Monday, April 9, 2012


How to Become a Cartoonist in About 20 Jobs

"They're for the man who has everything," she said.

- Your first job is obviously babysitting, which you are forced into by your parents even though you yourself doubt the wisdom of making a teenager responsible for the lives of other people’s children, which is why you contrive to shorten the danger period (the time during which the children are awake and mobile) by turning all the clocks in the sittee’s house ahead by an hour or two upon parents' departure. You rebuff attempts by one Long Island mother to enlist you in the service of selling her custom knitted "penie warmers."

- Next, work in the local public library for one summer, where you discover there is life after Nancy Drew and where you discover the Existentialists. Quit this job for mental health reasons after a fainting episode resulting from a toxic mix of insufficiant air-conditioning, Kafka, Dostoevsky, and T.E. Lawrence's (of Arabia) memoirs of his later military service under an assumed name.

- Last exactly one day at Filene’s Basement (which, it turns out, isn't even in a basement) as a fitting room attendant, where nobody ever gives you the same amount of clothing back that they went in with, but you’re too scared of them to say a word.

- Try a custodial job at the local church, and last only until asked why you didn’t clean the toilets:

“Did you scrub the toilets?”

“I have to go home now.”

- A brief attempt to earn money as a cashier at the Gristedes supermarket over at the Miracle Mile turns out to be an exercise in futility, as every night you are missing quite a bit of cash and must pay out of pocket to make the difference.

- Dunkin Donuts is next, but you develop night terrors about being literally pushed around Dunkin Donuts by your creepy mustachioed boss, who has a habit of saying things like, “Look at that floor! You call that clean? or “Look at that coffee pot! You call that clean? Find enough things out about donut mass production to put you off donuts for life. Quit/get fired within two weeks. Be wailed at in despair by your mom: “You quit your job? You should never ever quit a job before finding a new one! That could be the last job you ever have.”

Truly disgusting.

- Scoff at mom (you can do this because you’re 18 and it’s the '80s), and get a plum job selling Belgian chocolate truffles at the Trump Tower within 24 hours. Eat a LOT of “damaged” truffles. Prank call creepy ex-boss during spare time till that gets old.

- Regretfully leave this chocolate heaven for a higher paying job down the block pretending evening gowns look great on severely reupholstered rich women with disturbing names like “D.D. Kupps” at Henri Bendel. Spend most of your salary on sushi lunches, which turn out to be the only things that make life worth living long enough to go back to work after lunch break.

- Hearing that waitresses make great cash and don’t have to wake up early in the morning, quit and get a job at the Maryland Crab House where they make you a hostess after noticing and remarking upon your skinny, muscle-free arms. Learn through this job that you have the memory of a goldfish when it comes to faces and names of strangers. Night terrors about finding the restaurant empty even though you’ve made dozens of patrons wait at the bar ensue.

- You wanted to be an English major but your parents made you go to art school for college, so you rebelled by taking fashion design, which you actually hate. Therefore, after being asked to model a few times by recent fashion school graduates, you run off to Europe after graduation to be a model!

(Backstage at your first runway modelling job ever, and you made fifty bucks! This is the life!)

Find out once you get there that you were part of an “ugly model” trend that ends before you can make more money out of it than if you’d stayed home and answered phones for minimum wage full time. Cut your losses, decide you need to go back to school and start from scratch.

This is me, trying to decide whether to quit or just ask “Ugly Models Agency” if they’ll take me on. (I don’t know who did this photo, of which this is a scan of a photocopy, but if he’s out there, I love it and would like a print.)

- While trying to come up with a scheme to get a university education for free, go to Madrid to work for a friend designing stuffed toys for free (when it turns out she can’t get you a work visa after all).  In the end, the company pretty much pays you by sending you back to Paris for free.

Handmade prototypes for the toys I designed for the Sybilla Boutique in Tokyo.

- In exchange for a practically free garret with no bathroom, heat or hot water in Paris, you babysit a sweet little 98-year-old lady for four hours every Saturday while her caretaker takes the afternoon off. You routinely serve her lunch, chat philosophically with her about life in general for a while, then supposedly repair to her son’s old room to study while she naps. In this room you find a copy of the Marquis de Sade’s book with pages bearing the sexy bits glued mysteriously together here and there. After one Saturday, instead of studying, you discover her large bathroom and take to washing your hair and underwear in it very very quickly, wiping down the shower with paper towels to hide the truth of your activities. All very convenient till the sweet, philosophical old lady has a stroke. After that, Saturday afternoons are spent listening to her scream, “Call the doctor, I’m dying! I’m dying! Call an ambulance!” When you do call the doctor, he suggests you remind his patient that she is 98 years old, and is certainly dying, which, of course, you cannot bring yourself to do as she stares you down as if you were personally murdering her yourself while you explain there will be no ambulance. Even after you quit, you can still hear her screaming from the sidewalk on your way to class. You never get a chance to remind her how philosophical she used to be. (Last you hear, she was alive, and cranky.)

