Memoirs Of The Jobless
Real True Confessions With Padre Pienbique
In the summer of 1996, Jason Fladager and I were enjoying a rare treat, a string of days with which we had nothing better to do that get in my landlords 70-something Dodge hippie bus and hit the dusty trail to catch the remnants of a great band on tour. The band called themselves The Other Ones. Although they has recently suffered the loss of some guitarist (the name escapes me), they felt they still had something left to prove, so they went on tour with a bunch of their friends that had bands, billed it as a festival, and did the best they could with what they had left.
Jason and I were standing in line to enter Deer Creek in the hot noonday sun when the acid we ate began to take hold. With the giddy glee of a kid on Christmas, Jason turned to me half-joking and half-something else, giggling Bobbys gonna play! Ha-ha-haaaaaaa! It was at this unassuming and innocent moment that some chic turned around, feigned like she was going to say something in addition to Js proclamation, then proceeded to puke a half-gallon of I-dont-know-what on Fladagers leg.
Somewhere in between trying not to laugh too hard and not throwing up myself, I spied the back of her friends Grateful Dead t-shirt. It read like a laundry list of rock-n-roll deeds, calculated and categorized like the stat sheet from Grand Theft Auto:
(If you need the actual numbers, go check the back of your closet for the shirt. If you never bought one, chances are someone left theirs after a party. You just havent gotten around to washing it yet. And just guessing buy the smell, you ought to)
Anyway, after Jason regained composure (actually, he coolly kept that- along with his breakfast), he looked at me, pointed to the shirt, and said (with puke still dripping into his Birks) Think well ever have noteworthy stats like that?
Fast-forward to present day. Now that my band has decided to take a well-earned hiatus (I had to look up the spelling in the dictionary, as I never thought I would need to learn the word), I spent a little time cruising around the Big Wus site compiling the numbers that we racked up.
Although nobody died, thus my band hasnt seen its last shows by any measure, weve earned some pretty gaudy numbers on our own time:
9 Big Wu Family Reunions
70+ Original Songs
23,280 Songs Played
500,000+ Miles Traveled On Tour
1/2 a Nickel Mine In Guitar Strings Used
1,000,000 Drunken Post-Show Fights
Even More Friends Made and
An Uncountable Number of Fans Cheered With Ice-Cold, Fully Kreausened Old Style Beers
Dan Marino and Brett Favre wouldnt mind posting such digits. The big difference is that theyve become millionaires and were not. On the other hand, Favre and the Big Wu do share one thing- Even though Green Bay Brett says he doesnt imbibe the nectar of the chumps anymore, Im sure he has plenty of fuzzy memories to share, if only he could remember.
Yet, after all these accomplishments, the time had come to take a break.
Despite several pleas of mercy directed towards my wife, she remains resolute that I should bring money home so we can pay for the house (didnt we already buy that? Guess not.), dog food, and something she refers to as dinner.
Meanwhile, Im standing here thinking, Damn woman, Im broke! And now you want me to pay for Hey! Were out of beer!
It was then that she sat me down and explained about money, jobs, economics, mortgages, life, and yes, dinner. And I thought I just had to put the magic money card in the machine to buy lobster tails and New York strip steaks like usual.
Since it had been at least fifteen years since I filled out a job application, let alone needed a job, I asked myself: What the hell is I want to do with my time? (Actually, I thought of the Neidermeyer from Animal House cameo in the Twisted Sister video: What do you want to do with your life?)
Actually, the question was, What am I- if anything- qualified to do?
Lets see, thats a tough one. Possible attention-grabbing intro sentences for a resume went through my head. High-functioning 24-hour power sinner with advanced skills in telling inappropriate jokes seeks to empower your company by No good. Maybe: _Unemployed deviant available for full-time scapegoating- Hire me to take the blame! _
My wife, whom besides being smarter than me, is gainfully employed, suggested that I try my hand at things I might be good at. You like writing, dear. she said. What about teaching some bass lessons? I looked at my hands _Hmmmmm. _ Why not try cooking? You love that, and if Anthony Bordaine has anything to say about life in kitchens, youll be surrounded by the breed of degenerates youre so comfortable with.
She has a point.
While considering her advice in the throne room, where theres a pile of outdated magazines to thumb through, I spotted one of those Onion-esque sidebars in a Time that that encapsulates the mysteries of life on half a page. The caption at the top asked: How much time at work does it take to make a $1000?
Now, Im just as curious as anyone else. Although I wasnt shocked at the numbers I read, thought you might be interested in what they revealed. To make a cool grand while working for the man, the following spend this much time:
Howard Stern- 24 seconds
Dr Phil- 2 min, 42 seconds
Brad Pitt 4 min, 48 seconds
Kobe Bryant 5 min, 30 seconds (Does date rape count as working?)
