I’ve started watching The Fugitive again. I have the complete series box set and ripped through the first three seasons in short order. But the fourth and final season — which is in color — is so preposterous I lost interest for a long time. Like maybe two years. But the DVDs have been hanging around the living room all that time, and Toney is starting to complain. So, I’ve decided to push through to the end and put the box set away for good.
The first three seasons are great. They’re atmospheric and melancholy, and make you feel some of the loneliness and despair of being an innocent man on the run, knowing that if you’re caught you’re going straight to the “death house” as they call it in the opening sequence.
But by the final year, it’s become full-on stupid. For a guy who is trying to lay low, he certainly gets himself into a large number of predicaments. In every episode, he’s working a different job in a different city, and using a different name. He’s a butler, or a field hand, or a pit boss at a casino, or a veterinarian’s assistant. But no matter what he’s doing, or where he happens to be, he finds himself in some sort of outrageous circumstance without delay. He gets caught up in any number of kidnapping situations, for instance, and is often being held at gunpoint by some smart-mouthed young tough who uses phrases like, “You ain’t going nowhere, daddy,” and that sort of thing.
Thankfully I’ve never been on the run from federal agents, but I’m fairly certain I could fade into the background better than Richard Kimble. I’ve had lots of jobs in my life, in five different states, and have never once been implicated in the death of a Mexican union organizer. Or been forced to go to bat for a wrongfully accused semi-retarded carnival roustabout. Or been hassled and beaten at a rodeo for refusing to wear “Western clothes.” I generally just go to work and come home when I’m done. Sometimes if I’m hungry I go through the Arby’s drive-thru, but that’s about as exciting as it gets. Not once have I found myself seeking refuge in the embassy of an obscure African nation, or felt a moral obligation to protect a young violin prodigy from his powerful and overbearing father. Maybe I’m the weird one?
Yes, it’s ridiculous, but I’m pushing through to the end. I want to see the final episode, which was one of the most-watched TV shows in history. I assume Kimble is captured, returned to death row, thoroughly sodomized, and eventually fried-up like a goddamn box of Sizzlean? That’s how I see it going, anyway.
By the way, the movie version of The Fugitive, with Harrison Ford, is one of my all-time favorites. It’s almost a perfect movie, in my estimation. I just wanted that on the record for some reason. I love that thing, every time I watch it.
Writing all that broke loose a memory of a book idea I had years ago. It was going to be a retrospective guide of a 1970s sitcom that never actually existed. For some reason, the show was called Billy White Eggs. Or maybe The Adventures of Billy White Eggs. I sincerely can’t remember why. But the book was to feature a synopsis of every episode, perhaps 150 in all. Every one of them, of course, would be absurd and wholly manufactured by me. And there would be a lot of fake trivia and history about the stars: where are they now? etc. Also photos. I was fired up! I sent a query letter to multiple agents and actually got a little interest. This was long before the website, by the way, when I was in California. One agent, in particular, was intrigued and invited me to submit a full-fledged book proposal. She asked me to sign an agreement of some sort and told me to get to it. And… I never wrote one word of the thing. The end. Great story, huh? Oh, there are more where that came from.
Thinking about The Fugitive, and all the jobs he worked during the run of that show, I wonder how he’d answer the question: What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? I mean, he was repeatedly shot and stabbed and beat to shit at work. I’ve got nothing to compare, thankfully. But I’ll answer the question.
The worst job I ever had was overnight stocking at a Food Lion grocery store in Greensboro, NC. The bosses were, without exception, assholes. And my co-workers were imbeciles who were also boring. Oh, I’d encountered many imbeciles by that point, especially at the Dunbar Exxon. But they were entertaining, which made it a little more palatable. The guys at Food Lion were both stupid and dull.
Plus, it was hard physical labor with a fair amount of pressure. The managers walked around yelling at us, and it just sucked all the time. They blasted some horrific Top 40 radio station in there, and they played maybe 15 songs in a continuous loop. No way they were playing 40. And it was shit like “We Built This City” by Starship, and “Broken Wings” by Mr. Mister. There were many nights in that place when I thought I might a) take a swing at someone or b) break down in tears. Or both.
I was responsible for the so-called Cleaning Aisle. I had to buy, stock, and maintain every item in it. And the buying was the tricky part. The worst was the bleach. It came in giant boxes of six, and you could only fit maybe 18 of the big bottles on the shelf. And those 18 would disappear quickly. However, there was a Sgt. Carter asshole bastard who managed the backroom, and he’d be all up your ass if you brought in too much overstock. He had the floor taped off for each stocker, and you couldn’t have anything outside your allotted space. Those boxes of bleach were huge, so you can see my problem. If we completely ran out of bleach, the store manager would scream at me. And if I had a lot of overstock Sgt. Carter would lose his mind. It SUCKED. I was there for months and never cracked the bleach code. I was a little afraid of Sarge because he looked like he was capable of killing me with his hands, so I always leaned more toward running out. So, the store manager viewed me as an absolute incompetent. It was paradise, I tell ya.
