Monkeys, a.k.a. College Students Making Minimum Wage
The morning alarm wrenched me from sleep, same as any other day. My cell phone alarm (yes, I’ve finally converted to the phone alarm, but I don’t have to like it) played some tune that was a mix between Ode to Joy and My Sharona—awful mutt of a ringer, really—and I quickly began building an angry head of steam toward the world in general.
I went through my normal routine: Frosted Flakes, water bottle refill, daytime moisturizer, err…manly self-slap to the face I mean, and decided to take my iPod Nano along so that I could go running right after work.
I checked the normal places. The bedroom, the nightstand, the refrigerator (never underestimate how much studying managerial accounting can drain your brain, I’ve already tried to bake cookies by placing them in the dishwasher this year), even my dirty clothes hamper.
Nada. Nothing. Less discovered than what O.J. found during his independent investigation of his ex-wife’s murder. My place was now a mess and looks as if it’d been ransacked by vengeful loopma.
Clothes and cushions lay strewn across the floor, chairs had been haphazardly overturned (please, like you still don’t through fifteen year-old tantrums when no one’s looking), and I was in general sound-the-alarm mode.
Just as I was prepared to blame terrorism, like we do for oil, the drug trade, and skin cancer, I was struck by a Eureka moment.
The University recreation center!
I plugged in my computer—I say plugged in because I have a Scrooge like obsession with the electric bill and unplug everything but the fridge before I go to bed at night—waited for Windows to take its ever-increasing time booting up, Googled the number, and gave them a call.
After some woman answered and sounded as if she’d either partied too hard or been hit in the head with a brick, I was transferred to my girl, the wondrous Gina, who rescued my precious little blue shuffle and agreed to have it waiting for me anytime I wanted to pick it up.
Imagine if the Lindberghs had gotten back their baby, or the Cookie Monster his cookies, or Taylor Swift the real voice box she had before it was replaced with the strangled cat voice box she has now.
That’s how ecstatic I was.
My iPod, in whom I am well-pleased, was to be returned to me.
Run the clock ahead 8 hours (yes, you can do it 24 style if you like. Go on, I’ll wait…)
So I Tigger bounce my way to the front desk. “I’m Brad!” I uttered like a little child on Christmas. “I’m here for the awesome blue shuffle, please!”
A freshman looked up at me with those glazed over, apathetic freshman eyes and mumbled something to the effect of, “Huh? Wait. What?”
I repeated my query. His dull cow eyes squinted, highlighting the cheese burger acne below his cheeks.
“I’m not sure…” His droning voice trailed off into the ether, the sentence as incomplete as his shampooing techniques.
Keep in mind I hadn’t asked him question. He didn’t need to be sure or unsure of anything. He needed to get off his skinny little #$@ and fetch my iPod. Since I knew I was dealing with minimum wage, part time gig syndrome, I quickly grew firm.
“I called earlier. You all described my iPod. You have it. I want it.”
The freshman monkey gestured and gargled, and summoned several more monkeys to his aid. Then I watched in amazement as they trundled around the desk area, fumbled through some written logs, bounced off one another, and generally resembled lazy monkeys fumbling about the jungle in search of a banana.
“Don’t see it,” he said, putting a falsely concerned finger to his chin, “maybe downstairs.”
“Indeed,” I answered, and shuffled off to the basement floor.
What did I find? More monkeys. Stupid, stupid monkeys.
“We don’t see nothing,” said the gum chewing bubble gum-smacking hostess at the desk. “Did you try upstairs?”
“Yes,” I growled, “they seemed confused.”
Then, and I swear this is the truth before God him or herself, the boy next to her held up his monkey hands, widened his gaze, and gave me the we don’t have a clue shrug.
I fumed upstairs like a steam engine fueled by more anger than Dick Cheney when he sees puppies or smiling babies.
I leaned over the desk, stared into the heart of what appeared to be the ponytailed leader of these damned monkeys.
“The lady on the phone described it to me. You must have it.”
Then I saw it. Just behind her. A safe. The banana I needed.
And literally two seconds before I was to attempt to point the monkeys in its direction, the leader monkey smartened up, and said, “Oh, it’s in the safe. We’ll get it for you.”
The lesson: if you have to get something from college age, minimum wage part-timers, bring your own fruit.