Jobs that blow
August 23, 2012 | 11:00 am
(Updated: February 22, 2013 | 5:55 pm)
Mr. Waste celebrated another birthday this year. Funny how that happens. It was a significant one. How old? Well, I am 29 in drag years. He is five years younger. You do the math.
In an effort to take back the Colorado House of Representatives majority in the fall, Mr. Waste threw a “party with a purpose” with guests donating for fall campaigns to unseat Republicans. Passing civil unions in Colorado will be the best birthday gift of all for 2013.
Towards the end of the patio soiree at Jake’s Food & Spirits, some of Denver’s movers and shakers were conjuring up memories of some of the strangest jobs they’ve ever performed.
Tony Smith, Marketing and Operations Director for the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, once dressed up in a skin-tight purple spandex body suit with a round purple globe over his head. He ran around a convention hall dressed as an exclamation point mascot for a computer software company. Needless to say, the company is no longer in business. Thank goodness Tony still is.
Tony’s husband, Jim Peterson, spent a summer as half-lifeguard, half-groundskeeper in Minnesota. One day his boss told the crew to come in early the next morning. They were to ask no questions and tell no one about what would happen. When Jim showed up, all the kids were handed shotguns and spent the day shooting the river rats living under the gardening shed.
As a young child, Dr. Mark Thrun of Denver Health was up at 4 a.m. vacuuming the Macy’s, Sears and Montgomery Ward department stores across the Metropolitan area. His dad had purchased a cleaning business and made his kids do all the grunt work. Every once in a while a stray belt or ladies undergarment would get sucked up into the vacuum. When asked about the missing inventory, Mark would feign ignorance.
Mark’s husband Geoffrey Bateman, now a professor at the University of Denver, spent one summer working for a chain-smoking alcoholic florist. You would think being around all those fresh plants and flowers would have inspired his boss to be more health-conscious, but not so much. She spent most of time screeching at her employees in her nicotine bassoon voice to fetch her another bottle of booze off the top shelf.
Nita Henry, Executive Director at The Kaleidoscope Project, painted hundreds of yamakas for themed bar mitzvahs. Pretty unique in and of itself. Her boss let her keep the yamakas she messed up and she still has them stored away. Anyone in need of some Sponge Bob skullcaps?
Nita’s friend Peju, who came over to the United States from Haiti, landed her first job in a Greek restaurant in New York City. Her job? Standing in a walk-in freezer that had a broken handle. The freezer door could only be opened from the inside, so Peju was there. Having come from the warm tropics, this sudden change in temperature and career was not to last long. Every time someone wanted into the freezer, a red light and buzzer would go off and Peju would open the door. What she didn’t know was that she was not alone in the freezer. When her boss crept up on her from behind in that cold meat locker, she high-tailed it out of there.
Have a strange job that can top those? Email it to me and I’ll pick the craziest for a Nuclia Waste prize pack.
What’s my craziest job? Well, you would think traveling the globe as Nuclia Waste would be crazy enough. But Holly Kyleberg, owner of the top floors of the downtown D&F Clocktower, hired me last Christmas for a holiday wedding reception up inside the clockworks. I was to play Mrs. Santa Claus, having guests sit on my lap, taking photos and telling me what they really wanted.
When it came time for the bride and groom to take their turn, they both got quite frisky on my lap. Not with each other – with me. Then they both invited me back to their hotel room for a ménage à trios honeymoon. I declined and continued to enjoy the rest of the night drinking champagne, mingling with the guests and being a ho, ho, ho. And to think I get paid to do this. I love my life.