- While taking your studies up again for free in France (because you literally told the French government you were a Frenchman’s concubine) (a white lie), type up to 20,000 words a day at a translator’s office till you have carpal tunnel in both wrists. On the bright side, your boss is a personality carbon copy of Basil Fawlty from Fawlty Towers (his young daughter actually says “daddy!” when she sees Basil Fawlty on TV), and he always offers to make a soufflé or Hachis Parmentier (otherwise known as Shepherd’s Pie) for lunch when he needs extra hours. (Shepherd's pie will get you everywhere.) Use one of your paid vacations to work as a hostess in a couple of restaurants in New York till you earn enough to buy a computer.

- When your wrists become too painful to continue typing, quit and work for a few weeks at a fancy boutique that caters to movie stars, where the high point of your entire employed life is the day the package of returned clothing comes back from Tom Cruise’s hotel room and you open a box of returned cufflinks to discover, nestled in the velvet along with the cufflinks, one gray hair and a few flakes of dandruff (you've had enough cases of dandruff to know — it happens to the best of us). Spend every waking moment imagining scenarios ranging from the magical to the truly sordid about how they could have come to be there, until the loss of your work visa on a technicality drops you back into reality.

One of the most exquisitely poetic moments in my employed life, I think.

- Simultaneously, the folks at Jean-Paul Gaultier that have been lucratively employing you for a few weeks every fashion season for the last ten years also suddenly realize you don’t have the right kind of working visa. The jig is up. Resort once more to (this time, illegal) fancy restaurant hostessing, easily done by telling interviewers that you are a high-class ex-model and showing up for interviews wearing high heels, miniskirts, and plenty of makeup, then slipping back into Birkenstocks and glasses as soon as they're stuck with you. Have Roman Polanski punish you for this when he changes his baby's diaper in the dining room, then walks to your podium holding out the sodden diaper, handing it to you with one word: "Here." Be delighted to find out you were yelled at on the phone by the amazing Tim Burton, who, because of his bad cell phone connection you mistook for a Mr. Fingerton. (I totally forgive him.) The high point of this job is when a well-dressed Saudi Arabian lady slides a 500 franc bill into your bra after you get her a table she thinks she did not deserve somehow.

You are soon fired for lacking valid working papers, and incidentally, because you’re not being paid to be a wise-ass.

- Go back to New York and get a job working for a photographer friend who is dating a super-bosomy Victoria’s Secret model. Your job is to manage his home studio, and, it seems, his sock collection, which must be arranged in a special cubbyhole. Also, when on duty, his love life. For example, girlfriend comes back from work and changes into a bunny costume, which you must look at: “Carolita! Regarde! I’m a bunny! Regarde-moi!” Then listen to her disparage her boyfriend’s job. “I work — what he does isn’t work. I work.” On other occasions, while your friend is traveling in Chengdu, it is seemingly your duty to live in his place solely to answer his phone at 3 a.m. to place conference calls between him and the GF in LA when one of them hangs up on the other while they are fighting long-distance. On the upside, she keeps a huge tub of very expensive breast-enhancing cream in their bathroom, which you slather on after every bath you take. As you can see for yourself, it worked.

- Get fired from that job after fighting about a package of the photographer’s fashion-forward underwear you neglected to return to Wet Seal in exchange for a different size on time. Manage another photographer’s studio and life for next to nothing again until you discover that you only have a limited reserve of time-organizational skills and you’ve just used them all up on a fashion photographer. When you express your homesickness for France because you have no friends in NY except the ones who are visiting from France, he tells you, “Of course you have no friends, Carolita. This is New York. In New York, there’s only the people you work with. They’re your friends: I’m your friend.” Get so depressed about this that you end up with $15,000 of credit card debt from consoling yourself with shopping and eating sushi (still works like a charm) for lunch and dinner nearly every day.

For a while, I resorted to whimsy and made this little green Kewpie doll my little imaginary studio managers friend. (B&W test polaroid possibly by Max Vadukul or one of his assistants, and modified by me. Color polaroid by me.)