Oh, and I forgot… We worked until we were done. So, no set quitting time. I was exhausted 24 hours a day, and my ego was being blasted without let-up. Oh, God. It was a terrible job. I finally quit and went to Peaches Records, for much less money. And that turned out to be one of the BEST jobs I ever had. Pass the beer nuts.
I’ll leave you with the same Question: What’s the worst job you ever had, and why? Please tell us about it in the comments. Hopefully, none of them resulted in you being held in a roadside diner by members of a motorcycle gang, or anything like that. I believe that happened to Richard Kimble multiple times.
I need to call it a day, my friends.
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I’ll see you guys again on Thursday.
Have a great day.
Now playing in the bunker
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Is that the place where the guy lived in his van? I forget the story. Something about him coming in trashed.
No, that was at Fas-Chek in Dunbar. Brogan was his name. He’s probably a multimillionaire now.
Jizzmopper at Sal’s Stretchmarks and Bullet Wounds Showclub.
I stacked sacks of charcoal onto pallets for a summer. I will probably die of black lung as a result. I was 16, played rugby, and thought I was getting paid to work out. If I tried that today I’d be dead by the second pallet.
Joe T. says
Radio sales. Ugh.
In the Navy, late 1960s …new guy on a submarine. ‘Pukes’ were automatically ‘volunteered’ for every demented job. In port, the #1 sanitary tank required routine interior washing to clear it of debris/solids…this is the tank that collects poop and urine from the crews heads. Body harness, radcon suit with boots, air hose gasmask …lowered through a manhole cover carrying a 40psi seawater hose. There are no words to describe the sensation of vomiting into a gasmask. Peel it off, dump it, take a deep breath of miasma, put it back on…repeat. Shitty job, no pun intended.
Having a passive-aggressive boss is worse than than diving the shit tank though. They tell you that doing a great job to your face and then shit on you at your annual review, usually just before Christmas. It got worse as I got older. I am glad those days are behind me.
I read an AMA on Reddit awhile back about a guy who works in the sewer. He talked a lot about all the stuff he finds.
I think we have a winner
Cleaning pig stalls on my uncles farm. Done in the late fall so the temperature wasn’t too high (yeah right, barn full of pigs is hot year round even if its minus 20 outside), and also so that the water would not freeze. Water went into a giant tanker filled from the creek, and then an industrial water pump to hose the stalls down and manual labour to help the shit get to the drains. The smell permeates you skin. You will always recognize a pig farmer who’s been cleaning the pig stalls as you will detect that acridic shit smell long before they come into sight. No amount of soap and showers or baths gets the smell out.
I think selling cars was the worst. I had a manager who was one of the most notorious assholes in an industry of them.
I was miserable and angry and too dumb to know why.
Best job is one I’m still doing part time. I have a ton of independence and responsibility and I’ve built a solid reputation. I’m greeted with smiles and hugs by peers and colleagues alike. I love just about everything about that job.
Now I’m curious. What is the good job of which you speak?
I’m a Rapid Response nurse in an urban trauma hospital. Basically when a nurse or a doctor is concerned about a patient getting worse, I show up and either fix them or get them to ICU. I get to practice at the very limits of my scope and have a lot of input in the overall plan of care. It’s super cool and a lot of fun. And because I enjoy it so much the staff is happy to have me around.
I left for a couple of months ago when management made staff cuts. They brought me back when that plan blew up in their faces and I was greeted with hugs and smiles. On doc texted my pic out to her team to let them know I was back and one of the attendings told me “I feel safer with you in the building”.
Knowing I’ve earned people’s trust and respect like that is a pretty heady feeling
I love it when a doctor recognizes a nurse for how good they are. I’m doing psych now and I don’t feel like a real nurse many days. You have my utmost respect!
Mine too! The nurses are the backbone of the whole organization.
From reading your posts over time here on WVSR, I figured your were in the medical field in some capacity. I, too, have much respect for nurses and they are the ones I turn to for doctor recommendations and many other medical questions/issues. I have reached the point that I would far rather see the Nurse Practitioner than my Internal Medicine doc. She listens and asks questions; I always feel confident in her advice and diagnosis. Jorge, I am glad you get the respect and admiration you deserve. Stay away from used car lots or you may just lose some of that respect. I doubt I’d buy a used car from someone dressed in scrubs.
