Monday, May 5, 2014

Light Switcher-Onner for Hire

When Bryan was in college, he needed every little bit of extra money he could get his hands on just to get by... which I guess isn't really any different than how things are now. So needless to say, he went through his fair share of odd jobs. And we do mean odd in the literal sense.

The oddest, without a doubt, was being a Jewish rabbi's assistant.



An Orthodox rabbi, to be specific. You see, those who are Orthodox observe what is called Shabbat, aka the Sabbath, where they believe that a person should not work on the day that God rested. But they take this to a very serious extreme, in that the rabbi can't even turn on a light or raise the temperature on his thermostat, because that constitutes work. So enter Bryan, the non-Jewish light-switcher and thermostat-changer for hire.

Yeah, really. This is how he spent 2006.







So most of my responsibilities were things like turning on and off the lights, or turning up the heat in the room, or switching off a lamp... you know, stuff that probably seems batshit crazy to the rest of us. I even helped with cooking, because turning on a stove and controlling the temperature is a big no no. As is opening a refrigerator, which triggers the light to come on inside. So he'd point over my shoulder and show me exactly what to open, and what to grab, and what to cook, and at what temperature, etc.

Really, it's amazing the amount of work that one can put into not working.

And while I did do almost everything for him, at least I didn't have to help the man wipe his own ass. Oh, you think I'm joking, but according to our lovely friend Robyn over at Life by Chocolate, those who observe Shabbat as the rabbi does also aren't permitted to tear toilet paper because that constitutes work... so, I'm just glad that wasn't on my list of duties.


Thank God for Shabbat-grade toilet paper (pre-torn).

Now sure, I didn't get paid a lot, and the tasks seemed pretty brainless, but it was still quite the experience. To my surprise the rabbi was actually a pretty funny guy. Friendly. Talkative. I mean, as a guy who grew up in the Catholic church, I was more used to interacting with religious leaders like this.






But the rabbi loved trading jokes (his favorite was simply, "Did you hear the one about me?") and hearing all about the stories I was writing. He was, strangely enough, a very fun guy to hang out with, which made a full day of turning lights on and off not that bad.

In other words, for a middle aged man with a nasally voice, sideburns like curly fries, and eyeglasses like the windshield of a Buick, he was a pretty cool guy. And one of the best bosses I've ever had.




Ever had an odd job that was truly odd?

Cheers and stay kosher, friends,
Bryan (and Brandon)

Beer: Blue Moon Agave Blonde Ale
Music: Childish Gambino (in concert)


129 comments:

  1. I would've quit if any of the duties called for me to be in the bathroom with him.
    Good thing he had a sense of humor.
    I worked at a car wash one summer. Washing tires. Actually, I lasted one week.

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    1. I imagine you can only wash tires for so long before you start going stir crazy. At least my tasks were varied. "What electrical appliance will I be asked to turn off or on today? Stay tuned!"

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  2. If the duties you described are true then humanity is truly doomed. I don't care what religion you are, if you can't wipe your own ass then you shouldn't be taking a shit in the first place...because let's face it, taking a shit can be hard work.

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    1. Actually, they have special Shabbat toilet paper that's pre torn. The act of wiping your ass isn't forbidden, just tearing toilet paper. I can't imagine any God that encourages dingleberries.

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  3. Ever hear of a "guy Friday"? I sure have now! When I was about 24 I took a gig as just that!
    It's a lot like what you were doing, except for a construction supplier. I did all kinds of crazy! All the way to cleaning portable bathrooms. (Of this I'm not proud) But it wasn't all bad, I was paid as a driver more often than not. To the point of driving two counties over just for good cannoli!

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    1. That's a new one. I guess it beats "gopher" or "coffee bitch." You get to eat any of that cannoli? I never got to eat anything I made (my choice, just out of respect, since it was cooked for the jewish people attending). On the plus side, though, I did get hit on by all of the Jewish women because, you know, non-Jewish guy standing in the corner like a real rebel, setting forks instead of listening to the rabbi. Swoon!

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    2. I did, it was the real deal. But only because it was offered just about every time I delivered :-)

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  4. That ending, the Rabbi's words about you being a light, were quite poignant. At least you were working with a really nice and fun guy if you're doing something like that. I didn't know the Sabbath went to quite THAT extreme. Gives a whole new meaning to "Black Sabbath". Being chronically unemployed I've never had any odd jobs. I've never even had to do anything really strange while volunteering. The most "out of my way" I went would be walking about half a mile with a chair because the lady wanted it now and I offered to carry it for her.

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    1. Black Sabbath is a very apt term, because the rabbi was so metal. And you know what else is metal? Helping old people. Because being a nice person is metal as fuck.

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  5. Being Jewish has always sounded too complicated to me. Have you LOOKED AT Leviticus or Deuteronomy?

    How the hell am I supposed to tell whether an animal is chewing its cud before sinking my teeth into it?

    Granted, I am gay, so I'm not even able to handle the big and obvious stuff. I also wore polyester this week, which is both a theological and fashion no-no.

