Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste

Prologue

Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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Man Up!

October 25, 2013

 

 

Years ago when I worked in a jewelry store the manager required all of his sales associates to pierce ears. I hated the idea of holding a needle-loaded gun to someone’s ear and firing so I managed to be busy when customers came into the store asking for this service. 

     

But one time I couldn’t get out of it. A leather-clad biker chick, with spiked hair and smelling of exhaust and Pabst Blue Ribbon, came into the store wanting an ear pierced, even though she already sported a dozen earrings on each one. “I want a gold stud up here at the top,” she said, pointing to the place.
   

 “Up in the cartilage? Won’t that hurt?” I asked, hoping she'd turn around and walk away.
     

She rolled her eyes and shrugged.
     

I couldn’t talk her out of it, and there was no one else around to pawn the job off on. I sterilized her skin as I’d been taught, loaded the stud into the gun, held my breath and squeezed the trigger.
   

 Uh-oh; the stud only went in halfway. Feeling like I was going to pass out, I bent over and took deep breaths.
     

She tore the stud out of her ear. The blood must have drained from my face because she looked at me curiously as she handed the stud back to me. “Be a man! Try again,” she ordered.
     

I tried a second time, and the earring still didn’t go all the way in. I don't know what I would have done if a co-worker hadn't finally arrived and completed the job. 
     

I apologized to the biker chick when she left, positive I'd caused her a great deal of pain. She slapped me on the back and told me not to worry about it, but I can still hear her words: “Be a man!” 
     

Since then I’ve tried my best to be every bit the man she was.

 



    

What was the worst or most dreaded job you ever had? Is it your current one?

 