The “House of Foam” just outside of Columbus, Ohio – Fall of my Junior year at college.
This place cut up huge blocks of foam to stuff into cushions for an Army contract (Jeep seat cushions) or furniture. They had us using huge bandsaws to cut the foam to exact size. We worked after-hours and one of us (me and two buddies from OSU) could have lopped an arm off with no help in sight.
There was also a foam-shredder for taking leftover pieces and turning them into filler. Tiny bits of foam got everywhere: your hair, inside your clothes, in your eyes, ears & nose. I’ll probably die of some form of sillicosis someday thanks to that shit (assuming all my other sins don’t catch up to me first).
Pay was shit (even for a low-budget, barrel-bottom-scraping college student) and the work was as needed and so not a consistent paycheck.
Other than that: caddying for Milt Applebaum at Crest Hills Country Club in Amberly Village (Cincinnati) in 1974.
Commission-based corporate job placement consultant (head-hunter) during the economic down-turn of the early ’90s. Pre-internet, all cold-calls, all day. Thermal, roll-paper fax was super hi-tech, so no one was allowed to use it.
I didn’t realize it until I was “invited not to come back next week” on a Friday afternoon, but there was 90% turnover in the 10 person office in the six weeks I was there. The one that was still there was promoted to office manager the week before my “resignation was requested.”
In those six weeks I made one placement and cleared just enough to cover my expenses. That happened the morning they decided I should “take my skill set in a different direction.”
Granted it was a good idea on their part, but did they have to wait until I’d finally achieved a modicum of success? Maybe it was standard operating procedure for that place.
In a fit of boredom I tried to track it down a few years ago. It apparently disappeared shortly before the internet became a thing because there’s no trace of it or the parent company (this place was quite the boiler room) any where to be found.
Good riddance to the lot of them, I say.
Worked for an asshole lawyer who berated me every day to show the females in the office his power. He gave me the task of organizing all his files which he had just crammed into boxes for years. I dont play well with previous peeps incompetence. Having to do my job, and in my “spare” time, fixing his inept filing was too much. This guy was such an asshole that when his wife had a mastectomy, he left her and began dating a client.
I knew the end was near, so I took boxes and boxes of files and put them in my trunk for ten consecutive days, and each day, threw them into the local landfill. He was out of business in three months after I got fired because he didn’t like me (that was the reason). I will not be fucked with without carefully planned repercussions.
You worked for Newt Gingrich??!!
That would explain the angry part. Actually, it also explains the white part.
I worked for a few months for an “engineering” company. The owner was a rules-based tyrant. The office opens at 8:30, so that’s when we unlock the door; if you’re not outside waiting, we dock your pay 15 minutes. And he proudly claimed it was a “Christian-based company.” When he started missing payroll, I jumped even though I had nothing lined up.
Billy White Eggs sounds like a farmboy mafioso.
Bill in WV says
Working as a carpenter’s helper in a summer job right out of high school. Helped him finish an indoor remodel job the first week, as he constantly berated me for not having expert skills from the beginning (which he damned-well knew up front). He was a little short fucker too and I was about 7 inches and 100 lbs bigger than he was. Second project was, yep you guessed it, a ROOFING job, during July. He had me doing all the shit stuff required, carrying ALL of the bundles of shingles up the ladder to the roof, all while standing at the foot of the ladder, drinking a BEER and giving me shit for not working faster. Day two, I told him that I probably wasn’t his guy. It was 207 degrees that day and it didn’t end well. We were 40 miles from home and he threatened to leave me there. I basically told Tatoo, I was going to kick his half-a-mutherfucker ass and take his truck home. He drove me home.
Damn, the Billy White Eggs book sounds like a lot of fun, for the writer as well as the reader. If you don’t have the time, maybe give Bill Oates a call.
Your stories make me feel like a damn whiner compared to my worst job. I must have just been damn lucky. My worst job was at the first McDonald’s in Vienna Austria and as an American ex-pat, I spent all my money there the first 3 days it was open (I was a teenager just out of high school). I asked if I could work there and they said sure, sign this contract. Of COURSE I DIDN’T READ IT. After exactly 13 days and about 110 hours of work (they were short-staffed), I got my first paycheck expecting it to be a whopper what with about 30 or 40 hours of overtime (Austrian law don’t you know). It was shitload short with no overtime pay. I showed the manager figuring it was a clerical error and in a snooty voice, she said, there is no overtime (please say this with a snooty German accent – zer iss no ofertiime). She then (still nose upraised) said, u shuld reed the Kontract dummkopf!). Well, I did and found out that to quit, I’d have to give 14 days notice – however, that was only required after working 14 days. I told her I quit and she said, you can’t quit unless you give 14 days notice. So then I said with a lot of bitchiness, ‘reed the Kontract dumbkopf !- I’ff only vorked heer seerteen dayss.
