Due to my wild success with my first Pub Note, my dad decided to have me write a sequel. Obviously, none of that is true, my dad is just getting lazy and is passing the buck to me. So here it goes – the Top Ten things I learned as a seasonal employee in the parks department this summer.
10. When you are on trash duty, always volunteer to drive.
9. Do not drive trucks on the grass if it has rained in the past 24 hours. You will always get stuck. (If you do get stuck, make sure you’re in the passenger seat when your boss shows up to pull you out.)
8. If it happens to be hot out, being inside a trash truck suddenly seems more appealing.
7. Don’t get hurt playing basketball at lunch. If you do, don’t let it affect your job.
6. Nicknames always stick, no matter what.
5. If someone hands you a weed whacker and asks you if you know what poison ivy looks like—don’t lie.
4. If you fail at rule number five, make sure to immediately wash with Fels Naptha soap upon returning to the maintenance shed.
3. Jackhammers are awesome. I mean, really, really awesome.
2. Recycled police cars—donated to the parks department as staff vehicles—are still fast.
1. If you’re going to the job site in said police car, be sure to sit up front—or be good friends with the guys up front so they let you out. There are no door handles in the back.
I could go on forever – for instance, when cleaning graffiti containing foul language off a tennis court (or other surface), don’t just erase the word by going over the letters (leaving the words still visible), instead, blotch out the entire area. This one seems obvious to me now.
And, probably the biggest one--park superintendents who hire seasonal employees should receive combat pay. They take guys like me who don’t know much about park maintenance and teach us how to drive stick, how to work jackhammers, how to maintain mowers and string trimmers, how to drive dump trucks, and so much more.
Along the way, they pull our trucks out of the mud, remind us how to use equipment safely and patiently train us to be good employees.
As I write this, there’s still a lot of summer left, but our crew has improved so much in such a short time—it’s pretty amazing, and surprisingly, a lot of fun. And, despite my joking, I think we’re doing a pretty good job—but you’d have to ask my boss for confirmation.