Odd Jobs: The Happy Manhood Operator

 “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” — Zig Ziglar  

Like many bohemians, I’ve had my share of odd jobs, many of which took place during my acting and modeling days. One of my oddest gigs, playing a semi-voluptuous graduate student in a fully functioning morgue (yep! full o’ corpses), introduced me to a man with a job far odder.

This Labor Day, I thought I’d share a story I posted last fall and revamped for today. While not Girl Boner specific, it’s definitely related! (In fact, I should track the guy down for in interview.) You’ll soon see what I mean…

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One of my first acting jobs in L.A. was a role in a European energy drink commercial. I played a grad student in a physiology course, studying a cadaver with a group of classmates. We shot it in a stocked, operational morgue. *nose-quivers from the stenchy memory*

The premise: Before “Joe” became a cadaver, he’d consumed GoFast energy drink. As I bent over the body in my purposely low-cut scrubs, Joe’s manhood gave my chest a firm salute. That’s right, friends! GoFast energy drinks keep one excitable! Even postmortem.

The star of the set, in my opinion, wasn’t me, the other actors or even Joe’s elevating manhood. It was the manhood operator.

I don’t remember the man’s name, but I recall his attitude. He not only operated but created the remote control penis precisely for such purposes. Throughout the shoot, he sat off camera like a professional fisherman awaiting the next nibble. Then he’d spring into action, pushing buttons to stimulate the punchline fodder – SCHWING! Up went the manhood! Penisus erectus!

He didn’t laugh, make crude jokes, blush or show off. He stayed focused, taking pride in his work yet staying humble, and between shots was more than happy to answer a certain curious actress’s multitude of questions… (You’d be amazed at just how handy an erectile contraption can be in Tinseltown—and I’m not just talking all things X-rated.) In a word, he was gracious.

There were numerous complainers on set, for understandable reasons. The place stunk of embalming fluid and who knows what else. There were actual corpses throughout the premise. Another actress nearly fainted about 17 times, and a few crew members were too nauseous to eat. But Mr. Manhood Operator never faltered. Sporting a genuine semi-smile, he stayed braced almost zen-like throughout the day for, er—action.

I know what some of you are thinking: How could a manhood operator not feel happy? Ecstatic, even? He was in charge of the starring penis, after all—and Hollywood’s premier erection conductor! Well imagine sitting still in a stinky, weirdly lit corpse-cooler for hours on end, waiting to push a button then being scolded for being a half-millisecond off. It’s not as sexy as it sounds.

When the director called wrap, the Happy Manhood Operator smiled, thanked us all and left, probably eager to spend time with his wife and grandkids I’d learned so much about. Arguably the most crucial piece of the commercial gained the least amount of glory and praise. I can only hope he was paid well. I also hope he discusses his job at his grandkids’ school on Career Day. (Can you imagine???) Regardless, the experience and his strength of character have stuck with me.

As they say in theatrics, there are no small parts. I think the same holds true in our careers. Not all of our work will be glamourous, or even pleasant. But if we do what we love and love what we do, and keep our chins up and hearts open, we’ll very likely go far. More importantly, we’ll be better able to savor the journey.

Before writing this post, I hadn’t seen this video—yet another perk of blogging. Thanks to YouTube and you all, I can invite you to to sit back, relax and enjoy the show. Have a giggle and let it be a lesson to all: Do not walk or drive mindlessly. As for stimulant use, I’ll save that for another post. ;)


Who’s YOUR manhood operator?
 Let me rephrase. ;) Have you encountered someone with an odd or unpleasant job whose attitude rocks? Do you find it easy to stay positive through the grunt work? How are you spending this Labor Day?

Stealing Jesus

With Christmas mere steps away, I thought I’d share a story I posted last year with a dedication to my sister, Cora. She’s a major reason the holidays and reminiscing are so joyous and, in this example, hilarious. 😉

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Regardless of how we spend them, the holidays draw up memories—some wonderful, some we’d rather forget and some that just keep getting funnier…

Santa/snow traffic jam in my parents' backyard

Santa’s cryogenic facelift

I don’t recall many details about the day I stole Jesus. But since I was in high school, it was probably like most winter days. I awoke to the sound of my mother’s voice, munched on toast in a fog then slipped on the ice en route to catch the bus. *winces from phantom butt ache* Come dusk, after more fogginess known as classes, I went to my friend Andrea’s house to meet with my Odyssey of the Mind team. (If you’re unfamiliar with OM, think math team for creatives.) There, I woke up.