    I am not sure what my point was...

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    1. Yeah, if you took out the religion, you'd think I was helping a man suffering from OCD. "No, no, turn the light switch ON. Now turn the coffee pot OFF. Yes, this right here. OFF."

      He was a very cool guy, but I couldn't imagine putting up with all of that. So I'm very glad he never tried to convert me. Or give me a nasty glance when I wore a sweater made of a wool/linen blend. Or show up with last night's bacon breath.

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  6. Wow, can't even tear toilet paper? Can't do work? Geez, it is no wonder politicians never get anything done, they observe it all year round. If I had to wipe someones ass, you'd either have to pay me millions or find my foot up there lol before I left. Glad you just were a glorified button pusher haha

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    1. Soon after that I got into IT, where I became... a glorified button pusher. I guess this was just setting the stage for that.

      You just blew my mind.

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  7. Bryan! You were a Shabbas Goy?!? How cool! There's a comic singer/songwriter in Canada named Nancy White and she once wrote this very funny song about how being the mother of teenagers is just like being a Shabbas Goy because you have to do every little thing for them all the time. That's how I know about the concept, LOL.

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    1. I sure was, and I made a whopping $20 a day for it. I can't find the lyrics anywhere, but that song sounds spot on. And between being a Shabbas Goy and having 4 dogs that are always in some stage of puking/pooping/both, I'm pretty sure I'm more than ready to handle kids.

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  8. At least he took the Sabbath seriously, so many Christians here in the Bible Belt have to be off on Sunday but don't mind shopping or going out to eat afterwards.

    One girl I know said she used to work a seafood restaurant when she was younger and one patron said "What's a pretty girl like you working here on a Sunday, shouldn't you be at church?" then he got quite upset when she told him that she didn't believe. She had to switch tables with another waitress because he wouldn't stop berating her.

    Why I don't particularly care if people work or not on Sunday, those who do shouldn't create a demand for that sort of thing.

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    1. Yeah, you know what sells people on church? Berating them. Works every time!

      I always admired the rabbi's dedication... especially since he could do it all with a smile on his face. I wasn't kidding about Father Hitler. I called him that because he was a priest from Germany with a square face, a square little mustache, and an expression that could melt snow. I don't know why he became a priest, because he certainly didn't like people. Or kids. Or fun.

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  9. Part of me thinks that sounds just horrible. Not being able to turn on a light, adjust the heat or cool, open the refrigerator.... And I think about how hard life was before we had these modern conveniences. Honestly, I wonder how the Orthodox folks did it a thousand years ago. They probably didn't hire someone. Of course, back then every day life was WORK. And maybe that was the point. Everyone needs a break. A rest period. Otherwise, we just burn out. Now that life is easier it seems like the Orthodox folks are going out of their way to make it hard on themselves on their day of rest. Isn't that just a like a human being to take a good thing and make it a crazy one???

    Anyway, I am glad that the Rabbi was cool. And listened to your stories.

    As for jobs... I can't say that this was a "strange" one, just a hard one. In college, I spent a summer selling books for The Southwestern Company door to door. It was pretty grueling. I will say this: You learn more about sales selling door to door than by other means. Always a cold call. Always face to face. Always a challenge.

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    1. The kicker, of course, would be if now that things were made easier for us all God was like, "Uh, I did this to HELP you guys, not to make life harder on Shabbat, you dingbats. I said don't start fires on Shabbat, not 'don't open your refrigerator that automatically keeps your food cold because a tiny light will be triggered into turning on'."

      Also, my dad used to sell encyclopedias door to door when he was a teenager. Which sounds like the most miserable, fantastically outdated job anyone could ever have. I bet Southwestern Company was right up there. What kind of books were we talking about? Because "Southwestern Company" sounds like anything but "fun, sexy mystery novels with lots of sexy sex."

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  10. (Un)Fortunely, I've never had a job anywhere near as odd as this. I wouldn't mind being a switch-fondling hiree, though.

    When I worked at my town's ridiculously tiny YMCA, they'd give me some odd jobs. I was asked to coach a youth baseball team for one day because the coach was sick. I'm terrible at baseball and hadn't played since middle school, so I mostly just had the kids running laps and playing catch. Not so odd as a light switcher-onner, though.

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    1. Please tell me you grew a mustache, wore 70s short shorts, and chewed gum frantically while coaching. Because that is all I can picture while hearing this tale.

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  11. I knew about the Sabbath and how Jews approached it in Old Testament times, having read the Old Testament once or twice... or 20 times. But I had NO IDEA that modern-day orthodox rabbis kept the Sabbath to THIS xtreme. To be honest, I thought this whole thing was a joke... for awhile. Straining out gnats and swallowing Camels indeed!

    "Really, it's amazing the amount of work that one can put into not working", "Somehow that just makes me feel worse", and the rabbi's explanation for why he never tried to convert you to Judaism are all three things that made me GOL!