- But because the office tekkie is so unreliable that you have to watch everything he does so you can do it again when he’s not available, you have learned enough about computers and networks from this last job to fake your way to a job testing model database software in France. They love you there and you love them back. They let you bring your dog to work and never complain when you’re late. They demand that you leave at 5 p.m. on the dot, provide all benefits, including four weeks of paid vacation. You’re actually really good at it. You think, “Now, this is finally a job I like. It’s just like playing battleship all day long. It’s so easy that I can start drawing and writing after work.” You make yourself a large desk out of scrap wood for your computer and drawing needs. Get plenty of paper, ink, paint, a printer. Everything you need. Discover that the only thing you can do after work is make dinner, watch The Simpsons and Ally McBeal in French, walk the dog, then fall asleep wondering what to wear the next day. Just like everyone else with a full-time job working for someone other than yourself.

- Go back to New York determined to get into illustration, and get persuaded to assist a stylist friend for six months on Italian Vogue photo shoots instead. Start feeling oddly ugly, fat, and short. Get fired just in time for your own good when friend realizes she’s keeping you from your drawing and writing while you mismanage her Avedon shoots. She’s done you a favor, but you don’t realize it while you couch-surf for a while, because now you’re broke.  On the other hand, you’re also tall and thin again, without having grown or lost a pound. Laugh that off and get back to brass tacks. Or, pencils, as the case may be.

- Ask a friend at The New Yorker to show you an illustrator’s portfolio so you can get an idea of what one ought to look like before attempting one yourself. Be introduced to a cartoonist she was supposed to play pool with that evening, and get persuaded to take him out yourself. Take a fancy to this cartoonist and use the ancient “I have some drawings I’d like you to look at,” excuse to try to get in his pants and at least have a love life while you try to figure out the rest of your life. Cartoonist actually takes you seriously, looks at your terrible drawings, suggests different art materials, and also that you might try cartooning. He offers to show your stuff to his editor at The New Yorker, but you figure he’s just saying that to sweeten the deal, which is cute because he really doesn’t have to: pants off would’ve been enough. Play along with this ruse and start doing cartoons because drawing ten cartoons a week isn’t going to kill you, is it? It might even help. Within six weeks, you find out he wasn’t just being nice: you’ve sold your first cartoon.

We had a lot in common but I knew he was for me when he asked me what my favorite pencil hardness was.

Previously: Scala Coeli.

Carolita Johnson's cartoons appear in The New Yorker and at Oscarinaland.

120 Comments / Post A Comment


I really, really love reading about the bizarre/shitty/temporary jobs people have held on their way to get to the place where they can do whatever they're doing now. I could read about mean bosses and dodgy co-workers and tedium all day long. It reminds me of a line in an interview with Geoff Dyer that I read recently, where he talks about ambition ambition always being manifested in "very actionable increments.”


@Decca I have no ambition, just things I do because they need doing. Some are more glam than others, I guess!


@carolita All right, Hairpin, worst (or the best weirdest) job you've ever had?

Cat named Virtute

@Decca Oh man. Worst is a tie. On the one hand, the Thai restaurant where I was a prep cook when I was 17. The family that ran it HATED me, and I was invariably sent to the back landing to peel potatoes or onions and get blasted with icy Canadian prairie winter air whenever people went in or out for a smoke break. I have never been able to eat calamari since because of the memory of the white rubbery calamari slices in their tubs of ice. On the other hand, the call centre I worked at for a summer in Montreal when I was 21, calling people in Ontario to ask if they wanted to purchase insurance for their furnace or air conditioning unit where I got tag-team hit on by two of my coworkers, spent eight hours a day trying to hide the book at my desk from my militant supervisor, and spent my lunch hours getting lost in downtown Montreal while eating a lox bagel.

Now I work in a library, which is its own wonderful brand of heaven and hell.


@Decca Worst job I ever I had I quit after just one day (university annual fund, three hours of being hung up on while begging alums from twenty years ago for donations). Weirdest was also the best; I loved working for that Christmas store so much, I would have done it all year.

Jenny Cox

@Decca personal assistant to a 21 year old online gambler.


@Decca Aged 19, after quitting university, I got a job in a suburban pub. One of the shift managers took an instant dislike to me and would give me the most pointless, degrading jobs to do like washing the fire exit. I would fill a bucket with hot soapy water and sit out there for as long as I could take it, picking at my nails and wondering how my life had turned out this way. One day, I caught an elderly man masturbating under a table during the lunch shift. Eventually, after so many double-shifts that my mind and body were utterly exhausted, I slept-in and missed a shift and never went back. I had earned so much money with no time off in which to spend it that I was able to spend the next six months doing nothing but taking drugs and half-heartedly working on an art portfolio for a design course I never applied for.
Things are better now.