Beck’s “I’m a loser baby…” hummed from the stereo while we dined on doughnuts and M&Ms in preparation for the evening’s events. Tonight we would do a scavenger hunt, Andrea explained. In O.M., making practice activities as difficult as possible was key, particularly since our sights were set on state competition and beyond. Toward this end, Baby Jesus appeared on my search list.

Numerous of my teammates were atheists, the equivalent of devil worship in the eyes of my strict, Baptist grandparents. I’d spent the summer organizing benefit concerts to raise awareness about child abuse, for which I was made co-recipient of the Minnesota Peace Prize. In other words, I was a goody-goody supreme, not someone predictably comfy with Jesus-nabbing.

To worsen matters, I couldn’t yet drive and the only Jesus in the neighborhood was real, and not in a Second Coming type way. Mary and Joseph’s breath made frozen white puffs in the air and the little tyke in the manger wasn’t plastic.

Definitely out of the question...

Definitely out of the question…

Crap, I thought, unable to even think cuss words yet, much less state them. Then I had an idea. I’d call a friend, hitch a ride to my house and borrow the plastic, light-up Jesus from the nativity scene in the yard. My family was asleep, I figured; no one would miss him for a few hours. And besides, couldn’t the little dude use some respite? As far as I knew, he hadn’t even rested on a Sunday.

The call, ride and borrow went smoothly. With the mission accomplished, I returned to Andrea’s house. The gang fell speechless as I presented every item on my list, including the almighty savior. Sure, I’d found a creative solution—one of the O.M. pillars. But far more remarkable was the fact that I, Ms. Goody Two Shoes, stole him, presumably from a stranger’s yard. And seemed not only fine with it, but pleased.

Hours later, exhausted and high from sugar, creative tricks and camaraderie, we called it a night and a teammate drove me home.

The next morning I woke to sounds best suited to nightmares. Muffled crying. Serious voices. Something terribly wrong. I jolted upright: Cora? Listening closer, I had no doubt. My youngest sister was upset. Really upset. Before I could rush downstairs to soothe her, she said something I’ll never forget: “But Mom, why would someone steal Baby Jesus?”

The word crap no longer seemed strong enough. @$%#! I forgot Jesus!

I snuck into my parents’ room and phoned Andrea then held my breath as she searched to no avail: Jesus wasn’t there. @#$@#$#&$#@$!!!

I sat paralyzed in my room, scrambling for what to do. My parents’ angst-filled voices echoed through the hallway, their disappointment surely due more to Cora’s heartache than the missing figure. What my team didn’t know was that amidst my recent good-doings, I’d been picked up by the cops (for skipping class with a friend, leading our parents to believe we’d been abducted) and gotten in trouble for other…*clears throat* …things. Seeing my sisters’ sad faces as the cop car pulled into the driveway that day had been too much. I couldn’t disappoint Cor, or any of them, again.

I spent the day working up the courage to confess while the term “finding Christ” took on a whole new meaning.

That night, still Jesus-less and lost for an alternate plan, I heard my mom and Cor praying for the bad person who took him.

Tomorrow, I decided. I would spill everything tomorrow.

I woke the next morning to brighter sounds. Sing song chatter. Laughter. Cora’s voice, now chipper: “It’s a Christmas miracle!”

Tears filled my eyes once I realized what had happened. The teammate who’d driven me home from Andrea’s had tucked baby Jesus back in his bed. My sister’s joy almost made the ordeal worthwhile.

Deeming my shame and frustration punishment enough, and not wishing to taint my sister’s “miracle” or opinion of me, I kept the truth to myself until last year when my dear husband outed me. I’m glad he did, as the laughter it’s brought up since is a near holiday in itself.

That Christmas, plug-in Jesus shed light on a few things. While the truth may set us free, happy outcomes sometimes pan out regardless. Pausing to think/panic may enhance those results. And perhaps the ‘good’ in Goody Two Shoes speaks solely of her intentions, and her walk isn’t pristine, but creative.

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So, how about you? Steal any religious icons lately? Any holiday hilarity to share? Do tell. I adore hearing from you, HONEST. 😉