For the first time on Wetwork we’re featuring the same subject for two episodes. Why? Because the subject is one of numerous people who do not subsist on a single profession. According to the most recently available data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (originating from the 2010 census) more than 7 million people, or 5% of the total work force, hold 2 or more full-time jobs. More than half of that 7 million are women. For some, juggling two jobs is just one part of a sad economic reality and is the only way to remain underemployed and not living dangerously paycheck to paycheck.
For others, like Stephen Mills, one job is subordinate to another and allows the freedom to engage in creative, artistic pursuits while still keeping the lights on. This is not uncommon in the world of the arts. In fact, it’s probably more the norm than not. I, indeed, can count myself among that group. I have a full time job that has nothing to do with writing, recording and producing a podcast. But Stephen and I have that in common, because his second profession, and the one highlighted in today’s episode, is that of The Poet. And while we’ll learn that Stephen has had pretty extraordinary success in the world of poetry, especially in a field which today is surprisingly full, rich and competitive, it doesn’t pay the bills. But like most artists who work a full time job to supplement their art, your primary source of income can inform that art and give you inspiration and ammunition. Stephen elaborates on the balance of his two primary professions and while in the last episode, entitled “The Tester & The Poet” the STI testing he performs was featured heavily, while in this episode we delve into how those experiences as a tester can both inspire his poetry and allow him the freedom to pursue it.
Ryan White was an Indiana boy who became the face of the AIDS crisis after contracting it and being expelled from school. Stephen Mills was seven at the time and also a boy in Indiana. For him, the HIV/AIDS crisis was not exemplified by gay men, but by a child with a background similar to his. For many whose formative years occurred between the early 80’s and mid 90s, HIV and AIDS had a profound effect on their coming of age.
Many didn’t witness friends dying directly, but saw the news stories, movies and witnessed fear on the faces of authority figures and friends. Many gay men in this age group still bear enormous anxiety and paranoia about sex. They have been scolded about condom use their whole lives and were taught to associate sex with danger and death. This shape of things has long been a concern for Stephen Mills. One he’s touched on both as a gay man and as a professional poet. About a year ago, Stephen got the opportunity to put that concern and interest into practice with a job opportunity as an HIV/STI tester in NYC sex venues.
For most of us, being face-to-face with a Funeral Director means one of two very, very unfortunate things. Either someone you love has died…or you have. Either way a Funeral Director’s services are enlisted at a time when you’d probably do anything to turn turn back the clock and avoid whatever transpired to lead to that moment. Picture a Funeral Director in your mind. Who are you picturing? It’s probably some cross between Lurch from the Addams family and Bella Lugosi. Well, at least for the subject of today’s episode, that is not the case.
Ben Schmidt is a Funeral Director, yes. But he’s also a personable, talkative, enthusiastic, lively Chicagoan who has a love affair with the Cubs and a deep passion for life, even though he spends his days dealing with death and all the logistics that swirl around it. He joins us to speak to how you balance the profession, from the backroom where the dirty work is done, to the front room where you have to empathize and help those left living through some of the hardest moments they will ever endure.
Today's episode deals with a job that no one signs up for, but nearly every American is on the hook for. We're breaking convention in only our third episode by releasing an at least partly autobiographical story about yours truly. Yes, I, your humble host, was called for Jury Duty. You will hear some on the scene audio of my experience as a prospective juror, my thoughts at the time and just what it’s like to sit and wait and sit and wait and sit and wait, which is mostly what being a prospective juror consists of.
I'll also speak to Associate Attorney William Mims, Esq. of Koleilat & Miller, Attorneys at Law in Daytona Beach, FL. He will provide a bit of insight about the jury selection process from the defense’s side and from the prosecution's and why I may or may not be a juror of choice, depending on the which side of the aisle an attorney is sitting on.
Special thanks to William Mims, Esq. for joining us. He can be reached at the law offices of Koleilat & Miller at http://duidivorce.com/ or (386) 253-4720. They service Volusia and Flagler counties in Central Florida.
George Carlin had a very famous bit in his act where he explored what he thought to be the absurdity of some commonly used oxymorons. Favorites included: jumbo shrimp, business ethics, friendly fire, wireless cable and mutual differences. The example that received some of the most intense laughter, however? Military Intelligence. Why is that? What was it the public responded to in that observation?
What does military intelligence look and feel like in practice? Is it the room full of black suits with cigars laughing as they run the world? Or is it the modern cubicle office space and a world governed by a lumbering, clumsy bureaucracy? Retired Colonel William Millard has been in some of those rooms, seen some of those things first hand and was intimately involved in one of the most intensely debated sociopolitical issues of 21st century’s first decade. He joins us, to pull back the curtain and shed some light.
In the film business there is a laundry list of undervalued positions in many tiers. But of the creative talent lot there is a position that sits on a tier all it’s own: the screenwriter. In the golden age of film, screenwriting was the profession failing play writes or novelists resorted to to make a quick buck. It was looked down upon.
The industry insider term for the job, at that time, was “Writing Titles” because no one believed that the screenwriter did much more than that. There’s a general disconnect between the contribution screenwriters provide to the process and the respect they’re shown, even when working for a director of note and a huge, well respected, production company. Max La Bella knows the harsh realities all too well and is with us to share some of the gory details.