    Yeah, I guess I've had a couple "odd" jobs, but NUTTIN' like YOURS, 6-B! That's the oddest odd job I ever heard of. SHEESH!

    ...You missed a spot.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Yeah, you'd think with modern day inventions Orthodox Jews would have found a way around this. But I guess technology can't solve all of our problems.

      And having cooked most of the foods they ate and having heard horror stories of matzah aftermath from Robyn... I'm just glad I didn't have to be cleaning up any spots. Because there would have been a lot of them. On the toilet. On the wall. Probably in his beard.

      "Where will you be when diarrhea strikes?" Not in the Jewish synagogue, that's for damn sure.

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  12. Wow is this actually for real? If it is, then that's one damn strict interpretation of the rulebook. Man, I already get annoyed when someone asks me to turn the lights on for dinner. No idea how I would handle this.

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    1. Yep, this is all real, and it was especially funny because he WOULD stick his finger right up to the light and ask me to switch it while making the switching motion. So, you know, basically doing everything but turning on the light itself. Seemed like so much work just to not work, but hey, who am I to complain when I was making that sweet paper?*

      *Thank you rabbi for keeping my fridge full of beer all throughout my college years. Amen.

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  13. I've never heard anything as crazy as this! Definitely haven't had an odd job like this myself. Worst jobs for me... telemarketer & cashier at Arby's. I'd say I've done fairly well all things considered. In the shitty job department. Many other aspects of my life are questionable.

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    1. So at one job you were selling verbal diarrhea and at the other you were selling physical diarrhea. What a scatalogical resume you have!

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  14. Nothing really odd. Although I did wipe butts for a living for a little while (nursing home) Although wiping butts sounds better than I worked in a nursing home.

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    1. Ah, professional butt wiper. Now that's something to put on a resume.

      "Yeah, she's not bad at inserting IVs, but man, you should see this chick wipe an ass. Great wrist control, really cups the buttocks... her skill is second to none."

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  15. Hahaha. We have a colleague who is an orthodox Jew and yes in his apartment they have a guy to work on weekends to press lift buttons but they don't get out of the house why they need lift operator I don't know. He even eats only kosher corporate lunch or kosher business lunch and drinks Starbucks:)
    His unavailability on weekend is an inconvenience.

    But just like your Rabbi he is funny and also nice and friendly. Everyone likes him. Teetotallers and vegetarians annoy me more and not this guy. :)

    Brandon's resume would read professional housesitter - skilled in turning on and off buttons aka switches. :)

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    1. I got it wrong. It was Bryan professional switch onner/offer.
      so when you moved to IT have you ever asked anyone to "turn on and off again".

      how did it feel?

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    2. That's okay, my friend has an 8 year old son and he always calls me "Brandon." He also doesn't understand why that's so funny to me (he doesn't even know about the blog or about real Brandon, he just always thought I was called Brandon).

      And yes, working for the rabbi was like being his IT admin, because most times the end user can do it themselves, like install a printer, but it seems that they just don't have the proper permission from God (CIO).

      Having the power to turn on a light switch AND install someone's printer? Man, that kind of power feels GOOD.

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  16. That's a pretty funny job. I wouldn't mind getting paid for that, really. It's kind of like being an extreme personal assistant.

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    1. If you think about it, there's really not THAT much of a difference. It's just the way it's worded. One guy asks you to make coffee, the other guys says, "I need you to pour the coffee in here. Okay, now put in the water. Alright, now push this button on for me. Okay, now pour this into a cup. Thanks!"

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  17. Oy vey! How did they ever survive back in the day?

    I'm glad he at least had a sense of humor about it. That tends to make things go a lot more smoothly.

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    1. I'd like to think that after I left, the rabbi just stopped functioning and can be found huddled in a corner of his synagogue, hair matted down and clothes tattered, just useless without my awesome ability to turn electrical equipment on and off at a whim.

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  18. I once had a work-study job as an arcade attendant. Only the arcade worked on tokens. And it had three different machines to provide tokens to customers. So my job was to sit there and do absolutely nothing, occasionally study, and use the big bucket of spare tokens to get really pissed at "NBA Jam."

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    1. Did you have to wear one of those cheesy referee outfits? I feel like that's the icing on the cake of a job that must already make you feel like shit - aka getting tokens unclogged for little brats that clogged it in the first place by trying to pull out more tokens.

      Also, I never got pissed at NBA Jam because Bugs Bunny was the man. Oh wait, I'm thinking of Space Jam.

      I ALWAYS think of Space Jam.

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  19. I think I'd like this job. I also think I'd like to be rich enough to be able to afford to get someone to do all that sort of thing for me. Not because I'm Jewish, more because I'm lazy x

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    1. I'd like to be rich enough to afford this also, if only to see how far a person would go before they go ballistic and quit.

      "Would you scratch underneath my eyebrow? It's a little itchy. No, wrong eyebrow. A little to the left. No, MY left, not yours. You don't count as a person."

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  20. I will spend the rest of the day with the "you're doing the Lord's work" picture emblazoned in my brain!

    Too funny!