As for the regular working stiffs in America:
Doctor (G.P.) 13 hours, 5 minutes
Cop/Teacher 43 Hours
Farmer 57 Hours (Yet must feel longer while listening to the country station while plowing the back-forty)
Janitor 103 Hours
Note that Time Sidebar Editor wasnt included among this list. Neither was Drug Dealer
After conning Erick Sommers, my partner in crime, to help me with my resume (another word I had to look up in the dictionary), I pasted together a rather good-looking list of professional deeds. So what then?
Erick suggested that go look around on craigslist.com, a free bulletin board on the net. Within minutes, he laughed and showed me: Online forum looking for conservative writer for part-time contributions. Send resume to
Although I dont know if the word conservative fits, I surely qualify for libertarian. Close enough. I emailed my little package. Soon enough, I received a reply.
Great! I got a bite. It turns out that the idea of internet forums goes beyond band gossip and sex chat rooms. (Ive got to check one of these out sometime. It just sounds too good to be true, like open season for my inner-joker.) This opportunity, unlike some others to be described later, was for real.
Like anything on the web (present column included), the value of a sites content is only as good as the traffic it creates. With a good bit of help from folks on the Wus list-serve, I posted a plea for folks to chime in on the topics I commentated upon. Perhaps it was my good fortune that Planet Manhattans version of dumb & dumber (Mayor Mikey Bloomberg and Head Honcho of Health Thomas Frieden) decided to outlaw donuts, pizza, tempura and french fries. As Minneapolis is the epitome of well-intentioned liberal goofiness (Minnesota Republicans could pass as Democrats anywhere else in the country), posting a piece on the insanity of banning food properly cooked in heart-stopping (yet trans-tasty!) fat provoked an absurd number of people.
Replies came out of the woodwork-
_The Big Bad Gubment’s not trying to take away your hamburger. They’re just saying to the restaurant, ‘hey, why don’t you NOT soak that burger in poison before giving it to your customer?’ _
_To those who would eliminate all governmental ‘interference’ in our food industry: _
say goodbye to farm and crop subsidies
_say goodbye to the FDA giving a crap whether the food or medicine you put in your body will make you violently ill. _
_So forgive me if I don’t see the crime and horror in the one force whose function it is to speak for and protect the people (the gov’t) standing up to Big Business and saying, ‘peddle your poison elsewhere.’ _
While Ill save my rebuttals for the forum, I couldnt help but notice I just landed another dream gig: Padre Pienbique, Professional Asshole. Note that Im embracing this. Its an astute title. After all, I AM an asshole, just ask any of my band mates, General of Jam Jon Schwartz (wholl dole out unbearable punishment when he finds out Im late submitting my column, again) or my wife.
What makes this so lovely is the fact that Im actually paid for this. And what a damn fine asshole I am.
Although Im a full-time prick, the pay is part time. Best add more gigs to the roster.
It was at this time that Willie Waldman, trumpeter and natural-born madman rang my phone. Hey man! Chaney just quit Panic Channel! Call Perkins! For your information, the Chaney he referred to was the bass player for what had become of Janes Addiction- same band, different singer. Knowing Stephen Perkins (Janes/Panic Channel drummer) from Banyan, I rang him up for an audition. Dude, were auditioning four guys on Friday. Call me Saturday.
I rang as he requested, but the vacancy had been filled. This didnt come as too much of a surprise. Hollywood ought to be full of cats that can rip it up on bass. And if Perkins and Navarro dont know anybody that lives in LA that can walk the walk for Panic Channel, then they deserve me.
Hey, if it goes wrong, youre the first on the list. Perkins offered. As playing bass in any formation of Janes Addiction happens to be on my to-do short list, Ill wait, but I wont hold my breath
Next idea- Bass lessons.
Somewhere in the halls of rock-n-roll its written: Those who cant play guitar play bass. Those who cant get paid to play the bass, give bass lessons. Now, it has been a good long time since I last taught bass guitar. Bill Clinton was the president and the Other Ones were still seen as fresh. As for payment, I felt a little guilty charging ten bucks, so I used to tell students they could pay me in 12 packs of Old Style. (Most of my payment was drank by student and teacher alike during the lessons. Sending my charges to the beer store before school started was really just a clever way to save time.)
I slapped an ad up on craigslist.com, hoping to catch a few folks that were euchring Santa for a bass under the Christmas tree. Theres little hope one could pay off a mortgage by teaching Iron Man, but if nothing else, teaching bass is fun and everybody seems to get off on it, so whats the harm?
