I’ve been thinking lately about Geoffrey Owens, the fellow in the pictures above. Owens was on “The Cosby Show” and has worked steadily in small television roles ever since. Somebody recognized him at Trader Joe’s recently and took his picture, which led to a bit of public shaming: LOL LOOK AT THIS FAMOUS ACTOR WHO WORKS A MCJOB NOW! WHAT A JOKE LOL!
When I saw the photo, I was reminded of an interview given a while ago by the rapper Big Daddy Kane, in which he said something along the lines of “If this rap thing doesn’t work out, I can’t ever get a job at McDonald’s because people will call me out all day while I’m tryin’ to serve the fries.” It also made me think about all the mysterious requirements we impose on everybody from rappers to actors to, yes, autowriters: You have to have an origin story that makes sense. You have to stay in character. You can’t display any of the frailties we take for granted in ourselves.
Luckily for Mr. Owens, it worked out. He gave a very gracious public interview in which he stated the obvious: there is dignity in work, even if you are a Yale grad with a famous face. The incident helped raise his profile and get him new roles. As a consequence of being “discovered” working at Trader Joe’s, he might eventually be in a position where he doesn’t need to work, which is remarkably ironic when you think about it.
There’s a lot of deliberate misrepresentation in the autojournalist world about how much money people have and how they got it. You have people who inherited millions out there on YouTube pretending to be self-made Internet millionaires, and you have people using their proceeds from an injury lawsuit settlement to pretend like they inherited money. A remarkable number of the better-known autojournos out there are supported by their wives. Some married into money and some married women who went on to become successful. There are other people who completely hide their day jobs in an effort to be seen as independently wealthy or simply better-compensated for writing than they are. Everybody is afraid of facing their own reality.
This is my reality: I left my last job six weeks ago so I could spend some time focusing on my racing, writing, and parenting. In particular, I wanted to focus on my World Challenge race and I had to burn a couple of bridges in order to do so. At some point in the near future I will need to go back to work. If you’re aware of any contract gigs or remote jobs in the general tech and consulting industries, please feel free to let me know by e-mailing me or dropping a note in the comments asking me to contact you. Over the past decade I’ve read many fascinating theories on the Web about how I make my living. Some say that I inherited money — I didn’t. Some say that Bark and I have trust funds — we don’t. Some people say I was a drug dealer — that’s based on a comment I made a while ago about working in the more unpleasant parts of pharma, which I’ve done.
This is the first time I’ve been unemployed since the Nineties. It probably won’t continue. But if it does, then you will probably be able to find me at Trader Joe’s. I’ll be the fellow wearing Edward Green shoes under his apron.
Last week I wrote for R&T about the NC Miata.