    LC

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    1. We all have to inspire the janitors of the world somehow, now don't we?

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  21. I need to meet this rabbi. He sounds "pretty fly for a rabbi!" (Has anyone else made that reference yet?) I have never had an odd job like that at least, none that I got paid money for. But I have to say that there is no champion of odd jobs quite like a Mom.

    Mom. Sock sorter, hair braider, chore delegator, homework helper/motivator, tantrum/argument diffuser, food maker, boo-boo fixer, confidence builder, curfew enforcer...There are so very many more I could name, but I think you get the gist. Moms are the ultimate odd-job champions of the universe! Where's my giant belt that I can hoist over my head in victory?

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    1. It's right there next to your paycheck.

      Low blow?

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    2. Very. Oh well, I get paid in hugs. That's good enough until they're old enough to pay rent. :)

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    3. "Hotel Mom." Has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

      And I only give you shit because my wife is going to school to become a doctor, and I'm a stay at home writer, meaning in 3-5 years I'm going to be Mr. Dad while she's Mrs. Doctor, and I too will be an unpaid jack of all trades.

      Wouldn't have it any other way.

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    4. I'd read that book. "Hotel Mom", or in your case, "Hotel Mister Mom." You should totally write that one! :)

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  22. Who'd have thought I'd ever be elated to see my name highlighted near a rabbi's tuchas needing wiping. Love it, Bryan & Brandon. You did me and my peeps proud. Thank you.

    He sounds like our local Orthodox rabbi: a gentle soul (with curly fry sideburns).

    xoRobyn

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    1. As I always say, better to be the butt of a joke than a joke about someone's butt. Or something like that.

      Glad you enjoyed, and for the record, I'm still envious of that man's ability to grow epic facial hair.

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  23. Watching 3 parked cars in a 140 space car park making sure they didn't get stolen for weeks on end?

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    1. On one hand, that had to have been the easiest job on the planet. On the other hand, if one of them ever DID get stolen... I bet you felt like a real asshole. :)

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  24. This is hilarious. I don't think I could do this job because I'd be laughing too much. And sarcasm? It would drip all over.

    I've worked with really odd people, but I haven't had a really odd job.

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    1. As stupid as it sounds, the rabbi had such a fun, jovial presence that it was easy to forget the idiocy of your tasks. "Yeah, sure, I'll flip that lamp on. Now finish that joke you were telling me earlier?"

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  25. OMG, I completely ignored my own rule and was drinking a beverage while reading...sigh.

    These cartoons so totally cracked me up, because I find it rather funny (in a sad sort of way) that people go to such ridiculous lengths to obey rules which really won't get them anywhere. It's my belief (oh man, there she goes again) that all God really wants is for us to believe He's there, and that Jesus was His son, and that we're forgiven if we believe. No rules, just forgiveness.)

    In my opinion, no one can follow every single rule, so therefore you're hosed from the beginning. So it's faith. But enough about that. Again. You asked about weird jobs. Yup. Had one. Had several, but only one that literally about drove me insane.

    Since I'm bilingual, and computer literate, a company which was making translation software hired me to test their Swedish software for accuracy. Mind you, this was summer of 1986, so the fact that #1, they were going to send me a computer to use, and were willing to buy me a modem and pay me an ungodly amount of money, how could I refuse?
    I spent 8 hours a day starting at words, in like eight different windows performing different tests. I'd dream words. Whatever scene I was in, the wallpaper of the room was the screen of my computer. I invented ways to talk to real people. I spent way too much money going to the cafe down the street to order a $1.50 salad and take an hour to eat it, just so that I wouldn't have to go back and look at that screen again. And the program was crap. I had to re-write about 1/2 the algorithms. By the end of the summer I was twitchy, pale, and sorta word phobic...not exactly good for a writer...
    Tina @ Life is Good

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    1. Hey, I understand the idea behind the Sabbath, and it's not a bad policy in theory. Take a day to relax and don't work. That's great. But I can't imagine God would be like, "So in order to relax, you need to precut your toilet paper, precook your meals, and walk everywhere since you're forbidden from driving. Also, don't turn on the lights or open the fridge. Super easy, right? You feeling relaxed yet?"

      And oh man, I actually know your pain, because my last job was doing QA for a software company. Voting software to be specific. So for 8-12 hours every day I'd have to stare at this little windowed program with maybe 5 menu options. And build fake elections all day long. Voting for Chef Boyardee over Mr. T is hilarious the first time. The 1,000th time? Not so much,

      So I'd go and make small talk with the developers just to break up the monotony of my day, or we'd go have a mid-afternoon beer to drive away that urge to kill ourselves. And if you can believe it, I did that for four years.

      This might explain why even though I don't make much I'm now (happily) a full time writer, and you literally could not pay me enough to stare at that gray menu'd window again.

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  26. For me, working in a seafood restaurant for exactly three days was odd enough for me. I made it a habit not to work in the fast food industry (couldn't bring myself to make food for other people to consume, which is why I didn't purse a live in the food industry).

