Twilight-Zone’ job found amusing

Brady C. Mallory

Brady C. Mallory

If I had my druthers, I would have spent my break from school sitting on the couch eating Ben & Jerry’s while watching a never-ending stream of re-runs of, “The Golden Girls”. My dog-enthusiast father found a better use for my time, and a way to earn money for my whirlwind tour of LA. His friend who owns a business in Austin, Minn. was more than happy to let me into this secret society of fun known as a pet supply and feed store. Not one to turn down a job, I figured this would be a great venture that could easily be added to my resume of interesting career moves that ranged from t-ball coach, first mate on a riverboat (seriously), quinceanera supervisor and the few times I was Spammy the Spam Can.

I quickly adapted to my surroundings, though I know nothing about animals with the exception of the yellow labs that my father loves so very much. I became increasingly aware that this facility did not actually have any concrete jobs for me. I am positive that my co-workers perhaps told me to move things from shelf to shelf merely for personal entertainment. Since I had no training, I was absolutely no help to the clientele that relied on me for their domestic animal needs. When a lady asked what I would recommend for cat with a hairball problem, I had a small panic attack and grabbed the nearest bottle of horse shampoo. Afterward I ceased wearing the hallowed employee shirt they gave me in favor of wearing a sweatshirt so I would not have to make eye contact or feign conversation with the customers.

Days later I was given an assignment to drive to a small town near Mankato to make a delivery involving labels. Ready for a reprieve from cleaning fish tanks, I gladly agreed to make the two hour trip in the dilapidated truck they provided for me. Once I got to my destination, which was an enigmatic factory of some sort, I walked in to find a salty group of men engaged in a host of … factory ? things. I soon found out that my status as an indentured servant meant that not only was I to deliver these labels, I was also to help place them on the bags that would be their new homes. I immediately absorbed my surroundings, and they were quick to greet me as well. One man gruffly asked if I was the “new guy”. Judging from my outfit, consisting entirely of Abercrombie with the exception of my Diesel shoes, I was clearly not under this place’s employ. Losing all energy to explain myself, I simply responded, “No habla Ingles.”

I am still not sure what went on at that place. All I know is they took breaks every hour and one guy drove back and forth in three minute intervals on a forklift that carried nothing. When one man muttered a grammatically incorrect statement, I decided my tenure at this Twilight Zone-assimilated factory was over. I politely said, “Adios.” and left. I spent the latter part of my day sitting in the food court of the Mankato mall near the KFC. As I ate my mashed potato bowl, I solicitously reflected on where my life was going. I wondered if I were capable of running a pet supply and feed store. After thinking about possible names such as, “Pet-riotic” or, “Paws and Effect,” I realized that I would have to let the dream die. Before making my trek home, I pondered if my new friends, who mistakenly thought my name was Brian, would remember the time we shared.