My first mistake was forgetting the rule of thumb for doing business of any kind: If somethings offered for free, its worth every penny.
Instead of any legit inquiries from prospective students, I received an email from a woman in Mexico that didnt want her two kids to be left to their own devices when they arrive in Minnesota for a month long visit. Here, you read it:
_This is Amanda Hayes from the Mexico,2 of my children will be coming for an holiday in the United State, and i won’t want them to be too playful during their holiday, so i just want to know if they can always come to you every afternoon. So that you teach them great things in Bass. Get back to me as soon as possible to know If you can render your services to my children. I would want you to get back to me with the cost of your teaching for the period of this stated days from 20th Dec. – Jan. 26th excluding Christmas And New Year break, and also your preferred lesson hours. _
_Looking forward to read from you soon. _ (This should have been the first hint that something was seriously amiss, but Ive got nothing better to do, so I entertained her email. Could you give them instruction everyday? she asked. Yes I relied. How much are lessons? she wrote back. $25 a lesson, just like the ad said I wrote back. And so on, back and forth, for a couple of days.
While this is going on, I receive another inquiry. This time, it from dig this- a man claiming to be a Czech diplomat stationed in that cosmopolitan center of international commerce, Kansas. However, it wasnt bass lessons he was interested in. He wanted me to fly to Kansas and teach his two kids English for a weekend. For this, he and his wife were happy to pay me a $1000.00, plus expenses. Once again:
_i was looking trough your advert, I just taught you might be interested, we are actually looking for a private English language teacher who is good in basic communication skills in English…...i am a diplomat from Czech and i ve 2 kids….15 yrs and 11 yrs of age….we just relocated into kansas united states on official basis and my kids really need to learn how to speak english language fluently, because they need to start school soon their english speaking is not so poor,
i will be willing to employ your service for just a day probably a weekend , also i will like to inform you that all necessary arrangement will be taking care of if you are not in kansas….......E.g flight ticket. note that this job is open to anyone regardless of your prof! fesion, or degree.if you interested in this job pls get back to us_
As dumb as I am, this was too much. Without examining anything else about these emails, I had to ask myself: Why is a Mexican named Amanda Hayes and Czech diplomat named Luis Bowman contacting me to perform the most far-fetched duties? What are the odds that two foreigners wanted to hire someone they never met to teach their kids anything short internet fraud? It doesnt take much to guess that right after I agree to accept payment upfront for lessons, theyll ask for my bank account number to wire the cash to.
But before I could wrap my head around utter foolishness of this, yet another foreigner, this time a Belgian, wanted me to tutor his you guessed it- two kids. What he wanted my to teach them, I dont know. For your amusement:
_Dear Sir/Ma, _
_I am very glad to contact you, my name is Stephen Bechtel, and presently Im in Belgium with my family. I saw your advert, which facilitate my purpose of contacting you. _
_I just mail to confirm if my 12yrs old/ 7th grade twins (Paul & Peter), that will be back soon can join you in your tutorial so that you can help me offer them lesson. I so much would love their dreams to come true as they will love to become the best two in whatever they love doing and I am ready to support them morally and financially. _
_I will want to know little about your background and your current Resume if available. Also, will like you to give me the price of the tutor per hour. Note that they once had a teacher, who lost his wife in a car accident and decided to stop teaching in order to take proper care of his family. _
_Additionally, please give me your address, so that I can have idea of where the lessons will be taking place. _
_Looking forward to hearing from you. _
_Best Regards, _
At least this clowns last name sounded as if it might have originated from within a thousand miles of his alleged place of origin. But Im not seeing any inappropriate js in his name, so fuck that. Besides, their not even promising me half of twenty-million dollars if I help them liberate the frozen bank account in Nigeria. Holy low-balling, Batman!
If theres anything in the world that I hate, its con artists. Its hard enough to make an honest living in a scheming world, and these cocksuckers are the worst of the bottom feeders. Theyre easily worse than agents, worse than record schmucks, and hell, even worse than bandmates. Whether theyre Jesus-spewing TV preachers in bad suits bilking senior citizens out of their social security or vote-grabbing candidates in even cheaper rags, they all deserve to burn in hell. The internet has spawned a whole new breed of huckster, as unoriginal as they are retarded. As soon as one starts hitting up suckers, two more jump on with even more ridiculous versions of the original.
I ran out of patience with this shit. I decided to hit back before they got too far with their plans. I figured if theyve got their next few moves planned out, (please send bank information so we can transfer money) I could head them off at the pass swinging a bigger bat. So I called the FBI.