@Decca Worst: dishwasher/cupcake-decorator-in-training (I never got too far) at a bakery. The guy who owned it was a complete tool, made fun of me for never having used a mop before (we're talking school-janitor-size mop), and fired me when I called in sick. I'M SORRY, I DON'T WANT TO FLU-SNEEZE ON YOUR STUPID CUPCAKES. I was there for all of maybe two months?

Tuna Surprise

Telephone operator for the deaf. It was an amazing job. Literally getting paid to eavesdrop on people's lives.


@sophia_h I did almost that same job, except I called prospective students to try and convince them to come visit. On the plus side, it helped overcome my fear of talking on the phone


@Decca My own worst job wasn't too awful in the scheme of grand things, I was just way too young and inexperienced for it. The year I was 17 I worked for a catering company in the corporate suites at a sports stadium. Usually I was a general dogsbody, but every now and then one of the real staff would call in sick and I would be put in charge of looking after an entire 15-person suite by myself, serving their drinks and organising their food. I hadn't even tasted a drop of alcohol at that stage, and had no idea what any of the drink orders being yelled at me by a dozen drunk lawyers were.

There was also the supervisor of a restaurant I waitressed at when I was a few years older and wiser, who made my working life miserable by changing my hours without telling me and constantly yelling at me in Polish, and who then tried to seduce me when we were all out for post-shift drinks one night.

My best job was definitely as a tour guide in the Guinness Storehosue.


@Tuna Surprise Oh man, how did you get into that? I LOVE eavesdropping on people's lives.


@Decca One time while living in an Eastern European country I agreed to take over this other American guy's job working as a sort of translator/respectable business contact for a pornography conglomerate run by the Russian mob, because he was afraid they wouldn't take it too kindly if he quit without finding a replacement. As I recall I was supposed to show up a certain place at a certain date/time, but decided to leave the country on short notice instead.


@Decca I was a housekeeper at a bed and breakfast the first summer I moved to Boston. The greatest lesson I learned from that job: every person is completely disgusting in their own special way.


@Decca I was a nanny for a couple consisting of a stay at home mom and a dad who worked from home. To be fair, I only came 2 days a week, and the mom used that time to go run errands, see friends, etc., which I did not begrudge her. And the dad really did work from home in some sort of job that precluded the ability to watch the little girl. The little girl was cute but totally out of control - at all of 2 years old, her parents were reasoning and negotiating with her, and you can guess how that went. And then the mom started to sell Mary Kay, and pressured me into having her over with all my friends so she could sell us make up, then pressured me into going to this intro sales rah-rah meeting (first step in becoming a rep). I was in college, and it all was just...too much. I told her I wasn't comfortable doing the MK thing, and she fired me from the nanny job about a week later.


@Decca Best job: writing master's dissertations for £££.


@Decca What they don't tell you about being a cashier at a farm store: you will spend a lot of time picking crusted poop off baby chick butts.

Barry Grant

@Decca Worst: Phone sales. I got up at lunch on day two and quit.

Best: Ice cream truck driver! Oh the shiny faces on those little kids.

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@Decca Guinness Storehouse tour guide sounds amazing. My friend spent a summer as a tour guide for the Dun Aengus fort on the Aran Islands and he really loved it, except when he had to run around telling Italian schoolkids to stop climbing on the fragile Bronze Age walls....


@Barry Grant Oh! Can I change my "best"? I delivered flowers on Valentine's Day one year. Only time I've ever worked customer service where every single person was happy to see me. (Plus I made like $350.)


@Decca I applied to a test-prep company to be an SAT tutor, and instead they hired me to write sample-test answers for the LSAT, which was a strange choice on their part since I was 18 and had no familiarity whatsoever with the LSAT test format. The computer they had me work at was all by itself in the lobby of their office suite, no one ever spoke to me, and when I made up my mind to quit, my boss guessed what I wanted to talk to him about and flaked on three meetings in a row. When my paycheck eventually came in the mail, it was short. Jerks.


@Decca Not my worst job (those are just the tedious office type) but most bizarre: in NYC I was a dog sitter for a famous, but faded rock star who is notoriously grumpy.

Pros: got to sit about in his house with his calm, but sad old dog and watch her be trained to play the piano and paint (this is true)
Cons: rock star and artist wife thought I was completely stupid (I am just painfully shy) and also made me carry their four-six pieces of luggage upstairs to their flat late at night once. Once because I quit after that.


