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November 24, 2009

Owl Meat's Tipsy Tuesdays: Outrageous occupations

interesting jobs

When I'm out drinking, I rarely ask strangers what they do for a living, because I don't want them asking me the same thing. I've had too many people turn to the bartender or owner and blow my cover by saying something like, 'Hey, you should meet so and so.'

This week, Owl Meat writes about out-of-the-ordinary folks with out-of-the-ordinary jobs. One of the most interesting people I've ever met out was Kupkake, but I don't know what he did for a living. Here's Owl Meat:

Unless you have an interesting job, leave it at work. We don't want to hear about it at the bar. We have our own jobs that we are trying to forget about.

I used to be that guy. I went out after work to rehash the tedium of the day with co-workers (read, captive employees). I am reformed. You will no longer be able to listen to a scintillating dissertation on business process re-engineering, two stage probit analysis, or why Mark Obitz is a total jerk.

I paid my penance listening to a bazillion jerks burble on and on about real estate. And stocks. And how you were in the weeds tonight and they left you eight on a hundred ...

Look, we all had a rough day. We all think our jobs are important and interesting, but that is rarely so. In America we are told to never talk about politics or religion, but it's ordinary to hear people talk about how much money they make. In Europe it's reverse and much more fun.

Perfunctory segue: So my friend from Europe asked me what jobs were worth discussing. Good question, conveniently manufactured friend.

I have a particular way of getting to know people. I interact with them and never ask material questions, especially about mundane things like age, family, and job. Is there a more insipid question than, "What's your major?" Yes, "What do you do for a living?"

As the Pope of All Things Arbitrary I grant special dispensation to the worthy. That being said, people with interesting jobs who are interesting to talk to never talk about themselves. Conundrum time ... break it down ...

Golf course designer. What are your odds of ever meeting a guy like this again? Zero. Super-nerdy talk of drainage and recycled water.

Any Goth in full gear with a day job. I used to run into a lot of committed Goths over 30 who worked events at Orpheus. What's it like to be Kelly at an auto parts store waiting to be the fabulous Miss Kele De on Friday? Other people treated them poorly, but they are among the kindest, gentlest people I have ever met.

Panama watch seller. There is a restaurant/bar in Panama City, Panama that has Spanish food and interesting people. Okay, every place in Panama has interesting people, but this place has $3 octopus ceviche. One woman sold watches, but that seemed to be a side-line.

Lady of the night. Maria, a middle-aged woman told me about her travels in Singapore, Dubai and the Netherlands. Duh. It never occurred to me that someone my mother's age was a prostitute. And apparently quite successful in her day. I am such a Gomer.

Mariner. There was a guy in Little Italy that I ignored. When I finally made an effort, he turned out to be a gold mine. Joe is a retired merchant seaman with a wealth of knowledge that would put the Discovery Channel to shame.

Have a duplex in Lauraville owned by some spinster that you want to flip? Shut it. Train dolphins to attach bombs to ships? Bring it. My question this week is, who is the most interesting person you have ever met in a bar?

(Photo by Getty Images)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:30 AM | | Comments (18)
Categories: Owl Meat's Tipsy Tuesdays


I met the entertainment reporter/blogger for the Baltimore Sun once in a bar. Changed my life forever.

I haven't met anyone particulary noteworthy in a bar, but have met many in Starbucks and other random places. I find occupations focusing on being useful and productive to humanity to be the most interesting. Environmental, medical, agricultural, human services, librarians, and education come to mind.

I met someone in a bar once who was talking about the Sun blogs and my friend mentioned my nom de blog. The new guy said, "Owl Meat Gravy? I love that guy" He seemed visibly disappointed that I was OMG. Sorry, no superpowers.

I just got a twitter alert that a bunch of Panama-related people are following this. Sweet crazy isthmus! Get ready for people to proclaim that there are neither guns nor prostitutes in the 'na.

Owl Meat, I once met a woman who listened to my radio show, Baltimore Unsigned. When I introduced myself, she said, "You don't look like you sound at all."

I was like, "Uh, thanks?"

Oh, i have a few..
a Sandhog ( guy that digs tunnels for sewers and metro lines) who was in Veitnam and had much better nails then i do.

A train conductor on the night shift

A diver on the BFD rescue/recovery team

A Shock Trauma doctor

A former British army sniper who spent time in Croatia during the war as a UN peacekeeper

and Jacques Kelly and Fred Rasmussen

topper: met them all in the same bar.

Meekrat, I'm guessing this was a bar in Charles Village.

Ever so close, but not.... Remington.

I did get style points from your compatriots for drinking rye whiskey, though.

I met an interesting man, quiet, didn't talk about himself much. Don't know what he did for a living, but the bar we were in had a whole wall of photos of the guy, so I guess he was somebody important.

I met David Simon once. He claimed that the character Mayor Carcetti was not based upon Mayor O'Malley. That makes him the worst liar ever. Oh we can't call him O'Schmalley? Well, pick a name then. I'm off to Ireland to find a doppleganger.

If eavesdropping counts, I once listened to Billy Don Schaefer's skeptical take on the purchase/price for naming rights to the football stadium;actually it kind of interfered with a romantic dinner at Corks, begging your pardon, guvnah.

" it's ordinary to hear people talk about how much money they make. In Europe it's reverse and much more fun."

Right, let's hear money talk about how many people they make. Benjamin Franklin, hit it!

Karlosi, have you ever seen Zach Galifianakis do Nathaniel Buckner, the comedian from the 1700s? It's pretty funny.
(warning, there are a couple curse words near the end)

Many years ago, I met a retired army surgeon in a bar. He recounted some fascinating stories about his time in Korea, sewing up wounded soldiers in the field. Came to find out, he had served in the same MASH unit as my Uncle Charlie. Small world.

I met a fellow in an airport bar in Atlanta who travelled around the country repairing old wooden roller coasters. One of his arms had been smashed years ago when one of the cars rolled backward on the track and crushed it. According to him, he and another guy were the only two left in the country that could repair them. He said there were only about ten or twenty of the coasters left and every single one was a death trap waiting to happen.

I met Gretchen Mol while working @ the Blue Moon Cafe. She was in town filming. (the working film title at the time was Boy of Pigs) She ended up always sitting in my section, and we'd BS while she ate.

Also, I've met the guys from Crash Test Dummies at a house party, -my house party to be exact, they were crashers!-
Paddy from Dillinger Four, and Slug and Idea from Atmosphere at a coffee house in Mpls.

It never is interesting or fun to work in the first place.

Nice article.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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