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throughout the year as i’m working on my books i have a pretty regular schedule.  i’m drawing every day in the morning, and often in the afternoon and evening too.  but four nights a week, i’m at molly’s, slangin’ pork and treating the upper-middle-class (and up) to cheeky backtalk and proper restaurant service.  i’m a good-ass waiter.

there are times, like right now, when i feel very grateful for having any job at all.  but whenever i’m at work having a good time making money, i feel especially lucky to be at a job that isn’t awful and that affords me the time and money i need to make comics.

i never love my job more than when i’m publishing a book.

back when jad and i were putting out our first books, we would call up hundreds of comic stores when our book was in the big retail catalog for a given month.  we’d clarify their addresses for our records and ask if we could send them a copy of whatever book we were pimping in the catalog. the implication, obviously, was that we wanted them to buy copies for their store. this was shitty, shitty work.  it was nerve-racking at first, but mostly it was just boring, sedentary work.  comic stores, in our experience, were kinda divided up in thirds.  one third was super enthusiastic and had encouraging words of support; one third seemed supportive but were gruff or in need of some particular treatment–and one third was almost completely without the talent for social interaction–just real pushy pricks.  not that i’m ever patient or nice to people who call me to hit me up for money, but we never knew where we stood with this last third.  we were just offering to send a free fucking comic to them so we could be on their radar, but we’d get lectured, harassed, refused, yelled down and hung up on.  sucks to be a small publisher.

and we were only calling up places that were supposed to be “indie-friendly.”  there was a really out-of-date list floating around the internet at the time, of  a few hundred  “indie-friendly” shops around the country.  a few stores had no idea how the hell they got on the list and insisted it was a mistake.  in putting out our first few books, we made a lot of corrections and updated the list to get it current and to blow away stores that had no place on it.

anyway, the weekends of the year when we’d do this were the only weekends when i would REALLY look forward to going to my job.  we’d call ALL fucking day long and then jad and i would have to go our separate ways to work.  i hadn’t discovered the bike yet, so going to work and running around waiting tables was the only kind of physical activity i had to keep me sane.  i’ve always needed that.  i like social interaction and have a knack for it.  i’m easy to get along with and it feeds part of me to deal directly with people.  i’ve always enjoyed it.  when i don’t get any of this interaction or any physical activity, it gets hard to repair from the cannibalism of solitary art-making.  particularly during publishing, if i don’t have some social time to balance the stress and expectations–and all the SITTING AROUND at the computer–i just get permanently nervous and feel like i’m drinking a never-ending cup of coffee.

we’re publishing our newest book now, and it’s no different.  a million calls, emails and mad time at the computer.  we wouldn’t have this any other way–or, i should say, we wouldn’t let anyone else do it for us–but i’m personally glad for the chance to unwind from it at work

at molly’s, i get to pick the music as i work.  i get to rap with friends all night and crack jokes, and  some of those fools i’ve worked with for more than six years.  i get a hard half-hour on my bike before i come in, and i get to eat a bunch of free food all night.  most importantly, though, at my job, i get to flex the full power of my personality in a way comics never allow.  waiting tables, while it’s not glorious, certainly happens in the moment, and it lets out a part of me that otherwise treats me wrong when it’s kept in.

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