NO THERE WAS NOT someone named "D.D. Kupps." That shit is truly poetic.


@Elleohelle I recall asking if that were her real name and her insisting it was. but since she didn't buy the gown she had me put on hold I was never able to check it against her credit card...


@carolita Someday D. D. Kupps is going to google herself and be shocked--shocked--that someone put her name on the internet.


@SarahP Let's not pretend D.D. Kupps is in any way aware of self-googling.


Your postscript made me go "aw!"


@Clare Me, too, even after all these years! ;)


@carolita You're still with him? That is THE BEST. (What is your favorite pencil hardness, btw?)


@Clare 6B! I love a nice bold pencil. 8B verges on creamy!


@carolita 8B! Wow! The softest I've ever used was a 5, I think. Maybe I should embrace the butter.


I love everything you've posted, just fyi.


@martinipie I second that!


Our career paths were parallel until you decided to quit the library (the air conditioning at my small town public library was superb). Also when asked to scrub toilets, my answer was akin to "How hard!" Union wages!!


@bangs I was a wuss! I'd never cleaned my own toilet (yet!), and so could not conceive of cleaning a public one! College years made me more practical... I am now very good at it.


Oh my god. This makes me so happy. The whole thing, but especially the end. <3


@PistolPackinMama Oh... and the hand-knitted penis-warmers.

What even is that?


@PistolPackinMama Guess what? I found some on etsy. The mind boggles. So do peckers everywhere, too, I'm sure.


@carolita There are reasons the site Regretsy was invented, and hand-knitted penis warmers are one of them.

Also, I think hand-knitting penis warmers go straight to the top of the list of Things Never To Buy In a Vintage Store. Even above used bike shorts.





@PistolPackinMama A friend of mine knitted some for a medical-school art show with a sexuality theme. I thought for sure she invented them and that they had no use outside of looking cute in a glass case. Little did I know I was so, so wrong...


"F!?!? You minx..."

Oh, squiggles

Favorite pencil hardness huh? For a good drawing I need at least 3 pencils. 2H to start, 2B for filling in, and 6B or more for getting the good darks in.

Oh, wait. Does pencil=penis?


@Awesomely Nonfunctional haha, only when I tell the story, because everyone thinks my mind is in the gutter for some reason! :) No, he was totally serious, but I was also totally in 13-year old schoolkid mode, and loved it. I'm kind of permanently in 13 year old schoolkid mode, though.

Carrie Ann

Carolita, this was so great. It's really helpful to hear people's less-glam experiences before things worked out. You know? Otherwise, it can feel like all I see are 25-year-olds who landed in the perfect job after college and everything they touch turns to gold. Even if they're 40, but they never discuss their icky pasts, it's hard to relate to and can be discouraging. I love your honesty in all of your posts.

Cat named Virtute

@Carrie Ann Yes, I agree! I love the mixture of glam and grit in Carolita's stories. It gives me hope for myself.


@Carrie Ann well, I've always believed in being busy whatever is going on, and pretty much no job is beneath me when I'm unemployed and getting close to unable to pay the rent, which happens every now and then to anyone, doesn't it? I had one summer that went very slowly while I was cartooning, and did phone marketing in a call center, selling orchestra subscriptions. It was actually amazingly interesting. The people who worked there were amazing, and so were some of the victims of my phone calls. Made me overcome my fear of cold-calling people. And of course, before long, I had to quit because business picked up. Plus, everything is field work, to me, when it's not my vocation. That's probably a good way to go though life/employment.

Princess Langwidere

"Just like everyone else with a full-time job working for someone other than yourself."

This sentence...you mean to tell me that I am NOT defective for having as yet been unable to realize my dream job in the evenings on top of my day job?! I'm not just lazy and need to 'work harder' and somehow paradoxically 'sleep more'? Oh Carolita, this little crumb of validation is just what I needed at this moment.


@Princess Langwidere it's true. It took me a long time and the perfect job to realize that. That's why I packed it all in and started from scratch in NYC. It was pret-ty scary. Had to live with my parents for a while, then couch-surf, then find the appropriate non-full-time day job. Which I did, luckily. But that's for another story, I guess!

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@carolita Did your parents give you a hard time for not following a 'conventional' career path or did they trust your judgement? I'd love to start from scratch at my vocation the way you did, but I find it impossible not to let potential parental disappointment hold me back.


