Imaginary jobs (series intermission)

I don’t know about you, but that last post left me feeling kind of hungover and weepy (another law firm: “Hung & Weepy” – this is a fun game). I still have much more to tell you, and I will, but I need to limber up and regroup a bit first, and also probably give you some space to absorb all that I am springing on you. (You: “Welcome back, Nicole, but oh my god…”)

Walking the talk is logistically harder than it sounds. There are so many moving parts.

So let’s lighten things up a bit. (And believe it or not, this does tie in to the overall theme of reinventing myself, or becoming who I was all along, or whatever the hell this transformation is.)

For years I have kept a running list called “Imaginary Jobs.” It is pretty self-explanatory. I am fairly certain they don’t all make sense outside my own head, and I don’t expect you to think all of them are as funny as I do, but I am going to share them with you anyway.

Here they are, to date:

In-Law Buffer: Hire myself out to attend various functions and keep the obnoxious person nobody likes occupied so that everyone else can have a good time. Test audiences have loved this one.

Hospice Circus* (Home of the Crying-on-the-Outside Clown): Founded with my friend The Fairly Godmother over drinks at The Blue Monk, where we laughed so hard at our own brilliance we drew a crowd of people who wanted to know what we were talking about (including one gross rando who kept trying to convince Fairly to go to a strip club with him), and then they either didn’t get it or were appalled when we told them our emerging business plan: “Three rings of Death Affirming Acts! Never a net! We will wear top hats!” Them: “WTF?” Us: “You look confused AND mortified! Perfect!” (Also, no, Fairly did not go to a strip club that night. If only rando had invited her to go to a mortuary in a clown car… – Ed.)

(*Variation, with a nod to Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) geeks: I am also developing Circus Vagus, based on polyvagal theory, which, you guessed it, will feature Fight!, Flight!, Freeze! demonstrations (that was too easy…). Also, souvenir Window of Tolerance squeegees.)

Biddy ’round the City: Based on actual events. Provide joy rides in a convertible sports car for residents of assisted living facilities, so that next time they sit in a circle of folding chairs to play “The Reminiscing Game,” they can talk about what a great time they had yesterday instead of something that happened forty years ago. I’d keep a selection of billowy silk scarves and aviator goggles in the glove compartment. Each ride would end with a stop for an ice cream cone, and I would follow up with a picture of us from that day with the caption, “In cahoots.” (CAHOOTS would also be my personalized license plate.) I already know there would be a waiting list a mile long.

Marzipets: Hatched in 2004, when my cube-neighbor and now-best-friend and I were still getting to know each other. She invited me over to watch an AbFab marathon one night, and we ended up sitting on her apartment floor playing with modeling clay for several hours and multiple episodes. An unspoken friendly competition ensued as we both discovered that we took our frivolous sculptures very seriously. Her not-yet-husband brought us drinks and snacks (“You guys are so CUTE!”). We decided people should send us photos of their pets and we would make them out of marzipan. We laughed until our faces hurt. That was the day I knew this was someone very special in my life.

Purse Dog Liberation, Inc.: Nonprofit occupational therapy program for small dogs with legs that are atrophied from being carried around in handbags all the time. (Note the acronym is pronounced “piddly.”)

Portable Soapbox: A heavy wooden box on casters that I would wheel to unlikely locations pop-up style (i.e. “How did you get that thing to the top of this mountain?”), and, for $1 per minute, invite people to stand on it and make proclamations about What Matters. For an additional fee I’d film them for YouTube. I would keep a shepherd’s crook handy to enhance the nomad aesthetic and also to yank people off in case someone was inappropriate. There would be a leather bound guest book, with gilded pages and an ostrich quill pen and an inkwell, which I would carry in an elaborate case. Imagine the Instagram for this one, not to mention the Portable Soapbox podcast.

Baby Shower DJ: There I am with headphones around my neck, holding one side up to my ear with my shoulder, spinning a Johnny Cash/Elizabeth Mitchell mashup of You Are My Sunshine. I notice a single mom across the room mouthing the second verse. We make eye contact. I wink, flash her a sly smile…

Atheist Martyr: Throwing myself on the pyre for no reason whatsoever.

Mime Your Own Business Neighborhood Mediation Services: Silently annoy disputing neighbors into breaking down (invisible) walls through pantomime, thus, facilitating their cooperation with each other through their mutual disdain of me. “SEE? You have something in common,” I’d gesture, following them around and pretending to capture them with an invisible lasso until they retreated to their respective homes. The Nextdoor comments alone would be totally worth it. A caveat is I am not entirely sold on the boatneck full-body leotard.

(Mis)guided Imagery Facilitator: With a soothing voice and a bamboo flute, instruct participants to close their eyes and “focus on the breath” as I take them into a deeply peaceful meditative state of openness and relaxation. Then, WHAM! “Oh my god that beach you are walking on!! You just fell in a sinkhole!! The tide is coming in!!! Get out!!! Hurry!!!” This is a form of forced empathy for those who think mindfulness is risk-free that perhaps only those with us with PTSD might appreciate fully.

Bobo the Geriatric Care ChickenAll the assessments and services of a Geriatric Care Manager, except I would do it wearing a yellow feathered chicken suit. If you’re telling someone they can no longer live safely in their own home, you should look as far from The Grim Reaper as possible. And we all know that The Grim Reaper would not be named “Bobo.” It’s about building trust – the importance of the therapeutic alliance and so on.

Grave Dancing Unfunerals: Officiant for events commemorating the Nearly Beloved and the Finally Departed. We’ve already talked about this one. I think there is a real market here.


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