Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day

When I was in high school, I spent my summers working at the local suburban zoo.  It was kinda fun blowing up balloons or selling ice cream from the cart behind the monkey habitat.  The down side was that you had to work holidays.  Memorial Day, Labor Day, even the 4th of July, I would spend the days filling up balloons with helium and tying them to the wrists of fidgety children who believed that a balloon with another balloon inside was the greatest miracle under the clear blue sky.

In the balloon selling game, you discover that busy is waaaaaaay better than not busy.  Working the holidays wasn't too bad.  The time sorta flew, but not on Labor Day.  Labor Day was hell.  In all my years working at the zoo the only consistent thing was the rain.  It poured rain on every Labor Day.

I wasn't one of the lucky ones who worked in the restaurants at the zoo.  People fled there for refuge during the rainy periods.  The restaurants were filled with people too stupid to check the weather before leaving on a family outing for the day.

I worked out in the park.  I blew up balloons or pushed a cart around the grounds, attracting passerby with tasty snacks or shiny floating objects.  I know some tricks with dry ice and quarters, guaranteed to draw a crowd.  None of that matters, it was Labor Day.  None of the sacred order of helium engineers and cart jockeys even made it out of the confines of the great zoo warehouse.

Every Labor Day, we sat in the Warehouse drinking discount cans of soda pop and taking the small balloon and putting it inside the big balloon. This activity was called "double stuffing" and it did make us giggle just the way that you did.

We counted Mylar balloons and fired up a hot dog cart for our lunch break.  We talked about Stray Cats and Phil Collin's Genesis.   It was 1984, what the Hell else were we supposed to do.  We passed around cigarettes our parents didn't know about, quoted "the Princess Bride" and "Ghostbusters", and watched the pouring rain.

I'm staring out my window.  It's Labor Day 2014.  I'm waiting for the sky to crack open and the rain to ruin the world's last chance for official Summer BBQ.  I wish that there were little balloons to stuff into big balloons.  It's the only real magic I know how to perform.

I'm either gonna watch old movies or stare out the window and watch the rain.  Y'all have fun storming the castle.

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