Without going into cry-baby histrionics about it, I am still jobless. I'm not as discouraged as perhaps I should be, though, because there are quite a few "ideal" positions that I'm still in the running for: other copywriting gigs, interesting editorial work, vague entry-level positions at various media companies, and a few freelance writing opportunities. I'm hopeful about all of them, but slyly practising my sweater-folding, just in case.
What impresses me about all the businesses to which I've applied is that they were clearly at one point just an idea in someone's head. Somebody took the initiative to buy the storefront, manufacture or bring-in the product/perfect the service, open their concept to consumers, and turn a profit. Amazing! While some clearly fare better than others (RIP Blockbuster--if it's any consolation, you limped to the finish line under a terrible business model), all business, big or small, keeps its creators employed, invested, and passionate for a time. I could use investment and passion, and most certainly employment.
Dream: Start a small business.
Goal: Achievable. Monica Lewinsky started her own line of handbags, and I get to the dry-cleaners even less than she does. The only business I couldn't get off the ground would be some kind of contemporary reference depot as I just made a Lewinsky crack-em-up (though I suppose I could start a Leno-joke app). Terrible.
Plan: Develop one of the follow business ideas for the marketplace:
A cupcake store. My friend Lindsay and I have both moved here at the same time and figure, if other pursuits don't work out, we'll go the drunken Real Housewife route and open a cupcake store. Those places are everywhere! It's like we've suddenly become third-graders on Valentine's Day, or a lonely fatty out to "celebrate ME!" Either way, these oversugared gobs of goo are cash cows. I'ma get milkin'!
I'm going to start a chain similar to Hooters, but one that caters to female/gay male clientele and call it Danglies. Danglies will feature men in small, tight shorts serving you food and drinks. What's the deal with Hooters anyway? Because of the concept, are men just allowed to openly stare at their waitresses breasts? That's disgusting, but if that expressly disallowed, if a customer could get kicked out for leering, what's the deal with Hooters anyway?
The Waiting Room. This is a small, hot, noisy room. We keep a smelly old man and bratty children on permanent retainer and they are a constant presence. We have magazines but they are at least seven years old and randomly ripped apart. There's also a rude receptionist and a really rude person playing a doctor. Doctor agitatedly runs through the list of symptoms you've given the receptionist, which is whatever ailments you have that would bring you to an actual doctor's office. Doctor says loudly, "Okay, so he/she has a sore throat! Earache! Headache! Tell them I'll be ready in forty-five minutes and those symptoms better be pretty severe!" Have you even been to a real doctor's office waiting room, like I have described, and your symptoms suddenly disappear? That happens to me nearly every time I go to a clinic. The Waiting Room reinforces everything that's fucking terrible about going to your doctor's office and makes you rethink whether or not your sore throat is really so terrible. Plus, there's no actual doctor and you can leave whenever you want. This might take a few years to get off the ground.
Starring You. Are you the product of theatre-education with slim to nil acting credits in the last few years? I know I am! Don't you hate how, though you have made peace with your decision to act as a hobby and pursue other work as a profession, your former contemporaries from theatre school are doing really, really well? Now you can keep your envy in check and make them jealous for a change with a visit to Starring You. We have cutting edge film and editing equipment and will work with you to cut you into a really impressive movie trailer. Everyone knows the best part of a movie is the trailer, and Starring You will place you into a small indie drama featuring Allison Janney, Mark Ruffalo, Christina Ricci, and You. Or a slapstick comedy with Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Rainn Wilson, Sarah Silverman and...who's that? Oh my god, You! Phillip Seymour Hoffman and George Clooney can only take part in this political game of cat and mouse with a little help from You. Joaquin Phoenix and Christian Bale will descend deep into gritty streetlife thanks to You. You see where this is going. Of course, no movie will actually be made, but by the time you post this trailer to your Facebook wall with the modest message, "Sooo much fun filming this! Amy, you are a GENIUS!" everyone will be all, "What? Huh? We severely underestimated your talents, You!" and you'll get offered legit parts in legit theatre and film, and everyone will forget about Garden of Sad, Fart School, President Danger, or Street Dumbs (the indie, comedy, political thriller, gritty drama, respectively).
Kleenex Klothes. Why be embarrassed about your runny nose, frequent sneezing, or disgusting baby, when you can just give 'er right on your own clothes? Kleenex Klothes sells disposable but stylish garments for the busy mom, cold sufferer, or chronic bleeder in your life. Just sneeze and toss!
Just Good Movies. I worked for many years in the two top video rental chains in Canada, both of which no longer exist. They claimed there was no longer a market for video rental, but the indie stores that do survive tell a much different story. Without giving away marketing strategy explicitly (although what can they do? Sue me? They don't exist anymore) both of these chains would acquire mass quantities of the newest high-grossing new release and get rid of older stock indiscriminately to make room for it. Orders would come down monthly to cut the "library" (movies older than one year) by dramatic amounts. One week I wrote a list down of our inventory. We had 42 copies of the sequel to Transformers in stock. We didn't have The Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, any Robert Altman movies, Jaws, The Graduate, Network, Working Girl, My Left Foot, A Few Good Men, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, King of Comedy, Casino, Raging Bull, Do the Right Thing, The Killing Fields, The Conversation, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. People looking to rent the latest movie might get it. People looking to rent a good movie never could. I'm going to open a video store with classic films, foreign films, LGBT titles, cult movies, and nothing with Katherine Heigl. You can find any of the latest releases on Netflix, iTunes, there's even a box at most grocery stores. Anything else, you come to Just Good Movies. I swear I'd make a killing.
Finally, I'd open Naps and Craps. A two-story completely soundproofed building equally divided into clean bedrooms and bathrooms where you could take a nap or option number two for as long as you needed, undisturbed, in complete and total silence. No kids or partners allowed. There'd be a two for one special on Sunday afternoons and holidays but get there early because there are lines around the block.
I'm not an entrepreneur, but I am a consumer. As my bank account dwindles to zero, my every purchase is made judiciously, but I'd patronize every store listed here. Maybe the only thing impeding me from starting my own business or even landing the jobs I apply for to which I feel I'm perfectly suited is confidence and courage. Maybe I'd have all the opportunities I wanted if I could just grow a better pair of danglies. I don't know what insecurities or shortcomings are stopping me now, but I'm not about to open the floor to discussion. That's no business of yours.