    Father Nature's Corner

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    1. I worked for KFC all of 4 hours when I was 16. That's all it took to get me to realize I never wanted to step foot in that building again, and I never did, even as a customer.

      All it takes is seeing how your food's prepared to scare you straight on cheaply priced junk food.

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  27. There’s an obvious reason the good Rabbi didn’t want to convert you… then he’d have to hire a new Light Technician. (Which is how you should list this job on your resume.)

    I live in an area heavily populated by Orthodox Jews. One Friday night, my next door (apartment) neighbor, a young, single Orthodox Jew named Mordechai, knocked on my door because he locked himself out. He wanted me to call the landlord for him.

    When I handed him the phone, he said he couldn’t make any calls on the Shabbat, because that would be considered work. So I made the call, and asked him to leave 50 cents on the telephone stand. (j/k)

    Oddest job I had was working for the world’s worst gas station. We didn’t have a cash register; I had to make change out of a pile of money and coins in a cigar box. They also advertised their prices in liters, so people would roll up expecting gas for $0.49 per gallon and I’d have to give them the bad news. And I had no idea how many liters were in a gallon.

    (I know now that there are ten liters in one Celsius.)

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    1. I bet living in a neighborhood of Orthodox Jews is paradise. No, really. I mean, it's not like the walls are going to be rattling with bass from playing gangster rap nonstop. And for being ultra religious, they're not going to try to convert you anytime you stop to talk to them. You really can't beat that.

      Also, 0.49£ for a liter is a great deal! I'd be willing to drive 10 kilometers in 37 degree Celsius weather for such a deal!

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  28. Lol. You can now add light switcher to your list of talents.

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    1. I always knew I was just exercising my talents when I was a kid and I'd flick the lights on and off rapidly to make a strobe light effect. Then my parents would yell at me to stop.

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  29. The light switches don't make any sense to me.
    And they're -supposed- to pre-cook their meals the day before so that they don't have to cook on the day.
    My favorite rule was about chairs. It was okay to pick up a chair and carry it to some other place but, if you dragged it, it was considered plowing (remember, they had dirt floors back in the day), and that was a big NO!

    (Cool on the chapter. I still haven't had a chance to type up the portion of chapter 3 I need to send you.)

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    1. I always moved the chairs anyway, so I actually didn't know about the dragging versus carrying thing. That's funny! As for cooking, he liked his meals fresh and I didn't mind him asking me to help make those, because otherwise it would have been a very, very slow day.

      Plus, I was trying to stir a little bit of Catholic guilt into every bite, so I could spread a bit of the old school Catholic love.

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    2. mmm... Catholic Guilt stew...

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  30. Are you sure you didn't get converted? Sometimes they convert you without you knowing. Just think, you may have been falsely celebrating Christmas all these years.

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    1. Such a notion is bobamayse, your kvetching has got me all mishuga!

      ...Crap, you may be right.

      Delete
  31. I am just stunned about the Shabbat tp. If I wasn't allowed to wipe my own ass, I'd have to become a druid or something. I think they can use leaves...

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    1. And on the 10th day, God said come on bro, give 'er a wipe, please, it's starting to get a bit funky in here.

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  32. No real odd jobs, although I've sold a couple of paintings years ago. One was commissioned - an art friend sold it to a collector.

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    1. That's actually pretty damn cool. No one's commissioned an MSPaint likeness... YET.

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  33. I'm pretty sure I've had some dumb jobs over the years but have blocked out the memory of most of them. The worst one I can remember was working for a telemarketer who did family photos. It should have been easy: all I had to do was call people who had already had their pictures taken and remind them to come over and pick up their photos. Do you think I could convince those morons to pick up photos they'd ALREADY SAT FOR? Did I mention the photos were FREE? All they had to do was show up. Grrr

    Bryan's job, though? That sounds like the best awful job around. And I used to be Catholic when I was growing up, so I can relate to the Father Hitler thing . . . except ours was Sister Hitler. She was not one to be crossed.

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    1. The funny thing about Father Hitler is he was indeed a German man with a thick accent, the extremely parted hair, and the tiny mustache. And he hated absolutely everyone. All of his sermons were extremely fire and brimstone, and he strongly discouraged me from writing funny stories because, I don't know, God doesn't have a sense of humor and anyone who laughs on the Sabbath is destined for a lake of fire or some such nonsense.

      We see how that all worked out. :)

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  34. Oy vey. I did have one boss that was strikingly similiar to Hitler, blonde/blue-eyed Swiss German man. He yelled at everyone, for everything. Nothing was good enough. I had to proxy yell at people (ok, that was fun) and he sent me on crazy errands like "Go to the Cross pen store and have them engrave the word 'Dork' on their most expensive pen for my niece." Sounds easy, right? Well, apparently Cross pens are fancy-ass pens, and they did NOT want to do this. After much convincing, threatening to bring lil Hitler Rogevue to their store to yell at them, I got them with the threat that I would just buy a pen and take it to a cheap engraving place to have THEM engrave it, then it would look even worse. They literally had to CALL the home office to make sure it was okay to do this to one of their very expensive pens. PENS. Not a type-o for penis, a PEN. As in ball-point writing utensil.

