Just Not Funny

my very worst job

When I was 17, the summer camp I was working at folded, and I was left without a job for the summer before university. Luckily, my friend Eric had recently quit his job at the fish market and found gainful employment as a clown in a balloon store.  He was pretty sure he could get me a job.  I liked kids, and figured, what the hell.

I got the job without an interview (warning bell number one), and soon went about learning the trade of a clown, tying balloon animals, doing magic tricks, and so forth. So far so good.  It turned out, though, that most of my duties revolved around adults, not children. I only did one kids’ party the whole time I worked there (warning bell number two). The rest of the time, I was a singing delivery clown–you know, the kind that shows up at an office with a bunch of balloons and sings “Happy Birthday” to some cubicle gnome. OK, I thought, surely this won’t be so bad. I don’t consider myself to have a good singing voice, but my boss told me not to worry about that (warning bell number three).  Aside from being bad-tempered, he was also the cheapest bastard I’d ever met, and refused to shell out the few extra bucks for clown make-up that didn’t run.

I got shown the car I was supposed to drive–it was an old rustbucket that some previous clown had run into a tree, so the whole front end was accordioned in, and it was missing its sideview mirrors. It was also stuck in second gear. I had to drive the thing in second everywhere I went, including on the highway. The back of the car was always full of balloons, so I could never see out the rearview, and my boss wouldn’t pay for a decent sideview mirror. I took my life in my hands every time I changed lanes (eventually he found an old sideview from a Mack truck or something, and bolted it on the side of the little car…making it impossible to fit into small parking spaces). Also, because it had no reverse gear, I had to park it, get out and do my clown thing, and then when I got back, perform the following ritual: I’d open the driver’s side door, grab the wheel, step on the clutch with my right clown boot, and push off with my left foot, rolling the car backwards until I could hop in, start it, and drive off in second gear (warning bells galore).

A word on clown delivery services: nobody is glad to see you. Businessmen usually order this sort of thing to embarrass their coworkers. I once made a delivery at the end of the day to a high-level government department.  It was the hottest summer ever, and my makeup was running down my face in rivulets. I had five o’clock shadow under it, and I was sweating like a bastard in my stupid suit (the car had no A/C, and I couldn’t open the windows because the balloons would blow around and either fly out the window or blind me). I was late, and double parked the clownmobile outside next to a military truck.

I went through security (not easy), and waited awkwardly for the guy to come down from the 18th floor. In the meantime, all my balloons exploded on the stucco ceiling, and so an angry, impatient man was called away from work to receive limp bits of damp rubber on the end of some string from a melting, shaggy clown who sang “Happy Birthday” off-key in the reception area. I didn’t get a tip.

I also made deliveries to people I knew from high school (mortifying), and to a man who was contemplating suicide (depressing and scary).  I finally threw in the towel when my boss told me that he was expanding the clientele of the balloon store, and that my new duties would include dressing up as Tarzan for middle-aged ladies’ parties.

I never really forgave my friend Eric for getting me this job.

Comments (26)

rawrApril 21st, 2010 at 10:34 am

Holy mother humping crap-spackle! By the time I got to the part where you put the car in neutral and pushing yourself out of the space with your clown boot, I was pissing myself with laughter! That sounds like a truly horrible job, but goddamn, it’s just so fucking absurd impossible not to laugh at it. You did a good job at writing this, too.

I’m imagining you looking something like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wilwheaton/2987187937/in/set-72157608520977689/

rawrApril 21st, 2010 at 10:35 am

Er, “it’s impossible not to laugh”. Jeezy creezy.

MMMichelleApril 21st, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Well, this story was hilarious, but I’m not going to lock my door and hide under the bed. Thanks a lot for that fucking clown picture. Ack.

ReneApril 21st, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I never thought I’d feel sorry for a clown.

TonyApril 21st, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Wow… just wow. I don’t know if I’d ever be desperate enough to take a job where the car I had to drive was basically a rolling deathtrap. How you lasted as long as you did is a miracle.

Frau BlucherApril 21st, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I always feel sorry for clowns, this has confirmed why….

zomboidApril 22nd, 2010 at 7:03 am

oh my god, this is definitely the best MVWJ by a very long shot

a clown actually driving a real-life clown car

zomboidApril 22nd, 2010 at 7:09 am

oh god, i only properly registered the bit about a delivery to a suicidal man on the second read-though

Garter SnakeApril 22nd, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Sorry you had to be a clown, but at least you got a hilarious story out of it. Seriously, this is the best story I’ve ever read on this site. It helps that you wrote it well, too.

eeelleApril 23rd, 2010 at 6:09 am


NicoleMarie23April 23rd, 2010 at 12:18 pm

OMG that was awesome!

Call 911April 24th, 2010 at 2:26 am

I know this was your worst job ever and all, but I seriously laughed my bum off : )


buffyApril 24th, 2010 at 2:37 pm


Oh, and, @rawr… “Holy mother humping crap-spackle!” Very funny, and I plan to add it to my vocabulary. You wouldn’t happen to be a Firefly fan, would you?

NZerApril 25th, 2010 at 7:44 pm

This is definitely the BEST worst job ever!! Thanks for giving me a laugh.

AndrewApril 25th, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I agree. This was by far the best post on here. It’s amazing what age & desperation will make people do.

DeadBessieApril 29th, 2010 at 9:45 am

“No one is glad to see you.” I’m sorry for your awful experience, but damn if it didn’t make me laugh myself silly. Too bad you opted out before the Tarzan gig; the stories from a job like that would be priceless.

ValenciaMay 21st, 2010 at 8:21 pm

You poor, sweaty, unshaven bastard. This story is a thing of beauty, a glimming gemstone of scat in the crapheap that is terrible jobs. Bravo!

moiMay 23rd, 2010 at 3:00 am

lol wow just wow.

SpankyMay 24th, 2010 at 8:42 pm

You had me cracking up at Tarzan lol

AceMay 27th, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Wow!!! I wonder how much were you paid, if the boss was so cheap that he could not afford a safe car and decent makeup ? 0_0

AngieJune 21st, 2010 at 3:35 am

I just want to give you a hug.

fuJune 21st, 2010 at 7:48 pm

“It was also stuck in second gear. I had to drive the thing in second everywhere I went, including on the highway.”

My gosh this is hilarious. Sorry for what you went through, but this story is TOO FUNNY.

GenJuly 29th, 2010 at 10:54 am

hahahahaha funniest story I read on MVWJ. Poor, poor you! I am so happy I never had such a job.
The part of the story where you explain the condition of the car just makes it WORST.
Oh yeah : poor, poor you!

NatalieAugust 27th, 2010 at 10:45 am

I’ve been sitting here all morning wasting time at work and reading all the posts, starting on page 1. This is the first one that actually made me laugh out loud at my desk!

I lost it at “A word on clown delivery services: nobody is glad to see you.” and could barely finish the rest as I was trying to contain my laughter so my work mates won’t see what I’m doing.

Hands down, this is the funniest story on this site!!!! Love it!

JRexSeptember 3rd, 2010 at 11:55 am

Me, too, Natalie! I had to share it with my co-workers. Wow…

jsnackSeptember 9th, 2010 at 12:30 pm

LOL, that picture at the top scared the crap out of me then. I literally jumped back. On the Very Worst Roommate site someone put a picture of a tarantula on their story, and someone in the comments got really upset and said it gave them anxiety. I feel the same about this lmao.

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