Sean Beckwith: Sometimes you gotta play with pain
Every now and then I get an urge to implode. This feeling primarily happens when I see people having fun while I’m commuting to and from work. I’ll walk by Jimmy’s Bodega and the Grey Lady and feel compelled to forget about the status of my bank account or work schedule and just sit down and order cold seafood and a colder beer. Or I’ll be on the bus watching people on Park Circle load their cars with tubing gear, wishing I could pull the stop cord, run up to my house, put on a suit and grab a beach towel. Or I’ll run into some friends on my way to the bus stop who are on their way to a bar and have to decline their invitations with some sort of excuse about working early when I really want to punt on sleep, reset my alarm to the latest possible wake-up time and carouse with the fellas.
Since I’ve lived in Aspen, I’ve only bailed on work twice. The first time was the second time I got food poisoning from the Woody Creek Tavern. (For the record I’ve got food poisoning there three times, every incident stemming from a Rodeo Burger, which is a Burger King creation consisting of barbecue sauce and onion rings on a burger. Also for the record, I’ve been sick from Rodeo Burgers on four different occasions, so it could just be the Rodeo Burgers. Ironically, the Burger King versions never made me sick.)
The second time I bailed on work I was sent home because apparently repeatedly coughing at a front desk isn’t very hospitable.
But that doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about staying in bed and forgoing the zombie-like trek to work. Nothing earns respect from coworkers quicker than silently laboring through bad days. No one likes that person who shows up in a foul mood and doesn’t just stay mad but feeds off that rage like that sci-fi monster that feeds off bombs.
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“Colonel, we’ve hit it with everything we’ve got and it keeps growing.”
“Oh, my god.”
(Cut to Johnny at the wait station violently shaking the touch screen while incoherently screaming about sides of ranch.)
If something outside of your control is legitimately ruining your day — death in the family, walking pneumonia, sleazy cab driver suing you — then I can understand wanting to be anywhere but work. However, if you’re hung over, on the tail end of your third straight double or just got dumped by Jenny (a respectable girl would be one thing, but your sisters, several friends and myself warned you about Jenny. So if you’re angry about her making out with that Australian guy at Escobar, that’s on you) then shut up and do your job. Those are self-inflicted ailments. I’ve fallen victim to acting like an ass while on the job due to those very things — except Jenny, I know better than that — and people notice.
Working doubles sucks but the best way to approach them is with as little emotion as possible. Neither of my jobs are physically demanding and I still get drained after a couple of doubles. I can’t imagine bartending for 14 to 16 hours with minimal breaks; washing dishes and cutting veggies in two different hot, cramped kitchens; shoving stuff on grocery shelves prior to throwing boxes on a loading dock all day; or even taking orders from temperamental tourists during breakfast and dinner.
Incidentally I’m in the middle of reading “The Iron Heel” by Jack London, a book that I thought was going to be a government conspiracy thriller but is more a referendum on corporations and their capitalism-crazed overlords. (Side note: Me dropping a reference to my summer reading is like that friend who boasts about the lone week they went to the gym out of the past four months.)
I’m not a socialist but Ernest Everhard’s proclamation that money doesn’t equate intellect and his promise to leave the upper class “no quarter” because they worked his father to death really resonate this time of year. Like my dream of pulling a no-call/no-show to eat oysters in the sun, there will be no revolution; no “Purge”-like anarchy; no depantsing of lauded, unquestioned “genius” minds. There will only be that fleeting feeling of “f— it” before actually saying those word and punching the clock.
Sean Beckwith is a copy editor at The Aspen Times. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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