Comments

34 Comments
The cartilage piercings do hurt, and the weird part is, they KEEP hurting for months. Having to do something to people that could potentially hurt like that would be a nightmare job for me. I've had a lot of jobs, and I've generally liked them all...
By: Katy on October 25, 2013
My dad always told me if I came home with an earring he would rip it out, and he would have to!
By: David Walston on October 25, 2013
Some folks are drawn to decorate/mutilate their bodies. I'm not one of them. I can think of several tasks as part of former jobs I disliked.
By: Daniel LaFrance on October 25, 2013
Oh my gosh, this cracks me up, considering I just had my cartilage pierced! I can assure you that I would not have been a man like her and just calmly take the stud out if it hadn't gone all the way through! It hurt when I got it done, but the part that made it not so bad was that it was so fast! I worked at a Kmart cafeteria when I was in high school. I can't even exactly remember why, but I hated that job sooo much! I still can't believe my dad let me quit, but I did after only a week.
By: Kianwi on October 25, 2013
I had to endure an IRS audit once. Everything turned out well, but I don't think I've ever sweated so much in my life.
By: Scott Cody Park on October 25, 2013
That hurt just reading about it. My worst was when I was a vet tech when I was in school. One of the hardest things for me was docking newborn puppies' tails. It is done without anesthesia and I hated it.
By: Shelly on October 25, 2013
Wow, I probably would have passed out if I had to do what you did twice. When I was a kid, I pierced my own ears with a needle, cork and dental floss. Only I forgot the first two times to include dental floss in the needle. Ugh.....I had frozen my ear lope with ice cubes but by try #3 it was no longer numb. I almost didn't have enough nerve left to pierce the other ear. And why yes I was in deep doo doo when my Mom came home and saw me with dental floss hanging from my ears. Working with teenagers for more than 20 years had it's up moments but the worst times was watching them be cruel to each other. I hated that. Oma Linda
By: Oma Linda on October 25, 2013
That does sound painful. Having that many rings in an ear is just gross. But at least she didn't ask you to pierce anything more delicate like some people have done these days.
By: PT Dilloway on October 25, 2013
Was it embarrassing that she was more of a man than you?
By: fishducky on October 25, 2013
no such worst or dread job, but pricing is one kinda addiction.
By: izidher on October 25, 2013
Did you have quiche for lunch? We all know you are a real man CC, you don't have to prove anything!
By: Cranky on October 25, 2013
i'm laughing, but i don't think i could have done it. :)
By: TexWisGirl on October 25, 2013
Yikes! I wouldn't have liked that job, either! My worst job was counting paper plates into stacks of 125, putting them in a bag, putting the bag in a box, putting the box on a conveyor belt and trying to keep up with the machine!
By: Eva Gallant on October 25, 2013
I haven't hated any of my jobs, but the least favorite was clerking at a convenience store. Standing for 8 hours and being polite to cranky customers is not my cup of tea. On a good day, I got to help unload the delivery truck, and clean my designated shelves with soapy water, and price the merchandise.
By: Val on October 25, 2013
The last newspaper where I worked was horrible. It wasn't a specific aspect of the job that bothered me, other than I could never catch up. It was the environment. The editors said things I won't repeat, and you know there's not much I won't say. I preferred working at the nursing home and cleaning up poop. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on October 25, 2013
I am sure that I had days that I dreaded going to work...but don't remember dreading any specific task It was always certain people that I had to work with that I dreaded!
By: Tabor on October 25, 2013
I'm not squeamish but I don't think I could pierce cartilage myself. Can't imagine what drugs she was on...lol. My worst job got to be waitressing after I'd done it for a few years. I just got sick of it, the people demanding this and that and being downright rude.
By: Bouncin Barb on October 25, 2013
I can still the remember trying to find that first vein in a little bunny's ear, so I could inject him with saline in a quality control test for Cutter labs...I can't mention all the other horrid lab tests I did...
By: laurel on October 25, 2013
I haven't had any job where I had to hurt anything - I've only heard of them through relatives. My nephew worked in a slaughterhouse, hitting pigs on the head with a big hammer. Yuck!
By: Madeleine McLaughlin on October 25, 2013
Coulda been worse. She coulda wanted you to pierce something other than her ear,
By: Al Penwasser on October 25, 2013
I'm with you . I wouldn't want this job.
By: red on October 25, 2013
I'm wincing in pain just reading your post. As far as jobs go, there are some things I wouldn't want to go back to (like being an inventory counter and working all night), but I always liked my jobs at the times when I had them.
By: Pixel Peeper on October 25, 2013
I've had a lot of horrible jobs, but none stand out more than others. I guess I haven't had to do anything too distasteful, even if I didn't like it. .......dhole
By: Donna Hole on October 25, 2013
I've seen reality shows where they have people who've pierced things a whole lot stranger (and ickier) than ear cartilage. I was a door-to-door sales-woman trying to sell a set of steak knives once. It was horrible. And I'm lucky I didn't knock on the door of a serial killer considering I was coming to the party ready to put the weapons right in his hand.
By: Lexa Cain on October 25, 2013
Next time if it only goes half way, try a tack hammer to finish the job.
By: Agent 54 on October 26, 2013
Be a man and put an earring in someone else's ear? Well, OK, I understand. But at least you didn't faint. I can't imagine having that job. I did have some awful ones but it's taken me a long time to get over my brilliant career, so I won't revisit it here.
By: Mitchell is Moving on October 26, 2013
Never had a job I dreaded, but would not want to pierce ears that's for sure!
By: Kathe W. on October 26, 2013
The only time i dread what i have to do is when i am working with kittens that i know aren't going to survive. That's the difficult part, keeping them comfortable and getting them to the vet for the end when the time comes. Poor babies, it's them that i feel for, not me.
By: mimi on October 26, 2013
As you know, I am a gifted Comedy writer. I created a character named Agent 54 that I think is pretty cool. Agent 54 works part-time for the Nominal Secrets Apparatus (NSA) which is under the Department of Redundancy Department (DORD). This means I can write amusing conversations between anyone living or dead, real or unreal, or anything else I can think of. I certainly can come up with tons of jokes, as long as there is coffee. Please check out the greatest blog ever: http://agent54nsa.blogspot.com/
By: Agent 54 on October 26, 2013
I don't fault you in the slightest. That sounds horrid to have to shoot a stud into someone ear. I can't think of a particular thing I ever had to do that I found objectionable. I had jobs I hated because of boredom or bad bosses but it was never because I minded the work. The one thing that bothered me a tad was calling people to tell them they were being sent to collections, or that their car was being repossessed but usually they were so rude that I got over feeling bad pretty quickly.
By: Cheryl P. on October 26, 2013
She sounds like my kinda gal. :D
By: LL Cool Joe on October 27, 2013
I feel a bit woozy just reading about it.
By: Hiary on October 27, 2013
Sounds like they make the girls tough in your neck of the woods, Stephen. I'm left wondering how she'd get the top off her beer bottles!
By: Bryan Jones on October 28, 2013
I am with you on this one!
By: John on October 29, 2013

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