Delivering pizzas wasn't my only horrible gig. Another under-appreciated job that my soul suffered at was as a member of a cleaning crew for a national theater chain. Or as the company professionally referred to us as, "ushers." I love the term "usher" because it sounds so much more highbrow than it actually is. I guess calling somebody "the bitch that cleans up the popcorn that slid down the front of your chest while you were two handing it into your fat face" is a little wordy. I think it would look pretty solid on a nice eggshell white, matte business card, though.
Contrary to popular belief, the life of an usher isn't all that terrible. The level of torment kind of depends on how large your establishment is. For instance, we had 12 screens at our theater, which is decently large for a single franchise. Sure, the more screens you have, the more cleaning you have to do, but the benefits of a large company manifests in the form of a lot of down time due to the number of employees on the clock at any given moment. Then you mix in an abundance of square footage and you're golden. Those convenient traits meant that during the matinee hours when we were cleaning up the 300 seat showings of Dumb and Dumberer: The Presequel, we could simply pick up after the one quasi homeless dude that panhandled for the four dollars to get in, and then we could spend the next hour dicking around. And by dicking around I mean we would all take turns sitting in the back row of Taking Lives so that we could watch Angelina Jolie get plowed. There was a downside to this too, though. I mean, I must have seen the movie Elf and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 132 times before they finally exited theaters. They were the shortest films, so sadly they were the ones that I was resigned to watching over and over again. My other options were Lord of the Rings and Love Actually. Both solid choices, but that's a combined 360 minutes of film. Hard to engage in a little subterfuge when you're gone for what amounts to about three full usher shifts.
I know this makes me seem like a terrible employee, which I kind of was, but who wasn't at age 16? Plus, I couldn't have been all that bad. I ended up getting promoted three times. Not that I had stringent competition or anything. I just wasn't dense enough to be one of the dozen employees that decided it was a bright idea to get super baked on the roof of the theater in broad daylight while the owner was drinking a latte downwind in front of the lobby. When that's the extent of your competition it's pretty easy to surpass expectations. Another lousy self-justification for lethargy is that I still hold onto the belief that I earned my lackadaisical reprieve. You folks seriously made me feel as though I deserved my two hour long Sabbaths. You know why? Because you didn't just leave a little light popcorn and a rogue two liter bottle of syrupy sugar water laying around. Nope, those were the things that I prayed I would find. Instead I found a slew of items like this:
Where do I even start with this lovely item? This horrid discovery gave me a whole new perspective on the movie Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Was a CGI Daniel Radcliffe flying around on a Wonder Mop really that compelling to where leaving and using the restroom was out of the question? How could anybody feel comfortable enough to swap out a cooze cork without leaving the highly populated, semi-reclinable discomfort of their almost sold out showing? Are we really getting that lazy or self-confident in our snatch related shenanigans, or do I just have way too high of standards for the hygiene of the average hottie. I guess I'll never know, and I'm guessing I never really want to.
-Casks of liquor-
Seriously, we'd find 24 packs of Keystone Light that were empty and presumably pounded. I never found liquor in the movies that I thought I would either. I expected to find a couple of handles of Captain rolling around in Jackass or Scary Movie. Instead, I found a small winery worth of booze rolling around the front row of Curious George and Wall-E. It's kind of strange considering these movies were usually attended by 42 year-old parents and six year-old children. There wasn't a tremendous middle ground in that particular genre. The only thing I can think of is that a little light alcoholism helped the average parent make it through their day of micro-managing their buttery, Mike and Ike filled hell-spawn.
I once found a discarded skirt in the middle of an isle. I don't know why whoever was in this skirt decided to make a wardrobe change in the middle of Gigli, but they did. I mean, I was forced to watch the ending of that movie a couple dozen times while waiting to clean the place and I managed to stay clothed. I obviously had to cut myself with a straightedge razor to feel again, but I still managed to keep my vest strapped on.
Even though I was curious about the origin of the skirt I decided it was best to skip the investigation, because the only real excuses are fornication-style fun or fecal related fiasco. Neither of which I wanted a close encounter with.
I rarely say that anyone deserves anything in life. I'm of the firm belief that we should earn everything we receive, but in this case, and in the case of all ushers, they deserve to watch Angelina Jolie get roughed up in some rough trade. I'm not saying that witnessing a movie related rape was enjoyable, but I am saying cut us some slack because that's the only consolation we ushers have since we're usually busy sweeping up something that was stuffed into the snatch of a morbidly obese seventeen year-old.