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    1. You know, this actually sounds like a hilarious thing to do should I ever get more money than I know what to do with. Walk to the most expensive, fancy pants ballpoint pen/watch company, and then watch them shit bricks when I tell them, "I want you to engrave 'Mayor McFart has poopy diapers' on this one and 'Fuckity fuck fuckery' on this one. Here's cash. When can I pick them up?"

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  35. Heard about you guys from Jaybird's blog so I thought I'd come check y'all out (and I meant that in the most non-creepy way possible). Simply hilarious!

    I went to Catholic school K-12 so I feel your pain there. I've had my fair share of holy water in my eyeballs and probably had more encounters with Sister Hitler than Father Hitler.

    Odd jobs? I mean I've worked in retail for 3 years so I wouldn't call that odd. Just kind of shitty, really.

    Looking forward to reading more from you guys :)

    Sam
    Writing Through College

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    1. Apparently we're the only two here that haven't dealt with Sister Hitler. Our church didn't have any nuns. But worry not, what they lacked in nuns they more than made up for with Catholic Guilt(TM) that still haunts us both 20-something years later.

      Delete
  36. I had fun reading through all these comments. Good job responding, Bryan. I didn't even know there was pre torn tp for shabbat. I learned something about Judaism from you. Thanks!

    I'm kind of surprised that these rituals sound so horrid to people. (You were clearly joking about the butt wiping.) You're right; it's a lot of work for a day of rest. But considering how much stress we endure to take a vacation, or how we push ourselves by skipping lunch - for example - to leave work a bit early, it's not really that crazy. Then again, I don't choose to go to that extreme with any of it. I honor shabbat by sleeping in on Saturdays, the nice Jewish gal I am.

    Oh and you probably know this, but in case anyone is still reading (sorry, guess I'm on a kosher soapbox) Jews never actively attempt to convert people. In fact, we discourage folks from converting, because we want only the truly dedicated.

    B'shalom! =)

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    1. I'm learning many things too thanks to these comments, and while I still don't quite understand the whole "I can't open the refrigerator because it triggers a small light to turn on" thing, I don't think it's horrid, either. I had the easiest job in the world, and I got to talk with/joke with/learn a bit of wisdom from a cool rabbi. Compared to other jobs I had, that was an absolute (kosher) cake walk.

      And I had to google Shabbat TP after you mentioned it. Isn't technology an amazing thing?

      Precut Shabbat TP with dispenser

      Delete
  37. That's amazing. I'd love a job like that. Is he still looking for your replacement?

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    1. You can try, but the way I flipped that light switch in one fluid, graceful motion? I doubt you could replicate it.

      Delete
  38. I had a friend who's dad took Sabbath very seriously. Strange thing was they weren't Jewish. No, I joke. They were.

    My only strange job wasn't all that strange. Just crappy. I was a cold caller for insurance. I think it was auto. I know it was Allstate. I lasted all of a week. I was forever being cursed and screamed at. Imagine that? New Yorkers screaming at some teenager for calling them during dinner time? Hard to believe.

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    1. I had a friend who was a cold caller, and she said it was odd being a female cold caller because a lot of guys would hit on her because she had a "hot sounding voice." Which was also odd because she was not hot in the slightest.

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  39. Isn't ordering you around work? Do you put that on your resume, "Sabbath Mule" or "Human Shabbat Work-Around" or "I am What was Used by This Guy to Try and Trick God. I DECEIVED GOD!" Not to denigrate his religious beliefs, I am legitimately curious, isn't there also some string that Hasidic Jews string around their neighborhood that allows them to walk outside on the Sabbath or grants them some exception, creating some sort of anti-sin barrier? This is why I don't mock Mormons for magic underwear or Scientologists for phaetons.

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    1. I think you can confirm with anyone in middle management that ordering someone around and then falling asleep at your desk is hardly "work."

      And I never saw any string (or heard of it), as I never went to the rabbi's house... thankfully my job duties stayed at the Jewish Center, and didn't extend to, say, "Okay, now if you could just tuck me in..."

      Delete
  40. Ha! He couldn't convert you, then he'd lose his top light switcher onner!

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    1. Back in my prime, I could flip on ten switches in under a minute. Practically UNHEARD OF these days.

      Delete
  41. Very amusing post. I guess I can be thankful for my little job. :-)
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

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    1. For what it's worth, if the rabbi asked me back again for a day, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

      Delete
  42. OMG! I am totally cracking up. I didn't know they made Kosher TP - pre-torn. Thank God for that!

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    1. "All I have is this regular toilet paper, but no way to tear it. Why have you forsaken me, oh lord? WHY?"

      -really unlucky Jewish guy on Shabbot

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  43. LOL A lot of work is put into not working . . . oh man, I'm glad he was a funny guy! And on Bryan's behalf I'm truly happy they have pre-torn TP o_0

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    1. Unlike TP on the Shabbot, I'm torn, because on one hand, that's gross. But on the other hand, "I once wiped a rabbi's ass" is a real conversation starter.

