Throwback Week (Ep. 5): Get Fluffy

In December 1999, I was a 16-and-a-half-year-old kid and landed my first job.  In April of that year I was trained.  In June, hired as a volunteer.  Like most peers my age, the place to work was Wegmans; I applied there, competing for a position not at the front cash register mechanic, but somewhere else.  They stuck me at the front, which caused me to turn town the position.  This wasn’t the first time this situation occurred.  In the fourth grade, we students tried out for instruments; I wanted to pay drums, but the judges stuck me with the tuba.  It was a hastily performed instrument fitting, and I abdicated my tuba before the first practice.

Instead of working at everyone’s favorite–no, that is not sarcasm–grocery store, Wegmans, yours truly was busy getting his foot in the door with Syracuse’s Museum of Science and Technology (a.k.a. the M.O.S.T. for short).  To this day, a pet peeve has sprouted into a personal offence.  I cannot tolerate the reference to this museum as The M.O.S.T. museum.  It’s redundant.  It’s not called the Museum of Science and Technology museum; ergo, do not refer to it as The M.O.S.T. museum.  In all truth, although I did work there only on weekends, it was a known fact that (a) my hourly wage was more than my Wegmans friends, and (b) I got more hours.  Getting to play all day, perform demonstrations, showcase the constellations and talk about them (but not in the earlier years) sure beat the hell out of sitting at a cash register.

Now, I did–in the latter years–work in the front desk (temporarily) and the gift shop.  I stopped the front desk, because it was overwhelming for me.  Plus, Jason eventually left and we couldn’t toss the disinfectant wipe tube like a football; hence the term/game Baby Wipe Football.  The Cave Store, when the new exibits opened up, was my last home while working for the gift shop.  I would write notes to Jan in accounting, drawing up schematics about installing a television in the store.  The joking notes soon turned into honest, true-life entries about what life is like growing up in-the-moment at my age.  She and I would write back and forth, and this definitely encouraged me to continue writing.  Jan is a pure-of-heart person.  I was still working on the novels at that time.

Novels:  thorns in my ass.  They will get done, I assure you.

You only sound like an idiot.  If you don’t, those unknowing people will (hopefully) catch on.  It’ll be better if your kid corrects you.

I love The M.O.S.T.; in all of Syracuse, it’s the place where a kid can be a kid, but they need to wear socks in the playhouse.  No excuse.  Socks must be worn in the playhouse.  If you or your kid(s) do not want to wear socks and spread germs, go to McDonalds.

Coworkers, new(er) and old, all joke about our souls being trapped there.  Like any working family (except the present one, of course), you wouldn’t mind Ghostbusters coming in and eliminating some of those souls.

We all had a lot of fun working there.  I did at least.  It was where I made a plethora of friends, who were not from my high school.  It was where I showed people the stars and dove into mythological stories behind them, putting on a much longer show in the planetarium than the norm.  It was where I had my first kiss; she shoved me against a wall.  (Note:  It was actually a great first kiss.  I probably complained about it in the past, but what the hell did I know back then?)  We electrocuted ourselves, burning our fingertips (and paper) by using coins as conductors atop the electric ball.  Paul and I encountered some ghostly activity.  I met some of my closest friends, including Rebecca, who has been nothing short of a sister figure to me.

After 10 consecutive years of being a part of the museum, so much can be reflected upon.  Maybe I’ll write a book?  This year, 2013, will be the first year that I have not participated in some major event with the museum since 1999.  We still have months to go, but I have not been a part of either Tap Into the M.O.S.T. or the Gala.

I’ll leave you with one last story.  When we got the mechanical and movable dinosaurs, Dinomania, into the museum, we had a grand opening members-only night where myself and my friend, Brian, dressed up in a dinosaur costume.  While I was in the costume, Brian was walking around with me, making sure I did not fall.  The vision in the costume sucked, and it was a sauna.  A little guy around three or four came up and said that the dinosaur was awesome or cute.  Brian asked the kid if he wanted a dinosaur for a pet; of course, the kid said YES!, but that’s typical.  What kid doesn’t want a dinosaur for a pet?  The little guy continued, and he said he would name me Fluffy.

Yes, Fluffy the dinosaur.  Really.  Fucking.  Intimidating.  I don’t get Reptar, but I do get Fluffy.

Of course, my friends at school got word of this, and they rolled with it.  This was especially true with Mike R.  Signing my yearbook at the end of the year, he addressed me as “Fluffy.”

That same year, a few weeks later (it seemed), I donned the costume for the second time a few weeks later in the St. Patrick’s Day parade.  While on Salina Street, a little girl gave me a black Mardi Gras bead necklace, which I still own today.

Christine, a former coworker of mine at the museum, about 10 years later sent me this picture and tagged me in it.  So, to fulfill all of your entertainment quotas for the day:


(Just to let you know:  your gain in all of this is mine.  You’re laughing with me, so thank you for the confidence.  As always:  thanks for reading.  Yes, those Converse were mine, because I only wear Converse.)

(Hey, look!  I’m next to a giant beaver.)

What was your first job?  Any fond memories?

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