My Weirdest Work Experiences

If you count a college summer job (for which I worked on, no joke, a non-porn site called Pork Central), I’ve been working professionally on the web and web-adjacent stuff for 25 years now. 💀

As you might imagine, I’ve seen some things in my tour of duty, so I thought I’d round up a few of the most surreal highlights:

  • Meeting up with a bigshot in New York only to have him force me to sit in silence while he re-arranged the icons on his desktop for an excruciating amount of time before allowing the conversation to begin.

  • Recording a video interview with the great Michael McKean, only to watch in horror as the camera ate the tape and rendered the whole thing useless (while he was still standing in front of me).

  • Getting on a private jet (my first and only time doing so) with our company co-founders for a last-minute meeting with 50 Cent’s inner circle.

  • Interviewing at a company that I wasn’t fully sold on, but having them end the interview by taking my corporate headshots and including me in their latest team photos. I did not take the job.

  • Watching Richard Branson “fly” a fake jetpack through a Virgin Megastore. See above.

  • Giving a test iOS device to a co-founder’s brother, only to get it back with the camera roll jam-packed with photos of him shirtless.

  • Being summoned to an all-hands in which the CEO (famous for wearing a pink pocket square) announced new corporate branding by dramatically switching to a black pocket square.

  • Waiting for my flight up north to meet with our small-ish company’s CEO, then seeing her on the cover of Fast Company magazine while browsing around at the airport bookstore.

  • Watching Blazing Saddles at a (now) billionaire’s house.

  • Meeting and discussing website concepts with Cindy Crawford.

  • Sneaking onto a reality show set in an attempt to obtain exclusive website footage by awkwardly hiding a camcorder in my jacket sleeve.

  • Following the announcement and launch of the iPad from Punky Brewster’s house.

  • Looking up from my desk to see Jeff Bezos walk by (right around the time that the Lauren Sanchez news broke).

  • Having to watch a group of engineers do a team building exercise that involved writing goals on paper airplanes and throwing them from a balcony.

  • Working with a great guy on our customer advocacy team that left to pursue his dream of becoming a standup comedian. Mission accomplished, Hasan.

Top Ten Reasons Your Friend Hasn’t Yet Ditched Legacy Social Media For Mastodon

10. It’d be a devastating blow to their essential oils “business”

9. They’re deep into a 4-week LinkedIn course on finding the perfect number of humblebrags to add per post, while ensuring that all federal and state douchebaggery requirements are still met

8. Afraid of being shunned by their peers for not posting 😂😂😂 on each and every “it’s so hot!” or “it’s so cold!” daily thermometer pic

7. Just two more gender reveal videos until their stamp card is full

6. Gun to their head, they can’t name anything funnier than those Minion memes!

5. God will insta-smite them for missing even one daily “coffee and bible!” pic

4. Every Peloton dashboard screenshot is a unique and delightful snowflake, gotta catch ’em all

3. They’re standing by with 😡😡😡 as soon as the next person kneels during the national anthem

2. The steal’s not gonna stop itself

1. Paying for account verification is the only way they can reach orgasm

For real though, stop hitting yourself.

My Christian Reboot

Aside from holiday visits to my grandmother’s church as a kid, I didn’t grow up in a religious household, but my wife did, and after getting married we did some dabbling here and there before eventually going pretty all-in during the late ’00s with a local branch in the ICOC movement.

Despite my ongoing scrupulosity issues and some eyebrow-raising moments here and there (which I now deeply regret staying silent about), things were generally fine, and we built up a number of great relationships and legitimately good memories.

Then came Trump and all that Trumpism exposed and encouraged.

I’ve written extensively about how the events of 2015-today fully shattered my previous relationship with the church, so I won’t rehash everything here, but someone I really respect recently asked me what it is I do believe these days, so I thought I’d outline where I stand as of January 2023.

First things first, I can’t say that I’m an “exvangelical” (in the sense of having walked away entirely from organized religion). This isn’t the case, and in fact my wife and I are still attending a different ICOC-affiliated church, albeit a bit more of a “misfit toys” branch. That being said, I find myself infinitely more sympathetic to exvangelicals and those undertaking the painful process of deconstruction than those that remain terminally incurious and dangerously legalistic.

Here’s where I’ve landed:

  • Social justice conversations are essential and should be ongoing and prominent, not “toe in the water” topics revisited every few years just to appease the more progressive members of your congregation. Continually avoiding discomfort simply means that you either a) don’t care enough about those affected to prioritize ongoing action or b) are afraid to lose tithes from bigots.

  • Purity culture has been an absolute disaster on all fronts (in terms of sexism, mental health and more). Burn it to the ground. Perhaps doing this might transform small group discussions from endless “oops, I masturbated!” sessions to difficult “hmm, maybe this toxic nonsense is causing desperately horny young people to rush into marriage far too soon” conversations.

  • The fact that Complementarianism vs. Egalitarianism discussions are still happening (or in some cases not even happening, having landed on the former) in 2023 is flat-out insane. There should be absolutely no role restrictions for women in the church or in life. Those saying otherwise are simply doing so to preserve their power, or are afraid (probably for good reason) that their mediocrity will be exposed.

  • Ditto for LGBTQ+ membership, personal relationships and leadership roles. Not only are Bible verses that set restrictive policies around these poor people cherry-picked and interpreted out of context by those that feel threatened, they also err on the side of closing the tent vs. opening our arms, which leads me to perhaps my most controversial stance…

  • Love and radical inclusion (the examples set by Jesus himself) are infinitely more important than legalistically citing and interpreting verses of the Bible, and when confronted with a murky topic (or one that now exists in a context unimaginable at the time), policies of love and radical inclusion should prevail over snippets of text.

Jesus was a wrecking ball when it came to a lot of church doctrine and hesitance from religious leaders of the time, and yet here many of us are 2,000 years later, slaves to written accounts of his exploits bundled together with followups and interpretations from others.

Do I think that if Jesus came back right now that he’d want to break up a loving gay family since some claim that the Bible says it’s sinful? I do not, and in fact I think he’d be exasperated by many of the hateful rules we’ve built up after his last appearance.

Many modern churches will publicly crow about their amazing diversity and acts of service around the world, then quickly clam up or opt to chat “just among members” when asked about these types of topics.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and public Sunday services are the time to put your cards on the table. Would doing that make you feel uncomfortable? Maybe ask yourself why that might be.

When I look to open-hearted exvangelicals and so many marginalized voices sharing their struggles loudly and publicly, I see honesty, open hearts and often very sincere despair over how they were treated and/or excluded.

When I look at a lot of “disciples” I shared services with over many years, I see smiling faces concealing bigotry, stubbornness, complacency, a healthy dose of Christian Nationalism and a focus on using the Internet as a glorified “reach out to hear from our sales reps!” billboard rather than a legitimate place to have hard, ongoing conversations right out in the open.

I’ve spent a long time regaining my spiritual footing in recent years, but having looked at the fruit produced by many different parties, it’s pretty clear to me where the spirit of Christ lies.

As the great David Lynch said:

Fix away.