Maybe I should have changed the title of my book, 'Why You're a Terrible Customer' to 'Why You're a Terrible Job.' I mean, it's well known that customers survive simply to vacuum out the soul of the simple-minded and the sweet-hearted. But it's not so fully understood that delivering often times feels like you're being shoved head first into an active LHC. It's a sort of chicken or the egg type of question, though. I mean, is shuttling around food inherently abysmal? Or is it the lying, manipulative and devious consumer base that makes the job such an awful one? I know this is sort of a cop out, but I think the answer is 50/50. Besides prostitution and working at Chuck E. Cheese's, there are few jobs that rank lower on the spiritually rewarding side of life. But at the same time, there are zero jobs that harbor so many ill-tempered tool-bags that simply want to shit on anybody with a sunny disposition.
Let me explain what I mean here by making a poor transition to an example that makes my half-and-half philosophy seem sound. I was delivering a pizza to a house that was almost completely isolated from the community. The home was on a semi-secluded side road that was surrounded by a forest of pine trees. The nearest neighbor was about a quarter mile away from this $600,000-plus estate. Generally this is a good sign. If a house is valuable and remote, it usually means that the people have their shit together. They have these things, like, you know, jobs, families and other dream crushing responsibilities. Conversely, the lower the acreage and the more sequestered a house is, the more likely you are to end up like Ned Beatty in Deliverance. That's what made this particular delivery so peculiar. It started out like any ordinary run to any other run-of-the-mill affluent home. By that I mean I parked in the driveway, walked about 20 yards to the front door and rang the doorbell.
Real quick, on the subject of doorbells; please stop telling me to "ring the doorbell" or "knock on the door" in the driving directions section of your online order. The comments section specifically says, "Insert driving directions here." That means if the tent that your bivouacking in is located in a hard to find gutter behind Kmart, let me know. It doesn't mean fill me in on the standard way I've been alerting people to my arrival since before I was conceived. Also, for the love of God, I'm not going to draw a picture of Slimer on your pizza box for your amusement, so please stop using the directions section as a running commentary piece for your misguided notions of humor. You're not the only customer we have, and if I had the talent to draw you a penguin on roller skates, do you think I would still be delivering pizza to you and your super baked stoner buddies?
Anyway, when I rang the doorbell, as specified in the directions, I was quickly greeted by three guys. At least I assume that they were guys. It was a little hard to tell considering they were all wearing standard blue jeans, a white t-shirt and stockings pulled all the way over their head and face. You heard me, there were three six-foot tall gentleman with leggings covering their faces. Now, I don't know about you, but I've only witnessed this fashion choice on reality shows like Cops and in movies that involve some sort of heist followed by Denzel Washington negotiating a hostage situation. Now, there were two ways I could have gone in this situation; I could have panicked and sprinted for my car, or I could have nonchalantly carried on with the transaction as if nothing was amiss. I chose the latter. I figured that the worst that could happen is that they'd wind up stealing the pizza from me, yoinking my maxed out credit cards and holding me hostage until they realized my parents lived below the poverty line. I'm proud of the fact that I acted as if nothing was out of the ordinary. I literally didn't hesitate for even a second. I just stared into the depths of those spanx and told them the price of their pizza. It seemed like a sound and somewhat stoic choice. That is, until they failed to respond to my mention of the price and it dawned on me that they were having none of my suaveness. At this point I just embraced the fact that I was going to be known as that lonely and somewhat jaded man that simply disappeared while delivering. What a legacy. Being known as the 29 year-old that was making minimum wage and just went off the grid. My Norwegian ancestors would be proud. They discovered America while I located heart disease from too much free pizza. And the dick in the ass that I was about to get thanks to my failed flight or fight response would be the real cherry on top of that prestige parfait.
A few beats after I brought up their bill, one of the three members of ISIS decided to reach into their pocket. Instead of pulling out a rusty steak knife meant for my carotid artery, the man handed me a wad of crumpled up ones. I hesitated a bit at first, but then I cautiously handed him the pizza, grabbed the cash and quickly turned around to leave. The three men never moved from where they were standing and never uttered a single word. The instant I turned my back on the threats I remembered that my car was parked about a block away. I mean, in reality that's not that far away, but do you know how distant 20 yards seems when there are three masked men standing behind you in the middle of the Cleveland Forest? I was about ten yards away from the entryway when I heard the pitter-patter of fast approaching footsteps steadily increasing in volume behind me. I just sighed and shook my head in disgust. This is where it all ended. Five free from my still running Civic.
Just as a side note, I always left my car running when I was at a house because I always ignorantly believed that homeowners were above raping and pillaging. I mean, having a mortgage means you have to have at least a modicum of responsibility, right? Plus, at houses I was usually always within eyesight of my vehicle, so there was never really any fear of it getting stolen without my knowledge. Apartments, on the other hand, are a completely different story. I would always do that move where I'd repeatedly click the lock button on my key chain until I lost sight of my car. The rest of the time I just prayed that when my car inevitably got broken into that they would go through the side window and not through the heat filament filled back window. I can handle $500 dollars, $2000 is about a thousand extra deliveries that my failing willpower wouldn't be capable of slogging through. Seriously, folks, what the fuck? I should be able to leave my car running anywhere without fear. I mean, I don't think I'm making ridiculous demands here. If you don't boost my car, I won't boost yours. But no, that saintly version of society's ship sailed long ago. Now, I just have to have a side stash of money holed away to inevitably pay my co-pay when someone does hurl a piece of granite through my front window to get to the glory that is my Samsung flip phone (yes, I still have a flip phone). Come on people, let's just try and all live in a semi-shared space and not loot from one another. In the long term you'll enjoy reaping the benefits of a peaceful community far more than you'll enjoy the razing and raiding of your neighbor's home. Trust me.
Anyway, I turned around right before the freaky footsteps were upon me and I instantly came face to face with one of the three criminals. The man was panting from the short run, standing alone and was holding his stocking in his hand. He then proceeded to apologize to me and tell me that I shouldn't call the cops. He said that they were trying to get a Youtube reaction out of me and that they just wanted to scare me a bit. The man then bribed me with five dollars and sent me on my way.
You see, this sums up the devilishness of delivering, but it also shows the entirety of the evil that is everybody I deliver to. That's why I now realize that I shit the bed when I named my novel, "Why You're a Terrible Customer." Don't get me wrong, it shouldn't have been, "Why You're a Terrible Job" either. The title clearly should have just been, "Why You're Terrible," because that's the truth. People are terrible, and this is just one of the thousands of anecdotal events that have happened to me while delivering that prove as much.