This post started out as a "Random Memory," but there's just waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much preface necessary to include everything all at once. So, instead, that memory will follow tomorrow or later this week, and right now I'm going to note some things about my third "real" job (I use that term very loosely to denote things other than my baby-sitting gigs) that should take you back in time . . . b/c we've all had ridiculous jobs . . .
(Amanda, this one's for you.)
1. In eleventh grade, I worked as a sales associate at a short-lived store called the Finish Line Clearance Center. As in, we sold the reject merchandise from the Finish Line. (For more on this merchandise, see #6 below.)
2. I applied for said job wearing ripped jeans and a belly-showing halter top. And I applied at the urging of one of the managers.
3. Of the 4 managers - 1 store and 3 assistant; 3 male and 1 female - at least 2 (male and female) were stealing. And that's to say nothing of the employees (4 were definite thieves; surely there were more).
4. Speaking of stealing, one might characterize my primary duty as "theft prevention" rather than "sales." Which means, essentially, that I stood with my back facing the wall to "protect" the various FUBU merchandise, Timberland gear, and outdated NFL jerseys from being shoved into "shoppers" bags.
(5. I don't even believe in irony, but is the irony of 3 + 4 not absurd?)
6. The main type of merchandise we had was, of course, sneakers. Sneakers that nobody had wanted when they were in the real store. And, better yet, sneakers hooked together with the plastic zip pull things they use (or used to) at K-Mart. And, even better yet, sneakers in boxes with the lids removed or cut off, boxes lined up on folding tables like the kind they have at church functions. (I did get a cute pair of Nike trail runners that I just recently threw away - 10 years later.)
7. Meeting Amanda was the best thing about this job, though she escaped as soon as she could find another place that would hire her unqualified self. I, on the other hand, didn't even try getting my unqualified self hired anywhere else - though it's funny to say it, I actually didn't mind working there. The employees were nothing if not characters. Frequently hungover, sometimes drunk at work, loud, goofy - and did I mention the fact that they were all thieves? Oh, right. I did.
8. One of the biggest characters (and, other than Amanda, by far my favorite coworker) was Angie, a 19 year old whose boyfriend was in jail for something I cannot remember. He got locked up multiple times during my Finish Line tenure, and 16-year-old me just could not believe that I knew someone who knew someone who was in jail. It seemed surreal.
I remember sitting on the washing machine in the backroom (why in the world was there a washing machine in there?) on my first day as Angie regaled me with her boyfriend's love letters from jail that detailed all of the sordid things he wanted to do to her. These were things I'd never even heard of, and there she was, reading them aloud, proud and confident, to someone she'd known for about 35 minutes. Let's just say that this was not the type of environment in which I'd been raised.
But it was par for the course with Angie (who, I must say, was good people, despite her rough edges). No sooner had I first walked in the door that day and made her acquaintance than the dear thing asked me a question I dare not repeat here. Instead I offer a delicately worded paraphrase: has anyone ever used his mouth on your bottom?
I cannot express my shock at not only learning that such a thing existed but also that people actually talked about it out loud.