Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Quest To Earn An Honest Buck

The things we do for love may be worse than the things we do for money, but not by much! My darling 17 year old Cyrus worked for a caterer last summer. His employer put him in a chef's costume, complete with a fake big belly and two foot high chef's hat and asked him to stand on the corner with a sign advertising the caterer's wares.

Cyrus had hired on to be a clean up guy and an assistant sous chef, not a walking billboard.

He did it as long as he could, and then hung up his apron about the 10th time kids from his high school drove by and honked and cracked up. Poor kid. Still, the kids driving by weren't making $10 an hour and he was.

When I was very young, I was divorced and had 2 kids. I was not educated beyond high school and had no real skills that were marketable. I went to work at a major corporation as a file clerk (since I did mainly know my alphabet). Surprise! I really didn't earn enough money to support the kids doing this.

Fine, I can iron. I can clean. So as side jobs, I took in ironing and then also cleaned houses for people in my spare time. The ironing was fine, since I could be home with the kids while I did it. The cleaning jobs, not so much. Bringing kids to someone's house when you clean (when the kids are 1 and 3) is not the best idea in the world.

Okay, scratch the cleaning gig. I knew a guy who was the official photographer and film maker for my big corporation. He approached me to do a little "modeling" for a program he was putting together. Uh huh. Seems the salesmen for the company all came to San Francisco's headquarters once a year and got awards. This year one of the awards was fly fishing gear.

Uh huh. So I'm supposed to model with a fish or what? Oh not exactly. I was to wear a bikini and thigh high waders, stand in a stream, and throw a fishing line while I looked sultry and smiled. All right. It paid $200 for about an hour's work. God knows we could use the money.

If I had really understood how stupid and horrible I would feel actually doing this, I never would have signed on. I never could even look at the photos he shot of me. I felt too humiliated. The idea that 200 or so men would look at these pictures and laugh or make crude comments was just too much for me to take in.

Still, I took the money. At the same time, I advertised at the local market for more ironing jobs! Some things just aren't worth what it costs to earn that honest buck.


  1. Your story is priceless advice for some of these young girls who think nothing of being the object of men's crude jokes while doing things far far worse than you did. Your own self-worth has no price tag. Good post. Thank you for your kind comments on my post.

  2. Linda, making it as a single mom is never easy. Congratulations to you for obviously a job extremely well done.

    "Lil Bits" is a nickname that just fell into place for our daughter...don't sweat the small stuff...that's NOT what we're about!

    And I should thank you for thinking of her...let's not make your Abbey outgrow her outfit too soon! She IS a darling...and you DID have something to do with raising your son, no???

  3. My darling son John is a chip off the old block(ess). He recently told me that he was going to contact a network tv station since "Jon and Kate plus 8" was going to fold. His idea for a show was "John and the Whore Plus Four". Now, if he didn't adore his beautiful and accomplished wife, this would not be funny. But since he does, it's hilarious!

  4. When your children are hungry, it's hard to be picky about what you do. Kudos to you for persevering with the ironing!

  5. And to think there are girls out there today doing things like that photo shoot for much less without giving it a second thought. Gotta wonder about those kids.

    Your son's job sounds like my pizza delivery job. Stupid sign on my car and shirt and hat. I didn't do well with the ladies dressed like that. LOL ;-)

  6. My most humiliating job was dressing as a giant orange at a big drug store and handing out samples of orange-scented men's shaving cream.

    Then there was the time I got fired from Dairy Queen because I couldn't master the little curly cue on the top of the ice cream cones.

    Hey, we do what we have to. And I bet you were adorable in that bikini...

  7. Jay! Actually it's my grandson Cyrus who did the "chef" gig! Poor baby! Oh Jayne, a Giant Orange with your little size 4 self would have been a mis-cast if I every heard of one! Yup. You gotta do what you've got to do to put the food on the table!

  8. Re your son's idea for the TV show, isn't his wife's name Kate? If so, they should just step into series seamlessly. Wouldn't even have to change the monograms on the luggage.

    John, I see you have your mom's gift of poetic license when it comes to rhyming!

  9. Johnny's wife is Kate. And he is a scamp! (And his mama is a tramp!) Oh stop!