It's about life - not "lifestyle"
As the stories go, this one isn't pretty. It's been a full week now as I write this, and I suppose I'm really still in a state of shock.

The reason you haven't been reading anything in this column lately is that the temp agency I work for got a big customer, one with more work than they could supply workers for. The company runs 24/7, with a warehouse and packing operation that does the same. That's where the temps came in.

The pay isn't good, and the benefits go to the limited number of full time permanent employees. After working there day in and day out for close to two months it seems to me that part of the corporate plan is not to have many permanent workers. You never have to give a temp a raise, and benefits amount to at least 40% of a worker compensation package, so from a slave-holding bossman perspective they have it wired.

I worked for the temp agency, however, and they were desperate to keep the contract, or at least their portion of it, so they asked most of us to work as much as possible. I have a personal limit of 13 days straight; beyond that and anybody can go screw themselves. I waver on this if I like the job or the people, but I still reserve the right. I was somewhere around Day 19, collecting my check from the agency, when I noticed they had a new suite of office furniture. For some reason that triggered my 13 Day Rule, and I told them I couldn't come in the next day, but would be back the day after that (a Monday). The girl took that down and said ok, and off I went.

When I turned up on Monday I was refused admittance to the warehouse and told to contact the agency. I did that, and was told that by not showing up for work on Day 20 I had become unwelcome. They didn't have anything for me that day or the next, but called me in to their office on Wednesday.
I wasn't prepared for what happened next: I got fired from the temp agency! I was told my irresponsibility had made this necessary, and that I had angered the customer who was providing jobs not only for me but for my fellow temp workers, and income for the agency. I was searching my mind for some witty remark and was settling in on asking for a definition of the word "temporary" when I noticed their new office furniture. Ahem. The phrase "Eat me" was on the tip of my tongue but I choked it back and left.

I'm an allright guy, you know, so I figured I'd just go sign on with another temp agency that morning and consider myself way cool if I got some kind of scum work by the next day, sort of an "in your face" thing, but that didn't happen. I had to apply at agencies and they all required my previous work history, and just parting with another agency didn't seem to rub them the right way. For all I know they all go to lunch together once a week.

So I was home by 4 p.m. and waiting for the phone to ring when I thought I'd just blow off a little steam and call it a vacation day. I still had five beers and a bottle of tequila and about 200 channels of cable tv in the house, so I started watching Fox Sports, a show called EX (for extreme or something) that had Brad Gerlach's new team surf competition. I hadn't eaten anything since about 6 in the morning so the beer and tequila started hitting me quickly. The surf contest was ok in an oddball
"rah rah" high school football way, but I'm thinking you have to be there to get into it. As it was I could hardly concentrate, and on top of that there was strong drink and the roommates coming home and strong drink.

After 5 p.m. there was a hour of a show called "You Gotta See This" which really got the juices going. It was Blood Porn, a trashsports snuff film, featuring amatuer racing car wrecks, kids exploding their lower lips skateboarding, some snowboarder pushing his jumps until he makes one and then slides into the front fender of his 4x4 truck. As each atrocity was shown over and over I was getting excited, and I started yelling at the tv. Everyone was laughing for a while but by then I waas nearly blind drunk, and then they started showing Major League Baseball beanball wars, including the infamous game from a couple of seasons ago when all kinds of players and managers got tossed for repeated retaliation. I don't know why, but I was furious, and when yet another pitcher threw intentionally at a batters head and the batter tossed his bat down and charged the mound I went berserk, shouting "Kill that mother%&$ker, use the bat your stupid son of a bitch, do a Gallegher on
his head with the bat you dumb F#@k!!!" A guy wants to throw at someone, throw at their rich fat asses. You throw at my head and I figure I'll kill you for it. Yahh!

Well, it's been pretty warm here in Southern California lately, and most of the windows were open. The people who own the house used to live in it before retiring, and they got calls from nextdoor neighbors and I guess the people over the back fence. Thursday morning found me all alone at the house, brutally hungover with horrible sweats, when the landlord showed up. It took everything I had to calm him down and let me take the blame, and not the guy with the lease. I had to let him look the whole house over to make sure we hadn't turned it into a cathouse or crackhouse, and in the end promised to vacate ASAP.

What the hell. The weather is unseasonably warm right now, and I hear there is plenty of room under the bridge at Malibu.

-Al Kida
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