Friday, April 18, 2008


There was this time in my early twenties,
I was working for this shitty painting company
Who sold franchises to college students.
I’d done all right, made some good money,
But that’s only because
I worked my fuckin’ ass off.
Most other kids ended up
ten or fifteen grand in the hole.
But since I was a ‘solid performer,’
I got hired on as a General Manager.
I’d start in the fall and begin recruiting my men.
“whatever,” I said.
“I just wanna finish this season strong,
Have some money in the bank.”
“yeah, yeah,” the VP nodded, that snake bastard.
I should have known he had his own plans.
The end of the summer came
And there was one weekend left.
They called it the manager’s weekend.
All the franchisees went up to Montreal
And got drunk and blew the little money they’d made,
If they’d made any at all.
Most guys weren’t informed of their outstanding bills
Until they’d gone on this trip and posed for pictures.
Well, I said to hell with that.
I’d calculated that if I went,
I’d spent a couple hundred bucks on booze,
And another couple hundred on bullshit.
Whereas if I stayed,
I could spray out my last house myself,
Save maybe five hundred dollars on labor costs,
And be nearly a grand richer.
“no, no, no,” said the VP.
“you have to go.
I mean, I can’t force you to do anything,
You’re not a full time employee until next week,
But if you didn’t go, it would...not be good.”
We argued back and forth a bit,
Him telling me how important it was for me to go,
How important it was
for me to make myself known and respected,
As an up and coming General Manager,
Especially since some of the rookie managers
Would be under my guidance in the following year.
Finally I said,
“to hell with it! I’ll go. But you’ll see.
I’m sure we’ll both regret it!”
Well, I went up there to Montreal,
To ‘make myself known and respected’
By the younger franchisees.
But what really happened was this:
A good friend of mine came along,
(he was another franchisee)
And on the first night he dared me
To drink a 144 ounce pitcher of beer at the Peels Pub.
Midway through I ran across the dance floor,
Puking on franchisees and strangers alike.
Later that night I lost my wallet,
After spending three hundred dollars
On who the hell knew what.
By the second night I’d made a name for myself,
That was for damn sure.
My boss called me in during a few quiet moments,
To remind me that guys were looking up to me.
“oh, yeah,” I said. “That’s cool. I know.”
Later on that night I got pissed off.
Some chick had stolen my cowboy hat,
So I smashed my phone on the sidewalk
And kicked it into the street,
Cheering at cars that ran it over.
A few of the younger franchisees looked on,
Wondering how I’d gotten a position
as a General Mananger
At last I went back to the hotel,
Dragged my friend out of bed
And commenced a forty minute wrestling bout,
Overturning furniture,
Smashing picture frames
And putting big holes in the walls.
On the long drive home I did some more calculations.
By going up there to Montreal for two nights
I’d come out eight or nine hundred dollars down,
From where I would have been if I stayed home,
And sprayed out my last house.
Never mind the name I’d made for myself.
The following week
when I had to report in to work as a General Manager,
I said to my boss, “I told you.”

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