I have gone on sometimes about the tedium and monotony of my life and job here. That's because this is a blog. Also, under all the griping and kvetching there was hope and optimism, mainly hope and optimism that I wouldn't spend the rest of my life answering calls and emails from mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging idiots incapable of figuring out the simplest things on their own.
I did finally get my wish, and already my life is nothing like it was a year ago. Not only that, I didn't make some lame-ass incremental move, like from a guy who fields moronic questions about databases to a guy who fields soul-crushingly stupid questions about websites. It was something completely unexpected, which was wonderful in a way.
It started one morning when I grabbed my coat and gym bag from the laundry room in the usual daily struggle to get out of the house on time. I didn't really notice it until I got in the car, but there was an overpowering smell, like a very strong chemical banana smell. I had no idea what was going on, but I think one of those plug-in air-fresheners had accidentally exploded all over my coat. It made me woozy and I rolled down the car windows in the sub-zero temperatures.
That didn't really help, and the fumes killed a lot of my brain cells, zapping away a lot of the higher functions that had been lying dormant for years anyway. It was kind of like a Terry Schiavo moment for my intellect. I am sort of sorry not to be able to think about the kind of complex things I never really got to think about at my former job anymore, but now I have a higher purpose.
I had several lost weeks, wandering on the streets in a semi-conscious air-freshening state. I really made the crackhouse I hung out in at my lowest point a lot more livable. Kids on the street started calling me 'The Freshner'. 'He's so Fresh, He's the Freshner, Fresher than the man Hans Messner'. I think they were making fun of me, but they gave up and left me alone because there aren't really any good rhymes for 'Freshner'.
I moved on from the crack house, because my work there was done. I taught the residents a valuable lesson about taking pride in your dwelling space, so that the freshness would live on long after the crack they were smoking there neutralized the effects of my fumes.
My next home was the public library. An elderly librarian noticed my talents and took me under his wing. He told me I had a gift, and I had a responsibility to use this gift to benefit humanity and fight evil, or at least musty dank or generally unpleasant smells. He would also touch me a lot more than I was really comfortable with.
Around this time I was tracked down by my former employer. They called me and laid the sob story on me. They were too cheap to pay anybody anything near the market rate to do my old job. They begged me to come back, ignoring my inability to construct full and grammatically correct sentences and my tendency to space out for a minute or two at random times in the conversation. They were so desperate that I felt sorry for them and agreed to a meeting.
This was a really stupid move, but as I said before, the same chemicals which gave me my new found freshening powers also really fucked up my brain.
Sometimes when a person comes home from a long vacation, they notice the smell of their house, which they are unaware of while living there day after day. This can be disturbing when a strange smell makes itself known. This is exactly what happened when I walked into my old place of employment after being away for so long. When I met with my old colleagues the odor was even more pronounced, and I recognized it as the funk of desperation and failure. I knew what I had to do: I would hide under the conference room table while they conducted interviews. This damning smell would be masked, and candidates would not be scared away. I was NOT going to come back to work for them, though. Not even part time. I'd seen people do that and get suckered into going back to full time gradually.
This plan was successful, and after a handful of interviews a replacement had been found. I had saved the day. Of course, he would pretty much figure out on his own what a horrible mistake he had made in time, but as John Maynard Keynes said, in the long run we're all dead, so cut me a break. As I walked out, never to return, people who had paid me no notice for years asked each other 'who was that man who smells like one of those Renuzit things?' 'Let's call him 'The Freshner!' 'That's a good name for him!'
I am sure there's a question in everyone's mind right now: how am I making any money doing all this? Well, as with social media experts and Internet gurus, I don't actually make any money doing this, I make all my money as a motivational speaker. The freshening activities are brand-building efforts. In these days having your own personal micro-brand is very important.
Next time: The Freshner! negotiates an end to years of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and solves NBC's even more intractable 'Leno problem'.