My first day on the new job, I take inventory of my coworkers (not to mention 500 pair youth baseball pants that are impossible to fit properly on the hangers). Being here is a little like being in prison. We all ask each other what we're in for: "So, what were you doing before this?" Some of these people were doing high school before this.
The next getting-to-know-you inquiry I receive is in regard to my hypothetical stripper name (more critical than my actual name, apparently). At the rate my career is going, I'm going to need one. I choose Barbie. Later I learn that the girl who asked is, in fact, a stripper. (Must remember not to tell people that I work with a stripper - what would that make me?!)
The rest of the conversation revolves around art ("my new tattoo is gonna be, like, so rad"), local happenings ("...that fool come out of the club and be all trippin, sayin he gonna kill my boyfriend..."), sports ("...an later on I-84 those crazy @#$% tried to run us off the road), and family values ("family is overrated - that's how come I don't let my kids have a dad!"). I begin to wonder whether it is possible to get stupider just by hearing people talk. Babies get smarter listening to Mozart, right? I believe my concern is legitimate. Worker's comp?
Yes, at age 26, I have finally proven myself worthy of putting anti-theft devices on overpriced golf shirts. One day, while steadfastly doing this task for nine dollars an hour, my mind drifts back to the old warehouse and it occurs to me: There are illegal immigrants making more money than me.
I mentally cross out my name on my college degree and write in Barbie.