When my dad said that I had to get a summer job, I immediately thought of something like flipping burgers at McDonald’s and did not warm up to that image. Thankfully, he suggested applying for a job at the parks department lining baseball fields. I exhaled, thankful that I was not stuck with the alternative. Turns out, I was in for a bit of a surprise.
First off, I had to apply and go to an interview. It was the normal stuff like “why should we hire you” and “tell us about yourself.” A couple weeks later, my mom got a phone call informing her that I was hired. I then had to fill out a bunch of paperwork, which I characteristically left until 9 o’clock the night before it was due. Then I had to take a drug test, which I passed, but not before making the rookie mistake of showing up without a drop to spare. Fortunately, I was able to squeeze out enough lemonade to fill the cup.
When school let out, I went to the compound for my first day. I had no idea what to expect. I waited for what felt like an eternity while the rest of the summer help were given their marching orders. At last, it was down to the two new hires—a kid who just graduated high school and me—waiting to find out what the head honcho wanted us to do. I was put on trash detail. I was a little disappointed because I was hoping to do something like mow or take care of the ball fields. I soon discovered that trash is one of the least desirable jobs to have. After a day-long shift of emptying trash cans, I returned home smelling like pure dog feces.
Despite all of this poopiness, I did discover that there was a silver lining. It turns out that all of the young guys at the department play basketball at lunch. We also make up our own rules. For example, travels and out-of-bounds are completely eliminated while “making it rain” from behind the backboard is worth eight points. As luck would have it, all of those crazy games of horse that I have played for years finally came in handy.
We also gave out some pretty cool nicknames to each other. We dubbed one kid “Mini D” because he always buys Mini D donuts on break. My nickname is “That Kid” because no one remembers my name; but when I score in basketball, you can tell who is on my team by the inflection that they use when they utter “That Kid.”
I could summarize by saying that the best part of my job is playing basketball at lunch. But don’t get the wrong idea, for a 16-year-old kid, it is a pretty good gig; I’ve noticed that I never have to do trash two days in a row. Obviously, some of the jobs are better than others, but none involve flipping burgers. I’m looking forward to the rest of the summer and my continued identity as “That Kid.”