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Wednesday, March 15, 2006


I am a good judge of character, even from afar. It is one of my strong suits. If I see a gentleman help an old lady across the street, I can tell you faster than anyone, now that guy there, he is a good man. Conversely, if the same gentleman snatches the purse of the old woman he has just helped across the street and runs, I will quickly revise my initial judgment and tell you that while some of the man's actions were good-natured, on the whole, he is, in fact, a bad man. If I am then told that the man had previously witnessed the old woman heist the purse from a group of Darfurian orphans, and was merely trying to avoid the elderly thief the embarrassment of being confronted about her crime in the middle of a busy intersection before the man scampered off to return the satchel to its rightful owners—I will return to my initial judgment faster that one can say lickety-split.

As in the hypothetical case detailed above, I am usually correct in my character judgments at first glance. Spot-On-Judge-of-Character Lee, they call me. (They are excellent judges of character as well.) In order to get a feel for just how uncanny my gift is, observe how well I first-judged the following celebrities:

George MichaelTotally awesome!
Sir Elton JohnTotally awesome!
PrinceTotally awesome!
Dick CheneyTotally awesome!
JordyTotally awesome!

So it makes sense that when I overheard one businessman this afternoon asking another like-suited individual what his hobby was—to quote him specifically, he asked, what is your hobby?—upon which, after a long, awkward pause, the businessman being queried answered, I dunno? I was perfectly confident in labeling the cohorts boring, or more specifically, two boring dudes who don't know what their hobbies are. But then I thought about it a little. Do I have a hobby? What is a hobby? I was at a loss. Had these men keyed onto something, some incredible level of Russian Math that sailed clear over my head? I ran home and set pen to paper, desperate to find a solution… What is a hobby?

A hobby, I soon determined, is a recreational activity one pursues for pleasure, without aim for fiscal, sexual, or material gain. This definition troubled me somewhat, for I had hoped with all my heart to count my equestrian competitions, squash tourneys, my painstakingly collected catalogue of Victorian First-Editions, and my emcee gig with The Blood Arm amongst my hobbies. Unfortunately, with riches these pursuits have saturated the very fiber of my being—fiscally, sexually, and materially—and I would be a liar if I said I did not take to these paths with knowledge that they would lead to as much.

Still then, I knew there must be a term to describe the limbo between the broke-and-happy hobbyist and the broken-and-miserable wage earner (who has no pleasurable pursuits) in which I dwell, and I’ll be damned if it’s not a grand place to be. (Of course, children who died before they had a chance to sin or accept Jesus aren’t allowed in this limbo, as it is wallpapered with sex and the meals are all carved from horned beasts.) Then it hit me… I am a Jobbyist. A jolly jobbyist who has one hobby: Judging people. And damnit, those two boring dudes who didn’t know what their hobbies were are Russian Math, after all.

Speaking of jobbyists, The Blood Arm finished recording Master of Ceremonies (not the real album title) last week, and will reconvene with Ariel next week to mix and master the record. Details from Dyan coming soon!

-Ben Lee

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