Thursday, January 7, 2010

Green Giant INC

Last Saturday I pulled into a rest area. I had been driving for two hours straight. I arched my back and crossed my arms behind my head, stretching. I looked to my left as I my mouth gaped for air, yawning. An enormous green statue stood proudly with his hands planted in fists on his hips- big smile spread across his face. I thought back four years, to when I was nineteen. I was a strapping young lad, freshly out of the ranks of matriculated others formerly like myself. I needed a job. Craigslist said that the Green Giant food company was hiring in various positions. After rigorous aptitude testing and a much shorter application I got a call back, and was asked to show up for an interview. I showed up, three minutes early. They said I was so uncharacteristically under-qualified that there is no chance I could ever work in the factory. I felt a little punk'd for showing up but they continued with the conversation..they said a spot as the Jolly Green Giant just opened. After a half an hour of questions they finally came to a conclusion: Your skin is not green enough. I asked: Do I still get paid?

            Four days later I was dressed in a green leafy toga. I worked for a week and a half before being fired for continued neglect to recycle, which was indeed a very green duty, and company policy on top of that. But for that week and a half... I felt massive. My professional title included the word "giant". If there was a top of the job world, I was on it. Or at least at my personal summit.
            Day one I got a tour of the factory. I met all sorts of affable folk of sundry color and dialect. Diversity was promoted, and because of that I thought I should be getting a promotion posthaste, being green and the only of my kind. I brought this up two days before I got fired. Didn't go over too well. I surmise it led to the demise of my job. That and the recycling thing.
            Days two through six I toured schools; an easy first week on the job, they said. I mainly stood around in the corner of the lunch rooms looking rather bumptious and being treated rather rudely. Nothing could slake the students need to make me feel piqued. Fusillades of pejoratives from flocculates of roisterous muckers. Iterations of my effeminacy. By day six I was lassitude and saturnine. The interminable numbers of scapegraces were getting to me. It was not different in any of the schools. Their coteries all became one in the denigration of a green man in tights. At a few of the schools I had to declaim vegetable facts to some of the agriculture classes in addition to my lunchroom duties. Day five came to a close and I thought about my salary number, five digits, yes, and that was enough for me. Day six I tripped one of the children, feeling rather petulant over the whole situation. That..well I suppose that put a coal in the furnace. That and the recycling thing and the jejune request for a raise.
            Days seven and eight were days off. I received these days without makeup, tights or togas. It was refreshing. I visited the YMCA, which was encouraged by my bosses since they said the jolly green giant should appear to be toned, not corpulent, or in my case, emaciated.

I am not that thin, for the record.

            I watched a few episodes of Freaks and Geeks. I made bacon in my one piece raiment of Hanes briefs, crumpled it up in some chicken Ramen and felt like a true bachelor. By day eight, which was a Monday, I was feeling very bored. When I Googled Oprah I knew things were getting out of hand. I almost called my mom but instead I decided I would call into work to see how things were at the office. By the first ring I changed my intention of calling.
            "Green Giant incorporated," said a robot. "If you know your parties extension, please dial it now. If you would like t..."
            Four beeps at my fingers command.
            "Green Giant, this is Tony" said a hurried but jocose and throaty voice in its fifties.
            "Tony. Hello. This is Jerry Atricks calling about your latest lab results from your compulsory heart checkup."
            Silence. I was breathing a little abnormally trying to stifle a laugh.
            "You might as well call your heart Ringo Starr because that thing is beating li.."
            I choked on my word as he cut me off. 'Like' became 'likuhhh'.
            "I will see you tomorrow." Apparently he had caller ID.
            The next day marked the final stretch of days at my job, days nine through eleven. Day nine they had me watching a few training videos. All very boring, all made at least fifteen years ago, all with terrible actors. The final one was on the importance of diversity. Tony came in to wheel the TV away and asked me if I had any questions.
            "As the only green person in the company..."

            Day ten all they wanted me to do was watch the juggle of faxes being passed around the office. The idea was that if things slowed down for the green giant with appearances I could help around the office. Tony came up to me sometime after lunch and pointed at a few papers, explaining what they were. I pointed out a duplicate.
            "Ah yes. That happens sometimes. Just recycle it."
            I crumpled it in a ball and in perfect overhead form, shot the paper ball into Tony’s waste basket, with a flawless rebound off of his mini basketball hoop backboard which was ten feet away. Tony shot daggers at me with his eyes and walked away.
            Day eleven was gloomy to begin with. It was drizzly and I was feeling lazy and tired. I parked in Tony's spot because all of the open spaces were on the other side of the lot. He got to park close every day! I think he could use a good walk now and again as it is. I thought of it as a favor to the both of us. But he didn't. He called me into his office for a "meeting". On my way to his office everyone sent knowing presages in their glances. And do I even need to tell you how it went? They may as well have put me in a kiln. I was fired. Should have seen the auguries from a mile away. I had to turn in my toga and my green clogs and everything. But they let me keep the tights.


  1. Just curious, but was this influenced by personal experience?

  2. Sort of...Hyland was driving somewhere and we pulled into a rest area. I looked out the window and saw the statue. I took a picture. It was raining and kind of distorted a clear view. Then I texted a friend a little bit about how my first job was being the Jolly Green Giant and how I got fired for neglect to recycle. She said, turn it into a story. I said okay and wrote a few paragraphs.

    So, the personal experience was seeing the statue and making the rest up. Haha :)