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I Am A Security Guard: And I Won't Carry A Gun

As part of my ongoing effort to find another job, I took the El downtown for an interview. A security company had advertised openings that paid better than the minimum wage I currently earn. During the session, I confronted one of my deepest fears.

I walked into an office and filled out an application in a cramped reception area. Eight people, all looking nervous, waited along with me. The receptionist sent us one by one into a small room for an interview.

My turn came. A man who resembled a thinner and more chiseled version of Charles Bronson sat at a table. He asked me a few basic questions. Then he plunged into the heart of the matter. "Do you have a problem carrying a gun?"

"Yes," I replied.

The interview concluded shortly thereafter. I left knowing he would not call me back.

I did not tell him the whole story. The truth is that guns scare the hell out of me. That fear dates back to my childhood.

During part of my youth, my father owned a small revolver. Occasionally, he proudly showed off the gun and his license.

Unfortunately, he also had a temper. It flared on a summer day long ago.

He gave me some money and sent me to the corner store. When I returned to our second-floor apartment, he asked for the change. I reached into my pocket. The change was missing.

I didn't steal the dough, but feared a beating anyway. Instead of saying I lost the cash, I told him someone picked my pocket.

His eyes narrowed. I waited for him to tell me to take off my clothes - the signal for a whipping with a belt.

He must have figured I didn't have the cajones to steal from him. Instead of grabbing a belt, he reached for his gun and dragged me down the stairs to his car.

After he drove to the store, he told me to point out the thief. I claimed I did not see him. By then, my father had calmed down. He drove us home.

That day continues to haunt me. My lie nearly caused my father to commit a violent act with a gun.

The apple does not fall far from the tree. The memory of my public outbursts and high school fist fights remind me that I have my father's temper. I work very hard to control myself enough to deal with the general public. Yet, I know the wrong word or action at the wrong time could set me off. People like me should not pack any heat.

When it comes to security work, The Andy Griffith Show comes to mind. Barney Fife had a fetish for his "baby." Not me. I'd rather be Andy Taylor, who did not carry a weapon.

I didn't say any of this to the interviewer. I just meekly left the building.

Back to the job search.


A very pseudononymous Jerome Haller earns rent money as a security guard for a large, publicly-held retail chain. He welcomes your comments.


See more tales of security guarding, pizzeria waitressing, barista-ing and office drudgering in our Life at Work collection.


Posted on January 11, 2011

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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