@Speaking of cake, I have cake My parents weren't going to let me study English Lit because they thought that would mean I'd be poor all my life, and be a total loser. So, they actually MADE me go to art school for college. They had this idea that "commercial artists" made big money, and that this was what I'd do. They wanted me to go to FIT, because it was cheaper than Parson's. But I forced the issue and insisted that I go to Parson's because at that time, FIT did not offer a BFA, just a certificate. I fully intended to use that BFA to apply somewhere else when the time came. In my third year I realized I would never be a fashion designer, and offered my parents the chance to let me quit, and not pay for a fourth year of my education. But they insisted I go the whole hog, which was when I told them that my degree was more important to them than to me, and that this dispensed me from paying back my student loans. Also, that I would be leaving for Europe after graduation for at least ten years. They were like, yeah, right, whatever, okay, whatever you say. And that's what I did. I ended up back in school, but for French Lit, basically, instead. And then forever more my mom would keep asking me when I was going to get a real job and come back and settle down. My parents didn't even believe I'd sold a cartoon to The New Yorker till it came out! And then all my dad had to say about it was, "Do you know Gahan Wilson? Can you get his autograph?" :)
You can't expect support from your parents when you do things like live abroad illegally for a decade, really. I mean, it's nice if you can, but you can't expect it. Plus, potential parental disappointment, a holdback? I've never worried about what my parents think of my choices in life once I was a legal adult. In fact, the times they expressed doubts, it only made me feel unjustly doubted. The only thing I ever was embarrassed about, a little, was that credit card debt. That was so annoying to admit to!

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@carolita "Plus, potential parental disappointment, a holdback?" Very good point - it shouldn't be a holdback at all but whatever configuration of personality and events and family history has occurred in my life, it has caused me to be easily discouraged by others' opinions. But hopefully I'll muster up the courage eventually! Laughed at the story about your dad - it's true that once you own what you're doing, they actually end up getting behind it 100%


@Speaking of cake, I have cake well, I'm not one to give advice, but Rene Char said: "Impose ta chance, serre ton bonheur et cours vers ton risque. A te regarder, ils s'habitueront."
TRANSLATION: Impose your own luck, embrace your happiness, and run towards your risk; those watching you will get used to it."

I'm all for letting people "get used to it."

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@carolita What a super quote! I must improve my French pronunciation so I can go around saying it to people. Also, great advice, thanks :)


@Speaking of cake, I have cake It's basically your parent's job to disapprove of anything you do that isn't babies and riches. So you can take that as a token effort on their part and move on (I am working on this). No, but seriously, they also forget what the world looks like from your age's point of view - one of my friend's mothers is currently freaking out that the (VERY NICE) house she bought isn't perfect. Like my friend could afford a perfect house in a perfect area, or their parents could at that age? They want you to be safe, but they forget sometimes that that means living with uncertainty sometimes to get there.

@Carolita, I second the thanks for that sentence. Working full time is HARD. I need to be reminded of this constantly, or else I feel like I am failing at life.


I laughed throughout this entire thing. I also cannot believe I am the first person to ask the name of this mysterious breast-enhancing cream! (For a friend.)


@sophia_h Tee hee - I am curious whether the "active ingredient" or whatever has ever been marketed as a penis-enhancing cream.


@sophia_h hehehe, it was something fancy schmancy by Clarins, I think. Possibly by Chanel. Personally, I think simply moisturizing your neck and décolleté (and your side of armpits) regularly will get you the nicest boobs you can possibly naturally ever have. A little jojoba oil, coco butter or shea butter ought to do the trick. ;)


@carolita So, that, plus doing the boob exercises out of "Are You There God, it's Me, Margaret" should get me the c cups of my dreams?

RK Fire

@carolita: Wait, so on top of moisturizing my legs and arms, I should also spend time moisturizing my neck, side of armpits, and boobs too? I think I may need to post a reminder in my bathroom for post-shower time.


@RK Fire "We must - we must - we must increase our bust!" That one? I actually remember doing that with girlfriends when we were 13...


@RK Fire I saw the light when I learned that the literal translation for the French word for "bra" was "neck supporter." That's because basically all your neck skin does is hold up your boobs. So, take care of the area between your neck and your boobs, and you ought to do alright!


@RK Fire Maybe you should just take coconut oil baths every night instead?

Jenny Cox

This piece gives me hope. :)


Hooray! Today is my 30th birthday and a Carolita column is the ideal present. This is so good. And also so comforting: THERE IS NO SET TIMETABLE FOR ACCOMPLISHING PROFESSIONAL GOALS. IT IS OKAY TO HAVE TURNED 30 WITHOUT HAVING WRITTEN A NOVEL YET. And furthermore, this is hilarious: "Of course you have no friends, Carolita. This is New York. In New York, there’s only the people you work with. They’re your friends: I’m your friend."


