Monday, July 17, 2006

Summertime Blues '86: The Life of a Golf Course Tractor Operator Is Always Intense: Introduction Part Three: The Hiring

Yeah, it's another introduction. Hell, maybe it'll all be introductions. No ... next time, I swear, the actual weirdness starts to blaze like a hot fire (a hot gasoline fire, with big billows of noxious black smoke, even), and it's gonna be extremely fuckin' hilarious and totally worth your while. But for now, here's another introduction.

Click here for part 1 of the Introduction

Click here for part 2 of the Introduction

Stay here for part 3 of the Introduction.

Wwweeellllll, my mom and papa told me, son, you gotta make some money ... over and over again, they told me that ... so about a week after the spring semester of my first year of college ended, I reluctantly dragged myself over to the local behemoth teen employer, Six Flags Great America, and quickly got hired as a food kiosk slave. I knew right away it was going to be bad. First of all, they made me get a haircut and get measured for a hideous sky-blue polyester "costume" (in the real world, "uniform"). Second of all, as part of a rudimentary physical exam, they tested my blood pressure, and it was high. A 115-lb. 18-year-old with high blood pressure ... fuckin' horrible. Anyway, they let that go with a warning, and I didn't really take care of that problem for about 16 more years.

I'm pretty sure my b.p. only got higher on that job. Long story short, that job sucked bad and paid for shit, so after three and a half weeks, I lost my temper and told my supervisor, quote, "Fuck this, I quit," and stormed off. That felt good for about five minutes, until I realized how pissed off at me the authority figures in my life were going to be -- the dad, the mom, and The Stickler (the girlfriend). Especially that last one. They weren't mad -- just disappointed. No, actually, they were mad. I was not acting like a Responsible Young Man at all.

But I was used to that. So I spent the next few weeks enjoying unemployment, staying up all night writing "interactive fiction" computer games and sleeping all day. Being broke all the time was a drag, though, so when The Stickler woke me up with a noontime phone call about a job prospect, I was about 50.75% in favor of the idea.

I felt qualified for the gig, which was a good start. The Stickler was working as a cashier in the pro shop of the golf course on the nearby Navy Base (which base was mostly known to me so far as a boon to the local economy -- if by "economy" you mean sleazy pool halls -- and source of father-panicking dates for the more high-spirited local high school girls). The head golf course maintenance dude (aka "greenskeeper"), Ted, was shorthanded and looking for help. And he needed it fast, because a big tournament was coming up and the course was getting pretty mangy. The only requirement for the job was that you had to be breathing. Which I was still doing -- despite my dad's frequent threats -- so I put on a shirt with sleeves and a collar and went in for an interview.

It turned out there were more qualifications needed than respiration. To be a DoD Tractor Operator, first off, you had to be a U.S. citizen. Check. You had to be at least 18 years old. Check. And you needed a driver's license. Check. And that was it. It was looking pretty good. I asked Ted if I had to keep my hair short. Ted said, "I don't give a fuck if you grow it down to your ass. Just as long as you can keep it out of the equipment."

Also, the job paid twice as much as Six Flags.

One hearty handshake later, and I was on my way to the main part of the base -- "Mainside," in local parlance -- to fill out some paperwork, get my gubbermitt ID card, and get ready to kick some grass's ass.

NEXT TIME: The weirdness ramps up sharply, I promise. Likely topics: A short visit to the surreal lakefront college campus that is "Mainside"; the weird world of the Fire Fighters Training School ("Light 'Em and Fight 'Em!"; "No Skylarking!"; "Remove your masks and exit the gas chamber!"); and a young man's fancies turn to Bosa Donuts.


Feral Mom said...

I can't wait! And I really like the multiple's like a little alcohol swap before the injection. Oops, did I say alcohol?

Feral Mom said...

Swab, I meant! Good Lord. In my own defense, BUG TRAUMA! Had to drink myself down from the window ledge.

Stronger Than Dirt Pete Moss said...

BUG TRAUMA sounds like the title of a great TV show. Or a medicore Pixar cartoon.

Anyway, I'm stuck on the introduction because I don't know what the hell I'm writing yet. Plus, I don't have quite the dramatic plot points that the GBV/Minn. story had. There were skunks and snapping turtures, but that's not quite the same. Maybe I'll have to embellish a gashed forehead into this one. Or three gashed foreheads. Or seventy-two crushed skulls. Or a meteor strike that wipes out the human race. Why not? More is more, after all.

Stronger Than Dirt Pete Moss said...

D'oh! Snapping turtles. Although maybe I should go with turtures instead. It sounds vaguely menacing and far more interesting than the droll character studies I'm probably going to end up writing. Although if one Carl Spackler was funny, maybe five Carl Spacklers will be five times as good.