As a very young girl I aspired to have long, painted fingernails and work as a cashier at Glaser’s drugstore in my neighborhood. It was my dream job! I loved the sound and the look of those long, red, fingernails clicking away on a register and picking up each item and entering a price that always ended in .99. Such a sad dream that would never come to fruition due to the fact that I have man hands and an inability to grow long fingernails and on the one occasion where fake nails were applied, I looked like a cross dresser.
When I reached my teens and could get a job, I ended up at Schnucks grocery store as a bagger. Great skill building position to have…in no time at all I knew where to locate SPAM and horseradish and yell paper or plastic with a smile. Being tall, I was also utilized by the vertically challenged folks, to reach items off the top shelf.
My next career move took me to Purina Mills, courtesy of my Dad who worked a deal with a fraternity brother. I wore a hard hat, jeans, and safety glasses and made rat poison, horse chow, and utter ointment. Finally I was sentenced to an obscure part of the factory that was leased for another purpose. For the rest of the summer I was making Sani Flush Toilet Pucks for people in Taiwan. I literally turned blue every single day from product dust and worked on a line next to an ex con who called me “sweet meat”. I have to share that the ex con and I bonded and set an all time record for most pucks produced in one shift.
The next summer I landed a great gig via the secretary at my high school, working as a manager at Joe’s Car Wash! And you guys thought I lacked drive and determination! The truly funny part is that I lacked a driver’s license! I could detail a car with Q-tips, toothbrushes and tar remover but I couldn’t move them! I became an expert about car waxes and I took on the mission of educating car owners about the dangers of Armour All overuse. I did achieve an incredibly stellar hoosier tan which is always a benefit.
My next two positions involved the Girl Scouts of America….first, Waterfront Director and Head Life Guard at Camp Lakamaga in Big Marine, Minnesota. There I convinced small children that they could not drown during polar bear swims because the water was way too cold and I wasn’t going to jump in to save them. But I did save small children from the berating torment of “Kiwi” my junior lifeguard from New Zealand who came to work in America but clearly hated America and tried to feed me Vegamite before she ditched camp and headed to the grand canyon. But the premier experience gained from this job was my newfound talent...... using a tree trunk to repair a dislocated shoulder….pulling a Lethal Weapon Mel Gibson movie moment if you will. If you are hours away from a physician, and you are in great pain, and you can’t scream because you are surrounded by small children, the tree is your only option.
Camp Cedarledge Program Director in Pevely, Missouri was my next stop…..I was in charge of scheduling daily camp life for 600 children. Head snake remover. Boutros Boutros -Gahli call name on the walkie talkie for weekly, United Nations themed, capture the flag games. Handled all calls from parents who wished their kids were homesick and acted as chief head lice inspector because our narcoleptic nurse tended to fall asleep during inspections(totally not kidding).
I know what you are thinking….Rachael has done it all and she could go back to any of them! Oh but wait…my first real job out of college was the best of all. Investigator for Child Support Enforcement in North St. Louis City which is the hood. I was totally naïve and had the Crips or Bloods gang members guarding my car in the parking lot each day, depending on who was winning the war….again, totally not kidding. It was an education unlike any other. "CT", my security guard became a close friend very quickly as he was my only hope when I was meeting with large male clients who wanted to kill me for taking their paychecks or cars. I later learned that "CT" stood for Carmel Thunder….his stage name when he went over to the East side to perform as a stripper to make some real money. There, I truly learned about real life and how incredibly fortunate I am. And then I kissed all of those incredible employment positions goodbye for the best of the best….stay at home motherhood.
You will be shocked to hear that none of my past professions are at all alluring to me. What should I be when I grow up? I ask this out loud at least once a day and most of the time my kids are present and roll their eyes (everyone except Gus because he literally cannot roll his eyes. We’re working on it because I feel that is a necesssary skill for the teen years.) “Mom, you are already a Mom.” I always wanted to be a Mom. I have a great Mom and I grew up watching her and knowing that I wanted to do all of it like her……we do say fart, I've purchased rather than make some Halloween costumes, and I can’t cook so I have added a few things and omitted a few things from Barb’s repertoire but all in all I achieved that goal! I am a Mom to three amazing children who challenge me, inspire me, and bring me more joy than I ever knew possible. They also frustrate the hell out of me and bring me to my knees in worry but evidently that comes with the package.
So I need a little more and I often wonder why I couldn’t get a gig like the guy who opens the show on Iron Chef. I have been told that I have a plastic face capable of many different expressions and I could do some karate moves timed nicely with the ninja sounds that are piped in as he reveals the mystery ingredient. I also think that I am highly qualified to be chief batting helmet shiner for the St.Louis Cardinals baseball team. It’s always been a pet peeve of mine that major league baseball players have pine tarred, ugly helmets when it’s so beautiful to see a nice clean shiny helmet under the lights of a ballpark. I don't think the position really exists.
I’ve often wondered if I’m destined to be a greeter at Wal Mart….but then I realize that my cankles would be massive if I had to stand all day and my back would go out if I had to tackle a shoplifter. I toyed with the idea of being a professional organizer…the “Crap Fairy”. I would show up in my “CrapWaggon” (a vintage green Ford Grand Torino) wearing my fairy wings and Converse high tops, and while families are at work and school, I would commence with crap removal and crap organization. But then the paparazzi would reveal a picture of my very own basement which is in need of a crap fairy visit and everyone would realize I’m a fake and the gig would be up.
After further review I might have all aspects of my dream jobs already in hand….I like to type on the computer even if it is without long painted fingernails. I do reveal mystery ingredients each night at dinner to my own family only because they can’t recognize what I’ve prepared. I don’t shine up batting helmets, but God knows that I do enjoy a nice shine on my stainless steel frig. And finally, I am my own personal crap fairy. All I really need to do is paint my fingernails, yell "Allez Cuisine" while presenting my crappy dinners and put on fairy wings when I am de-cluttering my own house. I have a Psychology degree from Quincy University and that little fact right there explains this predicament of vocation dysfuntion in its entirety. Maybe I should be a life coach!