Neesie Steinke, 9/17/2018
Current Occupation: Licensed Massage Therapist
Former Occupation: Corporate Lackey
Contact Information: Neesie is a licensed massage therapist, business owner and college instructor. In her spare time she enjoys writing comedy and embroidering profanity on antique hankerchiefs. Her animated short “The Shite House” was featured in the 2018 Portland Underground Film Festival.
It Began with Bunions
From an early age, my career prospects were severely limited by poverty and alienation. My childhood was like a Dickens novel, only with more dicks in it. To entertain ourselves, my little brother and I played a game called Kick the Can Then Take It In for a Nickel.
My first paying job entailed rubbing the rich neighbor lady's feet with lotion for a quarter. This is true and verifiable. My brother and I each took a foot. She had long, old toenails and plenty of bunions. I'd save up my 25 cents a day earnings and buy candy in bulk once a week, then eat it all in one sitting. This is where I first learned the art of self-medicating.
The utter humiliation continued as I worked as a carhop at our local A&W restaurant making $1.85 an hour. It was legal to pay students under the age of 16 about half of minimum wage at the time. For $1.85 an hour, I was required to wear an ill-fitting uniform of orange and brown polyester with a matching hat that looked like a bunched up pincushion. I quickly acclimated to ignoring sexual harassment by an unlimited stream of Fast Times at Ridgemont High lookalikes attempting to lure me into their vans.
My job duties included picking up cigarette butts from the parking lot while my peers observed on their way to the mall. And removing old gum from the bottom of dining tables, plus cleaning the orange vinyl booths with searing hot bleach water. The owner was too cheap to provide gloves, but had plenty of buckets and rags. I regularly fantasized about fitting perfectly into a pair of glass slippers, escaping A&W forever and going to the ball.
The worst part by far was cleaning the bathrooms. I don't know if it was the bathrooms' remote location: customers had to go outside and walk around the back of the building while carrying a key chained to a large A&W mug. Perhaps it was the steady stream of patrons ingesting double chili dogs. The bathroom floor and toilet often appeared to be visited by an explosive diarrhea convention. Today, nearly 3 decades later, I cannot see or smell a root beer float without becoming nauseated. I think I have Post Traumatic Floater Syndrome, or "PTFS."
Fortunately my luck turned with time, patience and experience. I now have a job that I love, as a licensed massage therapist. Ironically, I end as I began, rubbing feet with lotion, spending my money to binge on candy. But now I also binge on alcohol and drugs. Cheers to self-medicating!