldfish think they are better than me now.