Monday, December 18, 2006

The Story of Bouncy and Fish

One day, I decided to visit the Park on my day off. A friend was in town and we had no other plans, so why not? First stop, the bungee tower. We put on our harnesses and climbed to the top. There were two jumpmasters* working at the time, but patrons from three weight classes had been sent to the top.

There were a total of 5 weight classes, each named for the color of elastic used to make the cords: Pink (80-120lbs), Blue (121-140 lbs), Green (141-180 lbs), Orange (181-220), and Black (221-260lbs). Greens and Blues were the most common weight classes, and we would rotate the other three cords based on demand.

Since I had to wait my turn, I thought I'd be helpful and jump the woman waiting for third weight class. Her name was Bouncy. She was an Orange. While setting up the cord, I introduced myself and made small talk with the woman. People tended to get very nervous while waiting to jump, so it was always best to try to be as reassuring as possible. My conversation with Bouncy went something like this:

Bouncy: "Therese, have you done this before?"
Therese: "Sure, I do it every day!"
Bouncy: "Really? Doesn't it hurt your coochie?"
Therese: "No, Bouncy. I can honestly say that it's never hurt my coochie."
Bouncy (yelling to her sister on the ground): "Yo, Fish! Fish! I asked if this was gonna hurt my clit and she said NO!!!"

So over the edge Bouncy went. As she was, er, bouncing, she looked up at me and hollered, "Therese, you were right! It don't hurt the clit at all!!!!"

Sigh. Did I mention it was my day off?

*the top attendant, responsible for sending the patrons over the edge. Literally.

Monday, December 11, 2006

No Fear

Part of the bungee tower mythology was that the guys who wore the "No Fear" t-shirts (second most-hated t-shirt after Big Johnson and Co-ed Naked Anything) had the highest walk-down rate. I don't know if it's true, but we liked to say so.

Working bungee was probably the best gig at the park. (Though my friend Dana was a jungle girl in the Tarzan show and got to wear a boa constrictor. You'd have to ask her about that one. Anyway.) One part I liked was checking out the tattoos. One guy had the names of 12 different women on him. I kept cross-referencing his date's ID with the guy's ink to see how she ranked. (Her name was written in small letters near his wrist, incidentally. I guess she was new.)

But what I loved the most was watching the men psyche each other up for the big jump. Sometimes they did it with manly high-fives and sometimes they did it with playful accusations that the jumper was just a big piece of female genitalia. Boys will be boys.

My favorite exchange went like this:
Jumper #1: Nick.
Jumper #2: Sup.
Jumper #1: Represent, yo.
Jumper #2: No doubt.

I learned that "Represent, yo" almost directly translated to mean, "Jump bravely from this bungee tower, so we can tell the people of Queens, New York of your intrepid act."

Or something like that.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Mark B and the Importance of Recycling

It's funny how, years later, the Park is still very much a part of my life. None of my other jobs are like that. Sure, I keep in touch with people I met while toiling for one company or another, but this is different. I'm not entirely sure if it's because I worked there while young and impressionable, or what. Probably not, because I also worked at the A&P around the same time and I never feel the urge to tell funny stories about Life in the Supermarket. And no one from the A&P has ever called me up to share stories about our former co-workers. Like my friend Mike did recently. Without even pausing to say hello, he launched into the details of his latest Mark B sighting.

But before I get into the story, let me take this opportunity to explain who Mark B is. Mark B is developmentally disabled. Highly functioning, but developmentally disabled nonetheless. He worked on the Alpine Slide. He usually held the chairs at the bottom of the lift so they wouldn't smack the patrons in the ass when they sat down. Or he would stand at the top ride area and instruct the patrons to follow the large arrow painted on the ground when stepping off the chair lift. He was well suited to these tasks.

He also had a 'radio station' in his house. As far as I could figure it, that meant he had a microphone hooked up to his stereo so he could sing along to the music he was listening to. And that music was usually Sesame Street-related. One of his favorites was The Opposite Song.* It's a catchy number. Everyone in Alpine Center caught Opposite Fever. As far as I can recall, it was the only song ever performed over the parkwide 2-way radio frequency.

Most importantly, he was a vehement recycler. He would make the rounds to all the offices in the Park (and later, area post offices) collecting their cardboard and empty bottles, which he would then take to the recycling center. Didn't matter if you were saving the boxes to use later or if you weren't quite finished with your beverage.

Which leads me back to Mike's phone call. He ran into Mark while visiting the current incarnation of the Park with his family. He was holding an empty water bottle. Mark B tried to take it from him to recycle, but Mike resisted. He tried to tell Mark B that he wasn't finished with the bottle- he was going to refill it later. Because he, too, is environmentally conscious. And also cheap. A battle of wills ensued. Mike eventually prevailed. I think.

In the end it really doesn't matter who won. I just wanted to tell you all about Mark B. And sing the Opposite Song. "I go up! (UP!) And you go down! (DOWN!) I travel in a straight line, you round and round! (ROUND AND ROUND!)"

*As found on Sesame Street: Born to Add. You can hear a snippet here.