Comfort Zone

Well it seems I’m having another dry spell. I’ve been busy lately and haven’t thought much about writing so my creativity is shriveling up. So that means it’s story time!

Probably about 1980 I was living with a girlfriend and we were both laid off from our jobs. We languished around on unemployment for about 4 months and since unemployment would only last about 6 months, we decided we needed jobs. We gave up our apartment and moved in with her parents in Eagan, Minnesota. I started looking in the papers for work. There wasn’t much available at the time, but finally I found an ad for a Tuxedo rental shop. Until that time I had only done labor type work and had no experiance with anything else. I had worked at a gas station so I had some customer relation experiance but that was it. But I thought, why not? I called and set up an interview. I went in my street clothes because I didn’t own anything else. I went to the shop for my interview and introduced my self to the boss. His mother owned the bridal shop next door and they had just opened the formalwear store. He was running the shop by himself and needed someone full time. I didn’t think I had a chance in hell.

We went into the office and he sat down at the desk. He opened the desk drawer and pulled out a joint, lit it, drew heavily on it and held it out to me. “You smoke?” he says, while trying not to choke. I told him no but thanked him for the offer. “Well, I do,” he said, “hope you don’t mind.” I said I didn’t and we got on with the interview. I told him about my limited customer experiance and he asked me if I could use a tape measure and a needle and thread. I said I could and he told me that he wasn’t any good at this “interview shit” so if I wanted the job I could have it. So I became a Formalwear rental expert. He told me to buy a suit and show up Monday morning.

So there I was, renting tuxedos to people. Weddings, Bar mitzvahs, formal parties, whatever. We once rented tuxes to a ventriloquist and his dummy for the Minneapolis aquatennial parade. The bridal and formal shop put on a bridalwear show in St Paul and I got to model for it. I walked down the runway, turned, unbuttoned the coat, turned again and walked back. Then ran to the changing room, there was only one for the girls and guys, changed as quickly as possible and went out again. Turns out it was a lot of fun.

As it happened, I got called back to my old job so I only worked for the shop for about 8 months. It was a great experiance and something I’ll never forget. It pays to step out of your comfort zone once in a while and try something different.

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