What My Diary Might Have Looked Like When I Worked in a Small Fishing Lure Factory in Northern California
by Dan Kennedy
I get really sick of Randy. He’s the one that they’ve stuck me with all week. He ties the skirts on ½ oz spinner baits most of the day while I count the Fat Gitzits ™ into piles of 25. He makes the most futile attempts at being funny. I heard Nancy (another story altogether) talking to him in the break-room and he was saying that he was going to be trying some stand-up comedy at an open mic night at this sports bar downtown soon. I was sorting out the Fat Gitzits ™ and he looked at them and asked me if I “Had any smoke?”
I handed him a bag of 25 smoke colored Fat Gitzits ™ and he started laughing really hard saying how they were “Really gonna screw up his bong” and the more I didn’t laugh, the harder he laughed, and with even more determination. Like, that hard-ass/stoner laugh where you think he’s going to fight you if you don’t start laughing, so I faked a small laugh that you could tell was totally sarcastic. That was enough for him to tell everyone he was “Making me crack up” while I was trying to count out my 25’s.
Today I came in early, because I like the feeling it gives me when the others file in at 9:30 and my table is already lined out with 25's of Gitzits ™ and Lil' Bits™.
So I got in at 7:30 in the morning, and nobody shows up until after 10:00. When Randy and Steve came in, Randy looked at my table and said "What the hell are you, some kind of lawyer?" I had no idea why he would call me a lawyer just because I was so far ahead in my work already. So I kind of smiled (Fake) and said "What's that?" and he got that hard-ass look and said "Now you're trying to get me to say something for the jury, huh? Sorry chief… no luck. You lose!!!" He started laughing hard and Steve started laughing when he saw that Randy thought this was funny. I just kept counting and then Sandy came in and she stuck a Marlboro in her mouth. Crammed it in right next to the missing side tooth that makes her look like the kind of witch on a cheap Halloween decoration from one of the discount stores around here. She asked what was so funny, and Steve repeated the so-called joke COMPLETELY WRONG! He said, "Danny has been in here all morning working and so when we came in Randy asked him of he needs a lawyer and then he goes 'The jury says you lose, Judge!" Sandy started cracking up, and Steve was laughing even harder than the first time. I just took out another big box of Motor Oil color Lil' Bits ™ (#LB 003) and split the box for counting. I shook my head hoping that I would seem kind of like a bad-ass that thought they were fools, but for some reason it made me feel like I was their Aunt who thought they were "Nutty kids" or something. I hated standing there feeling like a big, round, warm-hearted, woman counting four inch plastic worms.
Sometimes I hate being here, but the fact of the matter is…when I’m counting 25’s or putting the “Living Rubber” strands through the tops of plastic crawdads (SoftCrawz™), I feel at peace. Rare for me, and so I need it. I hate being distracted, and so today when Randy played his game it really pissed me off. His big funny game is in this: He takes an Uncle Josh ™ Pork Frog (UJ#11) and hangs it out of the zipper on his pants, and then he walks around to everybody’s work station and acts like nothing is wrong. Steve follows not far behind him, cracking up the whole time…which, one could argue, ruins the whole “What? What’s everybody laughing at? What?” effect that Randy is working so hard to create with his performance. So he made his way first to Steve’s work table, where Steve falls for it as if he’s never seen it before (Randy does this gag at least once a week.), and then gets up while he’s laughing so hard and then starts following Randy around. Then Randy went over to Nancy’s table. She rolled her eyes and wanted to laugh, but she had that Marlboro stuck in her tooth-hole like she does every minute of her life and so her brain and body were forced to choose between carbon monoxide or laughing, and they chose the carbon monoxide, leaving her to try and appreciate Randy’s Uncle Josh ™ Pork Frog crotch gag by pulling her face back into her neck, rolling her eyes, and blowing some smoke out her nose. When he (they) came over to me, I simply kept my count and calmly said “Nice dick, Randy.” Nobody was laughing. Steve was still following him, but I didn’t hear him cracking up. I looked up and everybody had looks of hard ass/stoner disgust on their faces.
Today I spent a lot of time daydreaming about inventing a new lure that gets real popular and makes me rich. Building a better crawdad. Creating a plastic minnow that swims so erratically, fish can’t resist it. I would call my company Better Than God ™ .
The big news at work is that Steve’s band (Smoke and Mirrorz) is playing at the same sports bar downtown where Randy is planning to try standup comedy one of these days. The last story I remember hearing about Smoke and Mirrorz was that Steve (Singer/Drummer) had sex with two girls at once upstairs at the Hootch Hut (“Out by the mall, but, like, a lot of people still go out there to party”.) after a gig they had there. The news of the gig will be the talk of the shop until the gig is over, and then it will be something to reminisce about for the three weeks following, and then it will retire into the folklore file and I’ll only have to hear about it once or twice a year. Randy keeps saying “You should let me get up there and do some comedy to get ‘em warmed up for you guys, dude.” And when he says it, he’s as nervous as a little boy with a crush, albeit a little boy with a pot leaf belt buckle, really poor posture, a smokers hack, and scars from fighting and drinking. But a boy.
Today I started something. Once the Lil’ Bits ™ and Fat Gitzits ™ are counted and put into poly bags, you have to put a header card on them that has our company name and a hole in it so they can be hung on rack displays. Well, you have to fold the header card, and there's just blank white on the inside. So I started writing all of these weird things and signing Randy’s name on the inside before I folded the card over and stapled it. I think when most fishermen open the packs, they just tear that card off, throw it on the trash, and are left with a poly bag of plastic worms, never seeing the card again. But on the very small chance that the should un-staple the card and look inside they might find one of these gems from yours truly:
I celebrate diversity! -- Randy Brawley
Negroes are also God’s children! -- Randy Brawley
I am a pretty doll created by our lord -- Randy Brawley
When the world gets too crazy, I like to curl up with a good book and some soothing tea! -- Randy Brawley
(I stole that last one from a box of herbal tea.)
About the author:
Dan Kennedy lives in Manhattan and has some really bright ideas.