photo of Jasper Dickson

In all honesty, every time we approach an election I get nostalgic for a time that unbeknownst to me would change my life completely. Don’t worry; this has nothing to do with politics. I needed a job, you see. And I needed it bad. It was 2008 and the economy had just tanked. I had moved back to Los Angeles, after a quick sabbatical in northern California to take care of a few loose ends, and ended up in a little neighborhood I knew not very much about, called Silver Lake.
I split a small studio with a friend of mine’s girlfriend (which in retrospect and reality was an absolutely terrible idea) and set up my bedroom in her closet. I had come back to Los Angeles with the intent on focusing on my music and as most musicians do. I needed to find a job that would pay the legal tender. I had come up with the concept that instead of going from shit job to shit job, I wanted to work in an industry that I was just as passionate about as music, for me that happen to be wine.

I made a hit list of every wine shop and wine business in the greater Los Angeles area. Nobody was hiring. There was a place that was really close to where I lived and from what I found online seemed to be of the kind of character I was looking for. It was called “Silverlake Wine.” I swung by in the most professional attire I could muster: Khaki’s from Target and a button up red shirt from Ross Dress for Less. A very kind looking woman with long red hair took my resume and politely said, “Thank you.”
I continued with my wine job ‘hitlist’ around the greater Los Angeles area. Wasting a lot of mornings chatting with Yuliah at the Casbah Café and nights with fellow musicians enjoying cheap beer at the recently opened Cha Cha Lounge (scraps of my mid-twenties and pride still linger there.)
For some reason I continued applying at Silverlake Wine. Unfortunately I continued getting the same response. On my fourth attempt I met a gentleman named George. George explained to me that they needed someone who had working wine knowledge.

“For example, we need people who know what the grape of Barolo is.” George said. Fuck. Barolo? That could have been a sandwich for all I knew. Extra mayo. Fuck. I had to up my game. I went home and for hours straight researched every main wine region of the world. I sent a ‘Hail Mary’ email entitled “Message for George.” I explained that I would work hard. No job too big or too small. Minimum wage. I could move boxes and do stocking, clean bathrooms and do whatever was needed, while I learned about the wines.

“Have you ever been punched in the face?”

Election data was coming in state by state while I was typing the email. I could hear various shouts and cheers echoing throughout the neighborhood. A couple of hours later it appeared that Barack Obama was going to be the 44th president of the United States. Also I had just received an email. It read (and this is copied and pasted):
> Jasper, are you currently employed and do you have any schedule limitations. 

> Randy Clement

My answer to both questions was, “no.” I came in the next day and met Randy for an interview. It was very brief and went something like this:
Randy: “I liked your email. Have you ever been punched in the face?”
Me: “Several times.”
Randy: “All right. I liked your email. Show up at 10am tomorrow. Don’t come to work drunk or stoned.”
Me: “Yes Sir.”
I kept my promise.
However, I have left work drunk and stoned too many times to count.

by Jasper Dickson

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