Toon Tunes: Squidward Quits His Job

curated by Noah Jacobs of The Grey Estates Podcast

 I remember the first time I had a panic attack because of my job. I was nineteen-years-old and the manager at the residence hall mailroom at my future alma mater. I was working on a paper at the library when I got a call from one of my employees - all of them, at that point, were ladies - saying that a guy was pacing back and forth in front of the service window muttering about how she had laughed at something he said in class that day. I had her close the window and we called campus security. Thanks to that kid’s own mania, he wound up expelled the next day. A day after that, a package was delivered to him with a knife sticking out of the bottom right corner.

Once, almost a decade in the future, while taking a class of preschoolers on a field trip to the local science museum, I watched in horror while one of my supervisors grabbed an unrelated child from the community by his wrist and tried to drag him along with us onto the bus. I never got to tell his mom sorry. When my teaching partner and mentor transferred to the public school system months later, I was told that I was being passed up for her job in order to send in a woman who was far less qualified than me but who “could learn from some of [your] kindness.”

Years before, I was producing and engineering a live, drive time, call-in talk radio show at one of the largest public radio stations in the world. We had a guest on talking about conserving a part of the Redwood National Forest or something. I don’t even remember. What I remember was getting a call from a listener who was a staunch supporter of the logging industry, being asked why there was no viewpoint like his on the air that day, and being hung up on when I asked if he had any suggestions for who to get on in the future. He hung up in order to call the station manager, who admitted to me that I did no wrong, but still insisted I issue an apology to the caller as the lowest rung on the station’s ladder.

These stories are specific to me but the themes are hardly alien to anyone in the workforce.

When you’re a kid, you love the Sponge. His antics excite you. But as I’ve grown up, I’ve come to think a lot about Spongebob’s lone co-worker at the Krusty Krab: Squidward Tentacles. Boil it down: he shows up for work every day at a job he openly hates, undoubtedly for minimum wage, in order to afford his modest Mo’ai in the middle of nowhere on the outskirts of Bikini Bottom, surrounded on both sides by disrespectful neighbors. In his spare time, his passions include music and the arts. He’s a good guy. He just doesn’t want to hang out with Spongebob and Patrick.

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This week on Toon Tunes, The Grey Estates explores the inner psyche of Squidward. We know what it’s like to be without a job, to find a job, to hate your job, to be asked to do illegal things for your job, to go into a depressive state that finds you wishing you didn’t have a job. It’s a shitty and oppressive cycle. All we can do is play our clarinets and dream of better. I hope, one day, you go out and find it.

 

SQUIDWARD QUITS HIS JOB

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  • The Epoxies - Stop The Future
  • Huey Lewis & The News - Workin For a Livin
  • The Walkmen - Tenley Town
  • Colleen Green - Grind My Teeth
  • Emilyn Brodsky - Good Days
  • Letterman - We Work The Night Shift
  • Superchunk - Slack Motherfucker
  • Wilco - Just A Kid
  • Descendents - Wienerschnitzel
  • Titus Andronicus - Titus Andronicus vs. The Absurd Universe (3rd Round KO)
  • The Cute Lepers - All This Attention Is Killing Me
  • IAN SWEET - Slime Time Live
  • They Might Be Giants - Boss of Me
  • Harvey Danger - Diminishing Returns
  • Against Me! - Black Me Out
  • Thursday - For The Workforce, Drowning
  • Titus Andronicus - i’m Going insane (Finish Him)
  • The Unlovables - Fuck The World
  • Tacocat - You Can’t Fire Me, I Quit
  • The Weakerthans - Letter of Resignation
  • Esme Patterson - Find It
  • Mischief Brew - Every Town Will Celebrate