The Waterpark

August 30, 2008

It’s my first day. I arrive at 11:45. I notice a kid who used to ride my school bus, we make eye contact and nod. A hunched old man with a comb over and a beaten look on his face I find out is named Doug tells me to clock in and i do so. He owns the waterpark with his wife, Alex. Another man in his mid 40’s, with a 5 ‘o clock shadow and what looks like a burn across his neck tells me to go to my station. his name is Rich, I like him. I am a ride operator, and my first rotation is the wild river inner tube ride. 15 minutes later rich walks up to me “you’re official” he says and throws me an extra large orange T-shirt. I put it on, I am beaming.

I’ve been working here a week, I’m up on the 3 and a half story “pirate” slide, the ride is made up of two fiberglass slides, I’ve only ever seen one working. “broken” is the response i get when I asked later, I push more, “when will it be fixed.” Doug looks at me and shrugs his humped shoulders. I’ve beeb sitting with my feet propped up on a lawn chair reading “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand. In the past hour 3 people have gone down my slide.

The park is in a constant state of disrepair. the park is home to 5 rides, of which only 4 work, and only 3 work the way they were designed. only 1 works safely.

On my break I talk with Rich and he tells me how Alex and Doug came into possession of the waterpark. Apparently. The original owner named it after his daughter. One day his wife came home early from her job and found the owner in bed with another man. He had to sell the part to pay for alamony, and these 2 bought it up.

Rich has 3 foster kids, Nick, Kevin, and Adam. Nick and Kevin both work here sporatically, I never figured if they got paid or not. Adam is retarded and quickly took to calling me shaggy, after the character from Scooby Doo. I quickly make friends with everyone who works with me. I see a few outside of work, we share out laughs.

My first paycheck. I quickly notice i’ve been underpaid by nearly 100 dollars. I say nothing. I start taking food from the snack bar on my break. We are even, at least for now. I quickly begin to notice the park is not big on safety. Accident reports are mysteriously “lost.” I am asked to sit in life guard chairs for periods of time when no lifeguard is on duty. Concrete is dangerously exposed. Weight limits are not enforced.

My managers name is Heather. Heather is twenty eight, pregnant, engaged to a 45 year old man, and a chain smoker. she has misspelled my name on every schedule and paycheck so far. I grit my teeth and say nothing.

A month. we have our first group. 1000+ people. the occupancy for the average day is 30+. We are helplessly overwhelmed and the inevitable happens. A child grip breaks, he slips and his head makes contact with concrete. the paramedics are called and he is wisked off to the hospital. I inquire about him later “don’t ask questions” is the response.

I’ve been working for a month and a half, on my breaks i talk particle physics with Matt, a lifeguard. Matt is tall, blonde, a Chemistry major at Pittsburgh, and a bit of a hard-ass. we talk about the large hadron colidier and the mysterious Higgs Boson. I like matt.

We are assigned chores ever day to do. they range from the easy (trash in the park, Trash in the parking lot) to the annoying (tubes and mat clean up) to the frustrating (bathrooms.) I am assigned bathrooms his particular day. i hate bathrooms, We attach a hose to the sink and spray the stray toilet paper in the corners, douse most surfaces with windex and call it a day.

The rest passes by without incident. though every day is an adventure, we start taking bets on weather or not a ride will work on any given day. motivation begins to slip, and breaks become mysteriously longer. Text messages are exchanged more than customers are helped. We all realize this place is a dumpster and everyone knows it.

I’m told that when the park was first built in the ’60s it was incredibly popular. it was one of the busiest places around, and made quite a bit of money. When dorney park was built the traffic slowed and now people simply stop coming.

We don’t care, it’ll be bulldozed in a month. This is the last year for the park. No one is happier than me.

My last day. I take an hour and a half break, I leave without doing my chore. “check’s in the mail” Rich says, “yeah right” i mutter under my breath. I look back over my shoulder and shoot everyone a look that says see ya later. As i turn the key in my ignition I am beaming.


Stay Posi? Yeah! Stay Posi!

August 30, 2008

Stay Posi. That’s my motto from now on. I’m gonna stay positive no matter what! gonna always look on the bright side no matter what.

I did it just the other day, Will and I rented this terrible low budget horror movie called “alien abduction” the quality was terrible, but I digress. the point is, i didn’t focus on the 4.95 and the 94 minutes i lost watching it. I focused on how funny it was, and how cheesy the lines were. Case In Point!

So you might think, how’d I reach this motto? I’ve gotten to this point by looking at the local punk rock scene. I was already weary about the scene, not liking many of the people in it, though I went to a local message board to see if i could find some members to form a band, the only responses were pretty much lame comments from assholes, but they all exhibited 3 characteristics:

  1. A high form of elitist snobbery, I.E “we’re better than you”
  2. A contagious case of xenophobia.
  3. A tendency towards snubbing others.

so I figured that the only way to combat this disease of character is to simply stay positive and not let anybody get me down, and hopefully it’ll spread to others and they’ll continue to stay positive too. and maybe those few people will learn that having friends and being nice is better than maintaining your ego.

So my message is: Stay Posi, have fun, and be nice. seriously its that easy.

Newton’s First Law of Motion Applied to Human Behavior

August 30, 2008

Newton said that an object will remain constant unless a force acts upon it. we can use this law of motion to examine human behavior and we can use it to answer the question “what makes someone change who they are.”

External forces change people. there’s no way around it.

I’ve realized a few things recently. I’ve realized certain people arn’t exactly who they used to be to me and I’m clearly not what I used to be to them. external forces have acted upon this person and changed my friend. external forces out of his or my control.

I’ve always been forgiving. and made excuses for this persons changed behavior. weather I’ve made those excuses to other people or to myself doesn’t quite matter.

these external forces have changed my friend’s priorities and his views on friendship. They’ve changed how he spends his time and his money. Things he once enjoyed he has no interest in. He’s had this rationalized many times and I believe he doesn’t see anything wrong with his behavior. External forces have changed how he sees his life.