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  44. Is it odd that I'm attracted to the cartoon rendition of the rabbi?

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    1. With Father Hitler's chiseled jawline and broad shoulders all in the same post? Yes, I would certainly say so.

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  45. This is amazing. I can't believe this actually happened. Why did you ever stop working for him?! Is he hiring now, do you know? Send him my way if he is. I have an almost-95% success rate with turning lights on!

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    1. He only needed my help for a little bit, so it only lasted one summer. One magical summer. Like summer camp, only the exact opposite in almost every way. And call me when you can hit numbers like 98.5%. That was my light switching accuracy when I was in my prime, and the rabbi will accept nothing under 97.

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  46. At least you got to work out those finger muscles flipping switches and turning knobs

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    1. And now, at 30, I have the fingers of a 22 year old. Thanks rabbi!

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  47. That wasn't such a bad gig after all. Getting to know someone from such a different religion and culture can be enlightening. At first the differences were probably startling, but after a while you find things in common. A Catholic mother is a lot like a Jewish mother. They specialize in guilt.

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    1. It's true. We both bonded over our ability to worry about everything, and our frugality. Nothing builds friendships like teaching one another how to save money.

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  48. Oh good Lord! I knew about light switches, but I never heard anyone make that argument about toilet paper. Having an assistant seems like a good way to get around religious law, though.

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    1. I wonder if, as a lapsed Catholic, I could hire an assistant to give confession and attend mass for me...

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  49. I didn't know about any of this until this post. I knew Sunday was supposed to be a day off, but I thought that meant having leftovers and just spending the day relaxing on the couch or something.

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    1. Your idea of the Sabbath is much more like my idea of the Sabbath than the rabbi's was.

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  50. That is pretty funny, especially Father Hitler. "The power of christ compels you!" *swishes holy water your way* - The Exorcist, in case you didn't get the reference. ;P

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    1. Oh, I got the reference. I'm just glad my head didn't spin 360 degrees when Father Hitler doused me in the name of the holy spirit.

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  51. Toilet paper? He doesn't know how to use the three seashells?

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    1. I tried installing this for him, but apparently even using the three seashells constitutes work.

      http://i.imgur.com/vizXKRr.jpg

      Delete
  52. Oh man, you guys. I'm laughing!

    I've never heard of such a thing. This definitely wins with list of odd jobs… and I thought my hubby was the winner (a guy who literally ran off with the circus) ;-)

    Poor Bryan. Will you guys ever reveal who does the artwork? Or is it a combined effort? The comedic "timing" is a gift. :)

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    1. So your husband was a bearded lady? Or a grizzly bear riding a tricycle in a tiny hat? (I just kinda wanted to mentally picture that)

      Also, our "recipe for success" is no big secret. We both write, we both make jokes, but I (Bryan) draw comics. It's my way of justifying years of doodling in school while a teacher droned on about the calculus I totally still use to this day.

      Brandon's our videographer, though, which he's great at, and he's got high level equipment, too. And we'll be utilizing that soon for something. Now how's THAT for a secret?

      Delete
    2. Nice! I love the behind-the-scenes info. And YES, by revealing this "secret" you've now hinted at another one… utilizing high level equipment??? Gaaaaah. Now I won't be able to sleep until I KNOW!!! Time to get my stalker mode on until I discover the truth...

      And laughing at the bearded lady/grizzly bear comment. Ha! More like cirque de soleil Vegas circus. But actually, not too far off…

      Delete
    3. Okay, so it's not really a secret. We've mentioned it on here before, but we're making a Youtube comedy show. Like, a real one. The entire first season is almost completely written, and we plan to shoot it as the weather continues to warm up. We both play very exaggerated versions of ourselves, and though we've been very tight lipped on it, it's slated to be called Vanilla Warfare (play on guerrilla warfare). Future episodes include a yard sale fight, a surprise birthday party gone terribly wrong, and a magic mirror that shows one of us is actually, deep down, a nerd.

      Congratulations, my stalker friend, if you're still reading this you now know something that no one else (unless they're reading this) knows.

      Delete
  53. I never had any really unusual jobs, unless you count waitressing. No? Hmm. I've got nothing, I'm as interesting as the Catholic priest. Blame it on the lack of diversity in my burgh.

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    1. Waitressing still sounds interesting, depending on who you waitressed. Like, Father Hitler, for example. Serving him would be like an episode of a sitcom. (And you thought you two were boring, psssh)

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  54. OK, I've been dying for an excuse to tell somebody this story. And y'all just gave it to me. Thanks!
    I run a business doing personal assistant work for local semi-celebs. Read that as really rich people who don't want to be seen doing mundane stuff. Actually, these people are really cool and just super busy. Anyway...
    A couple of months ago I was asked if I would be willing to go pick up a debt that was owed by a guy that had hit my clients car over two years ago and she had been bugging him for the money and threatening to take him to court. He finally agreed to pay in cash and was willing to meet on a day that my client would be out of town. She didn't want to chance not getting the money. So I went- cash verifying pen in hand, good friend in the car and bad ass attitude completely on board. Keep in mind that I am female, 5'4" and not huge. This dude was shady at best and I was so glad we met at a bank where I could have summoned security at any moment.
    Yeah, my motto is and remains: if it's legal, I'll do it. And I guess I'm cheaper than a lawyer.

