When I moved from the mountains of Virginia to Boston in 1977, it was just like the Beverly Hillbillies going to California except I didn't have $80 million. I had dropped out of college and decided Boston was the place to pursue literary fame and fortune. I had sold one piece a few months earlier and naively presumed I could speedily sell enough articles to survive in the big city.
No such luck. I struck out everywhere I submitted and was soon slicing the gravy extra thin. I took refuge in what is now almost a relic from a bygone era — the Help Wanted section of the Boston Globe.
Two days later, I reported for a Santa Claus training session run by Western Temporary Services. A motley crew showed up for that gig, including two guys who caterwauled about being summoned at such an ungodly hour. I was puzzled by their moaning since it was noon. The primary qualification for the job was not dropping a flask on the floor during the 28 minute training session. (RELATED: Longtime Mall Santa 'Replaced' After Wearing Hat Supporting Trump)
After a long subway ride and bus trip to a Filene's department store in the south suburbs, I met the Boss Lady from Hell...