I also hated the job – unlike here at McDonald’s, if you had nothing to do, no matter the position, you were always supposed to be cleaning and polishing and shit. Also had to mix the Big Mac sauce and fill those squirters – couldn’t eat a Big Mac for years.
Okay, don’t all give me shit. I’ve had great jobs – I worked in a strip club (in 3 actually) doing the lights and picking up the sweaty clothes off the stage. Oh baby! What a gig!
For your consideration, I’d like to mention two jobs:
1. Age 16, frying hamburgers and everything else at Hardee’s (Carl’s Jr. for you non Missourians) Manager was a tiny, sawed-off tyrant named Kurt who I was almost certain would die of an exploded blood vessel at any moment. I remember telling coworkers that I was going to become a lawyer just to sue him for his abusive and highly illegal practices. And as only a side-note, one of the assistant managers was a 6’6″ flaming gay man who constantly promised he was going to “coat me in fry oil” and have his way with me. I was there about 3-months before jumping ship to Pizza Hut and that was one of the most fun jobs I ever had. It really was.
2. The spring/summer of my senior year, my dad convinced me to take a job with this guy who made those shitty manufactured “marble” countertops that were so popular in the 80s and 90s. He had done some plumbing work for the guy, who was looking for a delivery driver, and thought it might be a good deal for me. While I was ecstatic that someone was actually paying me to drive for money (car fanatic here), that elation was replaced by straight fear when the degenerate responsible for polishing the “marble” cornered me in the office with a box cutter. This guy was a full-fledged drug abuser – not sure which kinds – and I had gotten a call in the office from my senior picture photographer. I hang up the phone and this paranoid schizophrenic asks who I’m talking to. I explain that it’s just the guy taking my senior pictures and he aims the box cutter at my nose and tells me, “If you were just talking to the police, I’m going to cut you into little pieces and feed you to the catfish. My brother is the prosecuting attorney and I will get away with it.”
This occurred in Troy, Missouri between 1991 and 1993.
Troy Missouri … fellow reader here in St. Charles! Small world!
Not my worst job, but by far the most entertaining. In 1985 after high school I took a pt evening job at a local pizza shop that had just opened. It shared the name of a popular pizza place in a college town north of us, so didn’t think much about it. Found out later that the only things the two had in common were the name and coupons. And the “owner” had stolen those! The pizza shop was in the same building, connected by a door, as the area’s most notorious biker’s bar, which in turn, was next to a strip “club”. In those 6 months working there: 1) I learned to be an expert in hiding guns for patrons of bar. 2) Was repeatedly asked to do porn. 3) If I wanted, had an endless supply of all kinds of drugs. 4) My car, and apartment were broken in to. 5) Saw 6 people carted out by ambulance. Different times. 2 DOA. 6) Etc…My 18 year old dumb-assed self had no clue what to think, so I just kept making those pizzas. Two years later, long after I had escaped, I was watching America’s Most Wanted. Yep! There was the owner…That explained sooooo many things.
P.S. I didn’t do porn, but smoked A LOT of weed.
Worked for a whopping 5 days for a goddamn certifiable psycho. He owned some kind of lighting business and was, without a doubt, the creepiest sonovabitch I ever encountered. The day I quit I had my husband and a cop friend out in the parking lot in case he went off on me. The first hour there I took about 4 calls from bill collectors and thought “Holy shit, I’m not going to get paid.” If I was on hold with someone, the creep would stand over me asking me why wasn’t i doing something else instead of just sitting there on hold. He tried paying me for only 4 days and I almost stuck a pen in his eye.
He was out of business within 6 weeks after I left. I hope he’s somewhere, in pain and misery, coughing up blood and pus.
Root 66 says
WOW! My worst job pales in comparison to these great stories! I worked in a meat processing plant and warehouse for two years. I honestly thought I was going to freeze to death. They had us doing stuff that would make OSHA go into conniption fits! There were a handful of times I thought I was going to go home wearing a toe tag! Once we had a leaking liquid carbon dioxide line that filled the processing room with a thick layer of fog on the floor. That would have been really cool, except for the fact we were all suffocating and didn’t realize it until I started seeing spots and the “tunnel.” Soon afterwards, I was out looking for other another job since they didn’t give a flyin’ flip whether we lived or died! Nuts to them!
Lew in Bama says
I was going to chime in with my worst job, but after reading everyone else’s, all I can offer is
Bless your heart, sweetie.