The Fantastic College Expedition: Summer Job

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During the summer some kids go to camps, others chill with their friends, and handful get summer jobs.  I am in the third group.  I have been job hopping for the last three summers; I’ve done everything from bag groceries to file paperwork.  This summer I lucked out; I ended up at the Winchester Country Club.  Some of you might have seen me there; I was in the snack shack serving fries and scooping ice cream.  Living the American dream.

I spent a lot of time with people last summer; serving kids food, joking with my coworkers during work, and observing my various bosses. I liked some things I saw; I did not like others.

On any given shift I would probably serve a hundred orders.  That might sound like a lot, but bear in mind that at minimum half of all orders were little plastic cups of goldfish.  The kids and the adults too, were crazy for those little orange fish.  We literally went through three or four large cartons of goldfish every day.  I can’t even look at them anymore.

What I found interesting was the way my various customers asked for their goldfish.  Most simply asked, “Goldfish?” and they would receive their food.  But at least one out of every ten people I served were not quite that nice.  I remember one kid, barely ten years old, bypassed a line of twenty some odd people and screamed “GIVE ME SOME GOLDFISH.”  This would just be an interesting story, if it didn’t happen Every. Single. Day.  After politely telling him he had to wait in line, he would return to the back, grumbling.  By the time he got to the front I could see the fire in his eyes, I was very, very glad I had a sturdy counter between the two of us.  There are no words to describe his anger.

There are other stories along these lines. Tales of arrogant and stupid teenagers trying to haggle for free food.  Passive aggressive baby sitters.  All stories that boil down to one very simple truth.  At the heart of many people is an egotistic black hole.  When left up to their own devices they will demand attention and immediate results, and will swiftly anger should their absurd demands not be met.  Some people simply lack any degree of sympathy.

Despite the fact that do not have consciences when they see others as their equals they will dredge up some respect for their fellow man.  In the eyes of the club members all of the staff were their inferiors; in our own eyes we were all more or less equal.  What I found interesting was in that equality leaders rose, each with every different agendas.

The leader I remember the most was just as angry as the Goldfish Boy, but she channeled her rage into her work.  Her work method was to work as quickly and efficiency as possible and decapitate anyone who got in her way.  You have no idea how frightening a ninety pound white girl can be.  She emerged as one leader, simply because everyone was scared to death of her.

The other leader was the exact opposite.  A fun guy, always quick with a joke or a funky dance move.  He was friends with everyone; there was not one person that didn’t enjoy talking with him.  He would always conjure up some interesting tidbit or metaphor regardless of whatever the conversation was on politics or the diet of the sparrows that lived by the Country Club  (We believe it is mostly Goldfish).  He is the nicest guy; he was the other leader we looked up two.

I suspect many of you suspect I am leading up to a massive battle between the forces of good and evil, the conflict of the century.  Well I’m not.  Despite the fact the angry, angry girl gave him many offenses he never once took the bait.  He would just smile in return and say something polite.  In the end he also earned her grudging respect simply because he was able to stand up to her, much more than anyone else could do.  He emerged as the supreme leader of us coworkers because he was nice. It’s as simple as that.

The topic of my speech was a summer experience.  I could have talked about anything in the summer, from the days I spent at the Jersey shore to my treks in South Carolina.  Instead I choose to talk about the mundane, about working a minimum wage job at a random country club.  I did not talk about it because it was interesting, but because it had the greatest effect on my life of all the events of summer.  It was at the country club that I learned about people.

The lessons I learned from the people I worked with this summer are so simple that they are often forgotten.  Some people are angry because they are self-centered.  Being polite and kind will get you better results than yelling and screaming.  There are other lessons that I do not have time to address.  And with each lesson about humanity only created new questions.  The only solid conclusion I came to was that in order to succeed is to get to know people around you.  That is the only fact I learned this summer.

