Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January 4, 2011

I worked at Embassy Skate Center when I was in eighth grade.  I played hockey there, and was offered a job behind the counter by Beverly, the proprietor, though her husband Gene might have something to say about that.

I sold (and consumed) Icees, nachos, pizza, sodas, airheads, and other shit to kids and adults alike.  I wore a 100 percent nylon referees jersey which, when I was promoted to floor manager, would cause me to sweat, which would cause me embarrassment, which would cause me to, well, sweat.

Needless to say, this was my embarrassment period, wherein I was bashful like it was going out of style.  A terrible time, really, though in all likelihood beneficial in the end and indeed unavoidable, I surmise.

With that in mind, picture the following true events.  It's my first day of working, both at the Skate Center and in general.  I'm given the taxing job of restocking the oversized, red Icee straws, which come in 6" x 6" x 12" pressed cardboard boxes, the boxes whose upper portions rip off in such a way that one can use the box as a display.  Said portion removed, if you care to imagine, is a triangular prism, which allows for more of the front face of the box to be removed, the brink of each adjacent wall climbing up to our original back face adjacent corners, which has lost none of its original height.  From the side, it looks like a stadium wherein the tallest-people-in-the-front-rows' heads equal exactly the height of those sitting in the topmost rows.  These sad sacks, of course, are altitudinally challenged to the extreme.

Even though we had purchased these boxes of straws, we cared not for their packaging.  Perhaps the pressed cardboard was less apetICEEing than a large, red Coca-Cola cup, which was the domain for our tubulars.  Anyway, I prepared to refill the Coca-Cola display, which couldn't have been more than 8% empty, given its size relative to customer flow.  I removed the aforementioned prism, trashed it (recycling wasn't much on the minds of this 14 year old nor the minds of the proprietors, who were quite dear and lovely people, as it turns out).  As I walked towards the Icee machine, something must have caught my attention, startled my nerves, or something of the like, for I allowed the box to slip out of my hands, its collision with the floor sending a veritable pipeline-in-pieces scattering all over the alternating black and white chess or checker-style floor.  Of course, this got a rouse out of the coworkers who, in their later teens, jumped all over the occurrance largely becuase they just wanted so animalistically to jump on something.

On that day, friends, you would have thought the color of those straws, the cherry Icee sticking to the inside of the drip reservoir, or indeed the (probably trademarked) Coca-Cola receptacle into which said straws were intended to end up, that red, would have been a dull, somewhat muted pink in comparison to the raging hue that screamed off my face, lighting the place, putting the neon to shame.

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