@werewolfbarmitzvah HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Have you become a man/wolf yet?


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Not just yet, but it's almost a full mooooooOOOOOOOOOOoooon!


@werewolfbarmitzvah HAPPY BIRTHDAY! My 3-0 is in 13 days! I will turn to the Hairpin to help me cope!


@werewolfbarmitzvah I believe in taking your sweet time. Living right is more important than ambition. Happy Birthday!! (And that photographer is definitely a friend, though I may not have realized it back then when I was so homesick! And badly paid, ahem!)


@werewolfbarmitzvah @ QuiteAimable Hippy Bathday! I turn 30 this month too :)


I love that people are able to live like this and wander the globe. I think that if I were not of the first-born, need for security variety of person I could do amazing things. Currently I am slogging through crappy job after crappy job (in order to have insurance) since being laid off waaaay too long ago to use that as an excuse. This however, gives me hope and shows the need to have interesting friends and to let go a little.


@sovereignann@twitter I'm a first born! Let that give you hope, too! But personally, all jobs are crappy. You're the one that makes them good. Which isn't to say there aren't better jobs to be had, nearly always.



"...all jobs are crappy. You're the one that makes them good."

This changes a lot of my outlook!


@carolita Thank you! This "...all jobs are crappy. You're the one that makes them good." is a very true statement. I think it is the feeling that this job has me stuck and can't possibly be anything other than a place holder but you never know who you might meet or where life will take you if you take a wee bit of a risk. I would just like it all to gel now, please. ;)


Is it weird that I'm a dude and I'm totally jealous of your life?


@stuffisthings Actually, if you replace retail with bartending, the fringes of the fashion industry with the fringes of the international development industry, France with England, and subtract the good looks altogether, I'm kind of most of the way there.

I wonder if this means I'm destined to be a video game designer?


Carolita! I loved this...as silly as it may seem to you, reading about these unglamorous phases that lead up to where you're meant to be are inspirational. Thanks!


Carolita! I love your posts so much.


Comme vous êtes belle! Mais dans vos dessins...

(je rigole)


If there ARE any opportunities to get paid for being a wiseass, please let me know—I'm qualified.


@atipofthehat try cartooning! ;)



Ha. Actually, I can draw! I have toolboxes full of pencils and reams of Rives BFK!

Once I was considered for a job as a tabloid editorial cartoonist—lucky I didn't get that one.


@atipofthehat Perhaps you should apply to be a guard at the punitentiary.

oh, disaster

I took my time reading this because I didn't want it to end.


Oooh I have done the grocery store cashier who constantly has money stolen out of the till! I'm pretty sure they told me how to lock it wrong just so they could steal from me! I just stopped going to that one, it kind of traumatized me against working for a while.

Roaring Girl

What *does* a professional illustrator's portfolio look like? I've only been walked through the art school application variety, which is all "LOOK HOW I AM TOTALLY CAPABLE OF RENDERING A SPHERE, WITH SHADOWS AND HIGHLIGHTS AND ALL, WHY DON'T YOU. ALSO, STIPPLING!"

Favorite hardness: screw that, ebony pencils. Delicious.


@Roaring Girl they're just way too impressive for words, really. I've never done one in earnest in the end. I'm also beginning to wonder if they're not becoming outdated, what with the internet and all. You get a website, put all your work on it, you send a link, and basta, no? Why would anyone want a portfolio cluttering up their office these days? On the other hand, I'm not exactly a full time illustrator yet, so I may have something to learn...


oh my god this was/is/will be exactly my life.

HB forever and ever. I SAID IT.


@Esther they last longer, anyway! ;) I hardly ever use pencil, mostly ink and pen and ink and brush, so when I do take up a pencil, I kind of need it to look like ink! It's just instant gratification, really. I should perhaps exercise a little moderation now and then.


Definitely gonna try that breast enhancing cream, I always wanted to wind up looking like Dolly!


Just echoing everyone's relief at seeing something like this written down. I've been working at a world language teacher for the past two years, which I never meant to do and don't want to do anymore, and now have no idea what to do with my life. I was readmitted to college last Friday, and might go back and get a degree in computer science!

Anyway, I just feel like I am supposed to have it figured out and going back for a second degree is failure, but LIFE IS LONG AND THINGS CHANGE. (yes? right?)


