Friday, July 14, 2006


My first job ever was running auction tickets in a stockyards-slaughterhouse in Mineral Wells, Texas. I ran from the auction spot to the office through pig pens and whatnot. I got paid an enormous sum (four dollars an hour, to be raised to five -- this was when I was fifteen in 1984) for a fairly grueling Saturday -- depending on how many cows and horses were there, the day could be very long. I lived close enough to the stockyards to smell the livestock on Friday, a depressing smell to me because I hated the work and wished for short days and the livestock coming in made me nervous. I didn't get much in the way of breaks and wouldn't have taken them anyway -- my work ethic was such that I had an almost masochistic love of getting the job done, and I did not want to get behind. My mother was fond of telling me I'd make a great communist.

I don't like animals -- all my friends and family do and they think this is a flaw, like a cleft-palate or a missing finger. Nonethless, I didn't like seeing the animals go to their deaths, and worse, the boys and men who worked the fences were a rough bunch one best not tangle with too much. One day one of the men got gored to death by a bull. I witnessed the event from a slight distance and saw Careflight come and take him away. I always thought before that if you got into an accident, you could be saved if help came fast enough. But if something punctures your heart in the exact right place, there's nothing to be done.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"A good day. The mound in the road was not cat, but tread." Amy Hempel, "Tumble Home"

Peppermint Patty

one shot of peppermint schnapps
one shot of Godiva chocolate liqueur

Serve chilled and garnished with shaved chocolate

Benedictions and Maledictions

Here's the Medusa picture from the Halloween party, as requested!


cindy said...


what an awful job, and to see and be among such awful things. Wish I could hug you! You're so adorable. And what a Medusa you make! The men better stay clear if they know what's good for them.
xo; Cindy C.

Wichita-Lineman said...

Yikes. Sort of makes those shit jobs I had in the past seem a little better than I thought.

Great Medusa, makes me want to grap a mirror to prevent turning to stone, opps too late (Insert corny T. Biljan joke here)

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle,

I'm feeling enchanted forever now. Your spell is working wonders. Lovely post, if horrid job you had to suffer through. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, yes?
Bravo, lovely Michelle!

JR's Thumbprints said...

Working in a prison environment for fifteen years, I've been somewhat desensitized to violence. Also, I'm not too sure about the response time to injuries. Perhaps, the health care staff would run a little faster for me. Then again, maybe they're desensitized as well.

R's Musings said...

Sounds like you learned a hell of a lot from that much more interesting first job; a lot of us were probably working the other end, flippin' burgers, fast-food style.

Anonymous said...

Va va voooooooooom, MEDUSA, yessssssssssssssssssss!!!!

Anonymous said...

Today's triple-header "Quote of the Day": #1:The followers of voodoo have always needed their spirits close at hand.--M.K.Landon;#2: And now what will come of us without/ barbarians?/ Those people were some sort of solution.--C.P.Cavafy;#3: Ninety-nine bottles of beer in the wall....--from a popular song.

Anonymous said...

Today's 2nd "Quote of the Day": You can take off your dress. Yes, yes, yes.--J.C.

Anonymous said...

I took my dog to see a horse auction in Crosswell and he hated it. He thought the whole thing was repellent.

Anonymous said...

The Peppermint Patty drink sounds good. I'm going to find a Christmas in July party and try it out.

Anonymous said...

Dear Michelle, Please note that Scarlett Johanson and Woody will be making another film together. It's called "Scoop," about a young woman journalist on the trail of the scoop of a lifetime. Sounds like you'd be interested in this one, eh? --AP

Sheila said...

Wow, I can't imagine watching animals go to their deaths. I love animals tons even though i'm not a vegetarian, everyone needs meat sometimes! Sounds like a horrid job. My first job was working under the table at 14 being a waitress at a small diner by my house. I never want to be a waitress again. And I always tip good ;o) (to my fellow waitresses out their!)

Anonymous said...

Happy Bastille Day, Michelle. Freedom is important. Have a nice weekend and try not to flunk anybody.

paul said...

O Mighty Isis,
I'll get stoned for you any day!
am I dreaming, too? Rock on Foxy Lady (to Jimi and just found hisself dead Sydd Barrett)

R2 C2!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Retrospectively, perhaps I shouldn't have nominated Eminem for the retrospective lead in "Fight Club."(Life follows art--O. Wilde.)Try to stay out of topless places, Em.

trouble man said...

That's a sad story, Marvin's kind.
On the other hand, your outfits are sure to bring cheer to the troops!