In my workshop this semester, we’re doing a short essay a week called hypoxic essays which are designed to keep us writing even if we feel like we don’t have any material. This is the second one of the quarter. It’s kind of a mess. If I ever finish it, it’s hopefully going in the superhero/comics themed collection I’m slowly working on.
“I wouldn’t need this shitty job if I were a mutant.” I say this to myself almost daily as I sit at my desk trying to avoid my boss for fear that she’ll ask me more invasive personal questions about my health and family and infer that she will fire me if I don’t answer in great detail. While I know that’s technically illegal, I haven’t been employed long enough to draw unemployment if I were to be fired for “insubordination” or mysteriously “laid off” shortly after filing a complaint and we’d be about four hundred bucks short of making it each month on what my partner makes alone. As a result, I am left applying for different jobs and daydreaming about mutanthood.
I spent a few weeks contemplating the X-men and trying to decide whose powers would be most favorable in terms of aiding in the quitting of my day job.
Rogue’s powers would be pretty useless considering I don’t know any mutants whose powers I could absorb. Plus the whole no touching thing seems like a mega drag. Rob and I ditched condoms the minute I could afford to go back on the Pill and had taken it to the point of it being effective. So I don’t feel like I would want to spend my entire life in what is essentially a full body condom for the protection of my loved ones and innocent bystanders I may encounter or accidentally touch.
Jubilee’s firework hands would only be beneficial for working at the circus, working as a fairy princess at children’s birthday parties or while tending bar at a very flamboyant gay bar.
Wolverine’s claws hurt when they come out. While his healing abilities would be great for counteracting my rampant clumsiness, the whole bones coated in adamantium , wiped memory thing is definitely a deal breaker. Nor would any of this help me quit my job and not starve.
Jean Grey and Professor Xavier’s telepathic powers seemed appealing at first. I could easily get a new job that isn’t a lousy telephone interviewing gig at which my boss makes me very personally uncomfortable by reading the interviewer’s minds and responding correctly at interviews or even telepathically put the idea for them to hire me in their head. I bet I could also score plenty of free drinks and food this way. The biggest downside would be hearing other people’s thoughts. When I am getting skeeved on by creepy menfolk on the train, I don’t want to hear their lecherous thoughts. Plus, my own thoughts are loud enough that I would probably go completely bonkers if I had to deal with everyone else’s thoughts all the time too.
I was eventually able to decide on which power I would want while at the Laundromat one night. Magneto. His ability to manipulate metal suit my lifestyle best and be most likely to allow me to quit my job.
It hit me as I was getting change for the dryer and the change machine gave me five quarters for my dollar. It did it for the next two dollars and then stopped at the fourth. I had made a seventy-five cent profit simply for getting change. Which got me thinking.
If I could manipulate metal, I could make your average Laundromat change machine give me twenty dollars worth of quarters for every dollar that I put in. At a five dollar investment and roughly five dollars for one load of laundry as not to appear suspicious, I would be clearing a ninety dollar profit. With a ten dollar investment, I could make one hundred eighty-five dollars. Four times a week, with a five dollar investment at a different Laundromat each time and I would make slightly more than what I do a week right now.
Now, I wouldn’t grift change machines forever. I would only do it for a few weeks to get capital. And to get the money for my next machine to conquer so long as technological advancements have not ruined every slot machine in the world by making them all digital. After a couple of weeks of laundry scheming, I would go to one of the gambling cities, probably Atlantic City to make Bruce Springsteen references, and manipulate a decently sized slot machine jackpot. Then, I would return home and funnel the money into a high capacity color copier and a really nice printer with which to start a zine printing and distribution business. I would also maybe make a few investments and take some sort of further initiative to try to make our future a little more financially secure. I would probably also maybe even considering paying off my credit card. Maybe.
When I was out of work for a year, I was able to buy a few groceries and sock some money on a utility bill here and there by making various crafts and selling them on the internet and picking up the occasional freelance editing gig. Without the panic of impending homelessness in the mutant scenario, I could focus more on freelancing and crafting and hopefully make a much more successful go at it. Especially since I would be able to sew 15 things at once by controlling the needles which would greatly increase my productivity. And if my dreams fell through I could always make a trip back to Atlantic City and just make my own luck.
The more I think about this whole thing, the more I wonder if my blind hatred of my job is making me delusional or if I’m just spending too many of my bathroom breaks hiding in the stall, reading comics on my phone.