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    1. This sounds like the basis for a hit tv show. Thanks for finally being able to share your story. It was absolutely worth it.

      I'm just glad it all went okay. I was expecting a bit of a Jason Statham Transporter style thing going on. You know, transaction goes bad, you have to use your martial arts training that you learned from an old man in Tibet and beat up this shady guy and his four ninja assassin henchmen, all while not getting your snazzy new work clothes dirty AND getting your boss an espresso from her favorite coffee house.

      Because the less she knows about these deadly kung fu battles, the better.

      Delete
  55. Turning on a light is considered work.... Is that a fact. Boy, I must be working really hard considering I just switched on three lights. Seems to me telling someone to switch on a light constitutes hard work too. Ask your local polititian... They love telling you what to do and earn a decent living. Wait tearing toilet paper constitutes work too? Now I know I so deserve a raise. But tell me.... did you put this job on your resume?

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    1. Someone mentioned above that I should have put this on my resume as Light Technician. That's brilliant. I wish I'd thought of that. But just like the 4 hours I worked at KFC, and the 6 months I spent swiping member cards at a gym, I didn't really think it was pertinent to put that on my resume.

      "Well, Bryan, I think you'd make a great IT administrator with your 10+ years of relevant experience, but I feel like you'd be a better suited candidate if you'd helped a middle aged Jewish guy turn on his lights ten years ago."

      Delete
  56. That is a crazy job to be sure. I always think it's amusing that people take things to such literal place. Like you can't spit on the sabbath because it will make a furrow. Weird. ANd people that say you're going to hell for going to church on the wrong day.

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    1. My parents have been going to church Saturday their whole lives because they work on Sundays. They're going to take it so hard when I tell them they're going to roast in the fires of hell.

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  57. That sounds like a great job. I'd be all over hanging out and turning switches and stuff. Sounds great.

    My oddest job was to drink free champagne and vodka for a few hours at a mall. Just a day, sadly.

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    1. Our malls don't even have champagne or vodka, and even if they did, it'd be overpriced as hell. What magical paradise do you live in?

      Delete
  58. Believe it or not, I read this post first thing Monday morning from my phone. 'The Phone' as I like to call it, thinks it's smart, but I've found that it's not as smart as it thinks it is. Now combine this 'not so smart' phone and a dumb blonde and leaving comments from it can be kind of hilarious.

    So, anyway... Today I come back to see if you replied to my comment and then I remembered, 'oh yeah, I never left a comment'. I had intended to do that as soon as I opened up the laptop and 'viola' I forgot all about it.

    I did think this was probably the best all time 'odd' job I had ever heard of. I love your depiction of the Rabbi and his nonchalant attitude about everything (I'm chuckling right now about the forks). Seriously, this was FUNNY and all true!

    Wackiest job I've ever had (I think) was doing in home demonstrations (like Tupper Ware parties) with live plants. Yes, I was the 'plant lady'. I actually did pretty good with it too. Of course, there was extra incentive to sell everything you brought in, so as not to have to carry it back out to the car and load it up. And my daddy said that theater degree I was pursuing in college was never gonna do me any good. Ha!

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    1. What kind of plants were these? Because if you sold weed door to door, you can just admit it. You don't have to tell me you were a door to door plant presentation specialist. Which, I should add, is a GREAT title to add to any drug dealer's resume.

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  59. I think that has all my jobs beat as oddest. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever had an odd job. Not really. I've worked with odd people, does that count?

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    1. All it takes is one guy who refuses to wear pants in the office to turn a regular job into an odd job.

      Delete
  60. I've been spared of the odd jobs, per se, but I did once work for six months at a container insurance company which dealt with (guess what) insurance claims for accidents involving containers. I did once see the gruesome pictures of a tipped container carrying Martini & Rossi Rosé bottles. It looked like blood had splattered everywhere. Then there were the horror stories from my coworkers about what could be found trying to be smuggled into such contraptions: drugs from Jamaica, stolen merchandise, even, on one occasion...dead bodies.

    Yeah. Teaching is less traumatizing, anyway. :P

    -Barb

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  61. That is so funny and so weird, all rolled into one. I don't mean to belittle the orthodox Jewish faith, but seriously? Tearing toilet paper is work? Man, people love rules, don't they? And I realize that the Christian faith is just as full of crazy rules to follow, just in a different manner.

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  62. Pre torn toilet paper... I guess I've heard everything now. But, that little bit at the end about converting...that was actually thought provoking and very sweet. What an interesting job.

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