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The Fantastic College Expedition: Take Advantage of Opportunities

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Straight simple, to the point. If opportunity bites you on the ass, just go with it. Today. I chilled with my best friend and my girlfriend for the afternoon. After running my energy well pass zero, I returned home wearily . I had planed to sleep, relax, and just take it easy.
I threw that plan out just now, listening to open tiny message of golden opportunity.
My church group is getting a bunch of people together and we’re all going to have a slumber party (I swear if any readers in our male audience get hard at the thought of slumber parties I will personally chop your python off with a rusty knife.) Smiles
On one hand I could stay home and sleep.
On the other I could have the might of my life; despite the fact it is a church group we have some pretty wild childs and little supervision.
Opportunity has arrived and is now whisking me away.
Lesson: Go where life takes you, NOW!

The Fantastic College Expedition: Of Sports and Friends

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Since the beginning of time, and well before the start of creation, I have always done a sport.  I started with soccer and then I switched to baseball.  None of those outdoors sports really suited me; I got bored and distracted.

This might have actually happened to me.

Then along came hockey, which I loved.  I guessed the main reason I liked the icy sport was I just happened to be good at it.  Back in the day I was a giant, dwarfing the various kids around me.  It was so bad that sometimes I was a head and shoulders above the rest

This height advantage translates directly into a major advantage.  Since I was the largest I was the strongest, since I was the strongest I was the best.  I was a champion, I was important.  I liked being notable, I liked being a winner.  I was instrument in winning two or three state championships.

For a while I was on Cloud 9.

Then everyone else started to grow and I did not.  I simply finished growing in the seventh grade; everyone else is still growing to this day.  As I slowly descended into the middle of the pack I found it harder and harder to compete. Never before had I worked on any of my skills, my size had always been the only advantage I had needed.

Arrogance sucks.  Lesson for all you: actually practice.  Even if you still believe you suck, you are actually doing a little bit better than you were doing before your practice session.

By the freshmen year of high school I was on the bottom line on the junior varsity team, had the team needed to cut kids I would have been the first to go.  The fun was dead.   Now I wallowed in self pity as a benchwarmer while those that had actually practiced had fun on the ice rink.

At the end of the year I decided I was not coming back.

It was like this, but colder.

Throughout my sophomore year I had more free time than I knew what to with.  I established new friendships with fellow students at school.  I was happy; surprisingly I realized I hadn’t been happy in a long time.  These students actually liked me for my personality, rather than despising me for my lack of hockey skills.

The drawback to having real friends is that you spend time with them. (Oh, the horror)  More time you spend with your friends the less time you spend on academics.

Friends first took up just as much time as hockey, then significantly more.

The academic flak became pretty brutal; my grades were taking a beating.  There was a point where I missed so much homework that my teacher too me aside and asked if everything was okay.  I said everything was fine, but deep down I knew something would have to change.

The answer came to me earlier this summer, when I needed to retrieve my goggles from the pool club, which was closing in fifteen minutes, and my car had been stolen

Damn the Dalmatians

It was only a ten minute walk away, so I decided just to run over.

Heaving and huffing, I arrived just in time to see the last of the employees drive away after they finished locking up.  Standing in the parking lot, that is where problem that had been plaguing was finally recognized.

I procrastinate way too much.

Never in all my life have I just buckled down and done what needed to be done.  It happened with hockey, now again it is happening with my friends.  I know exactly what I need to do.  With hockey I simply needed to practice.  With my friends I simply need to manage my time better.

The solution is simple, yet innovative.  Go out for Winter Track.

Many of my closest friends run all year round, so they do Winter Track.  There I will be able to hang with them.  Over the summer, now, I will have to run every day, or be absolutely humiliated come winter.  That is all the incentive I need.

With a little luck procrastination will finally be defeat and then the world is MINE.

Check in next time to see how poorly my efforts are going.

Flat Tire

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Sky turns from yearning gray to dismal blue.
Fireworks explode far away, eyes shift.
Yellow, red flack; bringing smiles anew.
In my hands, a poke-a-dotted wrapped gift

Below, a house, inside, a pretty girl
Heart quickens, walking slowly down the knoll.
Silver streamers hang, forgetting to unfurl
Watch chirps, a single monotonous toll.

Missed the sweet sixteen of my sweetheart
She’s with another, resting, on, shoulder
Stumble to ground, cannot see, soul departs
Dreary misery, cannot feel colder.

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