The Middle-Aged Genius’s Guide to Almost Everything 53 – Dangerous and Shitty Jobs
June 25, 2020
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: You’ve had dangerous and shitty jobs. What were those?
Rick Rosner: I’ve been lucky because most of the jobs I enjoyed. My wife has been unlucky because she hasn’t had jobs that she fully enjoyed, except high school jobs when she worked at the Almond House or the Almost Something in the Sherman Oaks Gallery in the early ‘80s, when it was the greatest shopping mall in America.
I think it was in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. It may have been mentioned in the Moon Unit Zappa song “Valley Girl.” At least, it was implied. Anyway, she enjoyed working at the Almost whatever it was.
But when she got grownup jobs. Those were jobs with big responsibilities. They involved tracking products through the manufacturing process. They weren’t fun. She had other jobs where the hierarchy was dysfunctional.
She worked at a place where the vice-president was a receptionist who had been bumped up to VP after the owner of the company made her pregnant. A place where a bunch of incompetent and screamy motherfuckers are running shit chaotically are miserable.
My wife had one trick that endeared her to people. She didn’t do it, but she was an easy crier at work. It made people love her. If you are working at a place where everyone is a twat, everyone trying to cover their feelings of competent because they are incompetent by being mean and trying intimidate people.
Someone who cries and doesn’t yell is much beloved when everyone else is hated. It was good for people liking her at work. But she didn’t like that she had a job that made her cry. I, on the other hand, have been not having a plan for succeeding in the world.
Because I just wanted to think about physics and shit. Then I just needed shit to do to make a living while I think about physics. I ended up falling into all this stuff that is fun. Because if you don’t care what you do to build a career, you can pick fun stuff as a career.
I was a bouncer for 25 years at a bunch of bars. Bouncing is not an unfun job. Usually, you are sitting there checking IDs. I love checking IDs. It is like being a little tiny detective a couple hundred times a night to see if someone is lying to you to sneak into the bar, occasionally get into a fight.
That’s, usually, kind of fun. I was lucky. I never got seriously hurt in a fight. It was fun because I never got seriously hurt. Maybe because the guy was drunk, or, maybe, no one knows how to fight in a bar. Occasionally, you meet a woman and get to go home with a woman.
I was a roller skating waiter. I was bad at being a waiter. At the same time, I was on roller skates and only a couple of hours at a time. Even the waiting on people aspect sucked, I was on fucking roller skates. So, who gives a fuck?
I, usually, had multiple jobs. The nice thing about having 4 or 5 part-time jobs. If somebody is an asshole to you at one job, like when I was a roller skating waiter, a bratty kid was giving me dirty looks. He was impugning with his looks my masculinity for being a roller skating waiter.
I am looking back at the kid on my roller skater. I could dump a milkshake on this kid and it wouldn’t matter. I could get fired and go to another job. So, fuck this kid, because I have 3 or 4 other jobs; it took the pressure off.
I was reasonably nice to that able full of people. But I felt if it went beyond some line; I could afford to lose my job. I have had fun jobs. I’ve been a joke writer forever, which I drifted into because I was, basically, looking for another opportunity to use a fake ID that said I was 18-years-old.
MTV was looking for 18-year-olds to play their game. Earlier, before or in high school, I had shitty jobs like changing cages full of puppies with diarrhea in Albuquerque, New Mexico. That job sucked. I worked also in New Mexico sweeping in a manufacturing plant for cabinets. I was the only person who didn’t speak Spanish.
Rosner: Did those jobs make me a better person? I was a dishwasher in Albuquerque for two weeks and was not one long enough to be good at it. I don’t think any of these jobs taught me anything like the value of hard work or anything.
If there is something that I value, then I will work my ass off, but I didn’t come to that conclusion by picking up poopy newspapers under 100 puppies. It was the United Pet Centre at this crappy mall. The mall where I first saw The Planet of the Apes movies the first time they were made.
This place was just illegally stuffed full of puppies. They had puppies fucking every place. It was a crazy number of puppies. I guess, any place that has that many puppies. The puppies are going to give each other diarrhea. Maybe, puppies naturally… anyway.
That place only taught me not to eat cat food. If you’re starving, you an eat dog food, dry dog food. It’s horrible. Cat food, even dry cat food, is horrible. Then I drifted into TV and had a bunch of jobs, even when they weren’t fun; they were fun because you were trying to come up with stupid shit, laughing all day, even if my work wife/my work husband/my writing partner was a mean guy.
Even with all of the abuse, I got to spend the day trying to come up with jokes and people are laughing all day. Even though, it was 12 hours a day and a high pressure job. It was a high pressure job with lunatics. So, I don’t know. I got lucky with work.
Eventually, I don’t know if I learned lessons or learned the value of hard work. I learned that if I wanted to keep my job; I would work my ass off writing for TV. It was kind of like the apocryphal story about put a frog in water.
If you slowly heat it up, the frog will stay in the water, until it boils to death. Because there isn’t a big enough jump in temperature to tell the frog to jump out of water. For writing jokes for late night, the temperature was raised. We got better and better at writing jokes.
The boss’s expectations of writing better and better jokes rose with everyone’s increased experience. We became joke machines over several years. Our productivity reached crazy levels. But it wasn’t like we were learning lessons.
We would send in a set of jokes. The boss would say, “I think you can do better.” So, we’d send in another batch. Sometimes, there’d be four go-arounds to whatever we were writing to. There weren’t lessons in that.
It was just that we were going to write, until we had jokes that our boss thought were good enough.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
(Updated July 25, 2019)
*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.*
According to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing here, Rick G. Rosner may have among America’s, North America’s, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher Harding, Jason Betts, Paul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writers Guild Awards and Emmy nominations, and was titled 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Directory with the main “Genius” listing here.
He has written for Remote Control, Crank Yankers, The Man Show, The Emmys, The Grammys, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He worked as a bouncer, a nude art model, a roller-skating waiter, and a stripper. In a television commercial, Domino’s Pizza named him the “World’s Smartest Man.” The commercial was taken off the air after Subway sandwiches issued a cease-and-desist. He was named “Best Bouncer” in the Denver Area, Colorado, by Westwood Magazine.
Rosner spent much of the late Disco Era as an undercover high school student. In addition, he spent 25 years as a bar bouncer and American fake ID-catcher, and 25+ years as a stripper, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television. Errol Morris featured Rosner in the interview series entitled First Person, where some of this history was covered by Morris. He came in second, or lost, on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? over a flawed question and lost the lawsuit. He won one game and lost one game on Are You Smarter Than a Drunk Person? (He was drunk). Finally, he spent 37+ years working on a time-invariant variation of the Big Bang Theory.
Currently, Rosner sits tweeting in a bathrobe (winter) or a towel (summer). He lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, dog, and goldfish. He and his wife have a daughter. You can send him money or questions at LanceVersusRick@Gmail.Com, or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Founder, In-Sight Publishing
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