As some of you may already know, I recently changed jobs. Wait a minute. I know what you’re saying, “Michael, you switched jobs again! You barely learned your supervisor’s name at the last job, and you were still getting lost every time you went to the bathroom! They filed 12 missing person reports on you in March alone.” Though that may all be true, and it is slightly embarrassing for the police to kick down the door of your stall in the restroom to compare you to the picture that they have on file, the change was going to come sooner or later. The old job was for a government contractor, and contracts come to an end. No big issues. No huge drama. I was not escorted out of the building by my ear this time, which was a welcomed change. Oh, and the FBI were not involved this go-round.
Of course, starting a new job means that I have to prove myself all over again. Unlike you, the new company has no idea how wonderful I am just yet. Don’t worry. I’ll let them know. I wonder if a companywide email will do the trick. Maybe I should just hand out some introductory pamphlets or something. Hmmm. Either way, I’ll work it out. My only issue so far is the learning curve. Everything I’m instructed to do sounds German to me, and as soon as I think that I’m starting to understand it, they switch over to Korean mid-sentence. In fact, the other day my manager asked me to do the simplest of tasks, and my mind went completely blank. It wasn’t until the third or fourth time that he yelled, “I said click on the right!” that I understood he meant my other right—as in, the opposite of left. Oops. Well, in my defense, when under pressure, sometimes knowing my right from my left is rocket science. And that’s all I have to say about that.
In the wake of the new job, a rental increase, and the rise in gas prices, I’ve decided to make some slightly drastic changes in my life in effort to cut down on expenses. Because of this, I haven’t been shopping for clothing in over two whole days and I’ve even begun skipping some of my daily visits to Starbucks over the past week. Yes, it’s that serious. I’ve even had a talk with my fish about the lifestyle changes and they weren’t too happy about it. As opposed to buying the $2.50 fish food I typically get them, I’ve downgraded to the $1.99 value brand. I know you’re probably thinking that I’m a horrible person and should be reported to the Fish Protective Services Agency, but it is my belief that everyone in my household can stand to tighten his or her belts a little—even if they are tiny little fish belts that I got on sale at Kohl’s back in the day when I could afford such luxuries.
In any case, the fish are having no parts of the budget cuts and have decided to revolt against the system. Instead of getting excited at feeding time, they just stare at the $1.99, non-name-brand food and then look back at me as if I’ve lost my mind. Perhaps I shouldn’t have placed the generic container labeled with red crayon “Fish Food or Something” beside their aquarium. If I had hidden it, maybe they would have never known the difference. This is really all my fault for teaching them how to read. I probably should have left well enough alone after I taught them the electric slide and how to square dance. Fish can be kind of snooty, if you ask me. You should have seen their little noses as they turned them up in the air in protest.
Anyway, I decided to compromise and mix the cheaper food with the more expensive food, but the fish were smart enough to zero in on the “good” food and left the cheap stuff floating. I’m too embarrassed to mention that one of them spit one of the cheap flakes back at me. I even did a demonstration for them where I ate some of the generic food and pretended that it was good. I should have won an Oscar based on that performance. Have you ever eaten a fish flake? Well, let me tell you, it is the one thing in the world that does NOT taste like chicken. Because of this, I agreed to continue spending the extra 50 cents on the food they like—even if it means I have to add a few more performances to my new nightly gig at the Burger Barn Strip Club. If you’re ever in the DC area, I go on right after Bullet-Hole-Betty.
Despite the fact that I am trying to cut cost, the recent pictures that have surfaced of me dumpster diving and subsequently being arrested at my apartment complex are completely unrelated. See, what had happened was, I stopped at a friend’s house after work. Because she lives in my apartment complex, I threw some stuff into the trash compactor on my way to her apartment. When I got back to my apartment, I realized that a bag that contained my umbrella and my favorite brush were missing. I called my friend to see if I’d left them at her house, but I got no answer. So, I did what any normal person would do. I grabbed my flashlight and headed for the dumpster. Completely logical.
My original goal was to just peer over the edge of the dumpster to see if the bag I assumed I’d unintentionally tossed in was on top somewhere. Of course, it wasn’t. I’m not sure what it was that made me decide to lift my leg and hoist myself over the side while wearing a button-down shirt, slacks, and shoes with slippery bottoms. Maybe it was the sense of adventure. Maybe it was the thought of me never seeing my favorite brush ever again. Or, maybe it was someone else’s discarded Target bag that looked like it might have contained something good in it that made me journey into the great unknown. Whatever it was, I practically dove in head first.
Well, if I thought I knew my neighbors before, I really know them now. After sifting through several layers of trash and not finding any of the things I’d thrown away, I learned that my neighbors have a lot of trash. I mean, it seemed as if people had driven for miles and miles just to dump their trash on top of my missing items. Next, I learned that trash that has a smell, and that foul stench should be used to punish people who do bad things, like people who don’t tip or something. I also learned that somebody in my apartment complex likes a lot of macaroni. Then again, maybe they don’t because I slipped on a pile of it right before I gave up on my mission of finding my lost items. I arrived home, broken and disheartened, with a few layers of mac and cheese on my face, just to find a voicemail from my friend saying that I’d accidentally left a bag on her table. Great, I thought, as I wiped the last little bit of old macaroni out of my eye. Just great.
In other cutting cost news, it’s no secret that I’ve been cutting my own hair for years now. In fact, I can’t tell you the last time I’ve seen the inside of a barber shop. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe Lincoln was still in office. Yeah, that’s probably about right. Because I’m not a professional barber, I sometimes have little slip-ups when attempting to give myself a decent haircut. Most times, people either don’t notice or they’re super nice and don’t mention it. However, other times, they stop, point, stare, and/or cover their children’s eyes in order to shelter them from having to witness the catastrophic remains of my lop-sided hairline, my bald spots, or places that I completely missed while cutting. One time, I forgot the whole back of my head. I think I was rushing that day. Let’s just say, I’ve been known to be called Patch Adams a time or two over the years.
Well, instead of giving up and folding to the pressure of having perfect hair, I just keep on trying because that’s what real people do. Whether I accidentally give myself bangs, or I do the opposite and unintentionally push my hairline way back behind my ears, I hold my head high with pride because I’m not a quitter—at least not when it comes to the fine art of barbering. Quitting a job or school is one thing, but quitting the cutting my own hair—never. That said, if you ever see me with a bob on one side, a shag on the other and bald in the back, just know that I saved at least $20 by doing it myself. And who knows? Maybe I’ll start some sort of trend and people all around the world will be wearing patches, bald spots, and missing hairlines with pride. Maybe they’ll call it “The Michael” and I’ll get my own Do-It-Yourself TV show on the Sci-Fi or National Geographic channel. That’s right. The sky is the limit, and don’t you forget it.
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