Tuesday, June 4, 2019

scab laborer

Since memory is what I've got and since memory seems to knock on the door of late ... oh well, what the hell, I might as well go with the flow. So here's one:

Even the sub-rosa recognition that I was acting as a "scab" -- an anathema word to someone suckled at labor's breast -- did not stop me. A scab is someone who fills in a job that belongs to a union member on strike.

I was in my thirties, then, and hip-deep in my 'Marine Corps phase' of Zen Buddhist practice. GO! Go! Go!... that sort of shit. I was supporting myself with a budding-but-not-yet-flowering business painting apartments in New York City and at the time I was woefully short of work. A fellow Zen student pointed out that with actors on strike, advertising agencies were pulling in people off the streets to fill advertising slots. He suggested I give it a whirl. I thought I would.

I filled out papers and waited about an hour before my turn before the camera came.

No one had told those of us in the waiting room what product we would be touting so it came as an utter surprise (I knew I was not fit to the task) when it turned out to be Ford pick-up trucks. I read the script on the story boards in front of me. I knew it was all wrong, but I was in the klieg lights, in the soup and there was nothing to do but swim .... see the try-out to its conclusion.

Which I did. I was a Zen student, after all, and all of life was a lesson ... blah, blah, blah. Not all of life's lessons are likeable or tasty or gratifying and this one, in the midst of the tryout, sucked.

I was mentally out the door and on the way home before I even left the set. No way in hell was anyone going to buy a Ford pick-up from someone who looked like me.

But the story had not ended, however much I wanted it to end.

A small, cocaine-anorexic producer approached me briskly after my tryout. "I'm sorry," she said in business-like, moving-right-along tones, "you're more the priest, cop or young daddy if you'd smile more."

And by God, she had nailed my life's hide to the barn door -- a priest, cop, or young daddy if I'd smile more!" She had me by the balls. Why was I wasting time seeing a shrink or diving into spiritual life when this cranked-up widget of a woman could nail it all so concisely? All my floundering and searching and tears and ... what the fuck! she had me in a trice.

Naturally, as in other instances, it took me years to absorb and find nourishment in the truth.

Even a scab can learn something.

1 comment:

  1. Bah! That Boney twerp might have had an eye for stereotypes but s|he lacked vision!! (Nice post BTW.)

    Here’s the latest Ford Pick Up Blurb:

    “The F-150 pickup truck has been Ford's top-selling model for decades. The handsome hauler can be outfitted for every job and every personality, with three cab and bed styles and numerous appearance packages. Its modern aluminum-body construction helps save weight, improving performance and fuel economy, and a slew of advanced engines and high-tech driver assists are on board. Looking for something that can tackle more off-road? Check out the Ford F-150 Raptor.”

    Ministers, Kops, Family Men, Zen Wannabes, all could use a pickup truck. Buckets and Ladders, Lumber and Sheet Rock. Oh my!