Carolita! Wonderful, as usual. If everything in the next two years goes according to schedule, I will have 9 months between when I finish medical school and when residency starts. I'm supposed to be doing research or an MPH or MBA or something to fill my time, but your amazing stories are inspiring me to learn Spanish and backpack through South & Central America instead.


@staircases Well, I'd play it by ear! Be careful in South & Central America, though -- a lot of kidnappings going on there these days. I just felt it was my duty to say that, but I don't want to dampen your spirit at all!


@staircases unsolicited advice from a Close Friend of Multiple Med Students?

GIRRRRRRRL you're gonna be a m-effing DOCTOR. DO NOT SPEND your 9 month break doing something "practical." Go. Have. An. Adventure. (But be safe! Like Carolita says).


@carolita Thanks, I will keep that in mind! Hopefully I can find someone to travel with.

@halfheartedyoga My thoughts exactly! There's plenty of time for practicality later.


As always, I enjoyed this piece.

P.S. I do not think "night terrors" are what you think they are. They're not just a particularly terrifying kind of nightmare.


@tee I know, I was exaggerating. But I did wake up in a cold sweat over it quite often. It was really unhealthy.

Passion Fruit

Carolita! I loved it! So encouraging to hear about badasses slogging through their youth. I hope to one day possess huevos like you.

Not to be a creeping perv (too late!), but is the top right hand cartoon from Michael's website about you two and your undying love/lust?


@Passion Fruit Haha, no, he did that cartoon ages before we met! I googled him after I met him, when I got back to Paris (he was only meant to be a NY fling when I first met him), and burst out laughing at my desk (at the software testing job). It's a good one, isn't it! But I have done cartoons based on us. The latest one being the one about the dishes: http://preview.tinyurl.com/7vguzlv

Passion Fruit

@carolita Ah, it looks like you but with longer hair. Destiny; spooOOOooky!


@Passion Fruit haha, you flatter me! :)

miss maybe

I still don't understand the concept of an ugly model. They're still so beautiful, espicially Ms carolita. I would marry that face if I could.


@miss maybe well, I always say (and thank you, thank you, that warms my heart), that if you put me next to a real model, you'll see just how "ugly" I look. Seriously, I just look like any ole regular, not that pretty, not that skinny, not even that tall person. But, also like I say, I'm glad that "ugly model" thing helped bring the bar "down" (to earth!) a little, so more of us could be beautiful!


Hey, I just wanted to say thank you for all the great comments, including the ones I felt too bashful to respond to!


In case anyone was curious, (I'm guessing the original) Filene's Basement was in Boston underneath Filene's, and was actually in a basement. Currently, its a hole in the middle of downtown crossing under much contention because no one has been able to afford to build anything in its place.


@Biketastrophy aha! at last, it's explained!


You basically lived a charmed version of the life path I'm on right now (though I'm trying to get into screenwriting). France, fashion, Dunkin Donuts...it's also creepy how much we look alike--I'm even half-considering this Ugly Models Agency now.

But I'd just like to pen a little disclaimer for my fellow youngs reading right now, coming up in a Recession--you'll definitely have to tough it out for more than 2 weeks at Dunkin Donuts (try 4 months, mostly fulltime), and Parisians aren't usually that nice (even when you speak the language after living 3 years in a Francophone country).


@Juliana@twitter ah, but you won't get anywhere with Parisians if you don't like them. I know they're not nice, but I liked them just the way they are. It's not my goal to be nice all the time, either. We saw eye to eye there. ;)


Carolita posts make my day every. single. time. Thanks so much!


so THAT'S how you stayed in paris for so long! maybe i'll have the courage to try that out this summer.

i almost fell over because of that polanski anecdote, but given everything else we know about him, it definitely sounds like something he would do.


@Pheen they're a little tougher on illegal workers now, though. You'll have to have a very clever plan! Bonne chance! :)


Carolita, you have now solidified your position as one of my heroes. Heroines. Love love love this!!!

Bob Eckstein

Fascinating journey and big fan of your cartoons. Entertaining and well-written. Off the Facebook it!

Christopher Thayer


That was a really excellent read, I especially liked the ending, which I suspect is just another beginning....well done.:)


This is so very good. I hope you have your Express pants on. Love it a lot.online professor jobs


I have not checked in here for some time since I thought it was getting boring male enhancement reviews


A person necessarily assist to make severely posts I would state. This is the first time I frequented your web page and up to now? I surprised with the analysis you made to create this actual put up incredible. Wonderful task! vigrx coupon code

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account