This isnt the kind of thing I would usually do for fun, but kicks are hard to find these days. After I dug out a number for the Minneapolis office, I dialed and waited. And waited some more. Twenty-seven rings later, a shrill and bored lady answered the phone. I explained the situation, saying that I would be more than happy to go downtown and reply to their emails on what I assumed to be a super-duper email-tracing FBI computer. Whenever the culprit answered, I was hoping Moulder and Scully would jump out on the scene, guns blazing, busting the scumbags on sight.
But this wasnt the case. I was informed with that annoying, by-the-book protocol-or-bust tone of voice that cases like this must be filed on the FBI website before any follow up can be initiated. No problem.
After filling out the blank spaces and detailing the suspect shenanigans on the FBI internet crime reporting site, I sent it in. This is what appeared in my email box:
_Complaint Status: _
_The IC3 receives thousands of complaints each month and does not have the resources to respond to inquiries regarding the status of complaints. It is the IC3’s intention to review all complaints and refer them to law enforcement and regulatory agencies having jurisdiction. Ultimately, investigation and prosecution are at the discretion of the receiving agencies. _
In short: Call the cops, as were too broke to deal with this.
Now Im not in the least bitter; Im sure they have better things to do than sweat a crime that has yet to be committed. In the interest of documenting suspect activity, they advise you to add to your report if you have any further statements. I thought I would copy and paste the emails I received, just in case someone got bored enough to look. However, this is where things go from stupid to useless: After pasting copies of all the emails, I hit the submit button. One second later an error message popped up: Error: No more than 8,000 characters allowed.
Now, come on! If the average word has five letters, then youre expected to detail a complaint to the FBI in less than 1400 words barely an intro if youre attempting to describe the intricacies of a felony. As if the FBI has to pay out of their budget for every sentence written. Why dont they just post: Wanted- Osama Bib Laden. If you know where he is or what hes up to, describe in a thousand words or less what you know. (Creativity counts!)
I gave up.
Well, almost. Times are tough, and Im sure that Im not the only one in need of some bread. If youre so inclined to join my unemployment, Ill share these rock-solid opportunities with you. Since you shouldnt have to personally deal with these- Ill take their email surnames for what they are, yahoos- feel free to email any of these folks with employment offers of your own:
Simply sign in to a very special free email account I created for you to use:
EMAIL ACCOUNT: firstname.lastname@example.org
USER NAME: liarthatlies
SUGGESTED SUBJECT LINE: Lessons
Remember, creativity does count, no matter what the FBI says. While you may be a little skeptical that by logging on to the email Ive set up, youre participating in something thatll backfire, let me assure you: These people are honest-to-goodness piles of human feces. They prey on the ignorant and fleece the innocent. Besides, Ill put in writing that:
I, Andrew D. E. Miller, a/k/a Padre Pienbique, take full responsibility for the good natured fun poked at these confidence artists. Neither jambands.com, nor Relix magazine, nor anyone but me is liable for inciting these pieces of human garbage. If they have a beef, legal or otherwise, they are free to contact me through normal email connections the same way they reach out and rip off someone theyve never met.
If youre shy on ideas for content, let me provide a couple of my own, just cut and paste:
_Hi. Im a drug-addicted high school dropout with a predilection for kiddy porn. Due to unfortunate political unrest in the United States of America, Im looking to film two children engaged in unspeakable acts in your great nation of Mexico. Ill be happy to wire you Mexican funds to your bank account as a down payment for rental of your kids. _
_Viva Mexicali Blues! _
Kim Ill Jung, North Dakota
email@example.com (Czech Republic)
_Hello- You may not know me, but I am a long-lost relative of yours, descended from a long line of Czech royalty, split off from the 18th century nobles known as Bowman. I know you must be skeptical as many, many Czech families share the name Bowman, but I would be happy to pay you a $1000.00 if youll host my family so we can pimp your two children out to Mexican film makers. Long live the Bowman name! Please send bank account information back to me and Ill wire the cash ASAP. _
_Adolph Emilio Yazuki Archibald Pickledick Bowman, esq. _
_Greetings, Im replying to your inquiry concerning the tutoring of your children. Ive always believed that involving children in the arts- especially the cinematic thespian theatre- is essential to ensuring a creative and financial future to fuel my meth habit. If youll send your bank information, my wife and I (along with a Mexican camera crew) will accommodate your youngsters with hands-on training Long live the Belgian dip! _
_Yours in Christ, _
_Stoljen Yankinmyjchain Loserjchump _
In the interest of getting the best of these losers, please dont delete any of the mail in you may find in the yahoo box. Im looking forward to reading any responses they send. Ill save the best of them for next months column. Besides, these folks work very hard to skin chumps. Lets have a little fundont spoil the joke. Amen.
Lets be careful out there
Enjoy the holidays, be nice to your mother, and drink your milk!