Santa Claus, Panties, and Fifty Bucks.


Figured I’d share a short essay I wrote for class. I think it’s worth a chuckle or two. Let me know if you’d like me to post more nonfiction like essays, instead of just fiction and poetry

 

 

 

Santa Claus, Panties, and Fifty Bucks

 

It’s funny the trail that life takes you on over an honest mission of finding a job. The recession struck hard, and at fifteen years old, I learned how hard it truly hit when I smelled the putrid odor of vomit on a polyester beard and found myself staring at Chris Cringle in a mildewed backroom mirror. Now, it would have been slightly justifiable if I were a mall-Santa Claus, or even begged for change somewhere out in the city, but here I was holding sales signs in front of Fashion Bug next to Highway 35 for a lousy fifty dollars. Though the humiliation, sweat, and strange odors throughout the day kept me down, this day from hell would teach me a valuable lesson and would reward me my first paycheck. I wish this were a nice story, or even a clean one, but it is not; it’s the truth and it sucked.

I guess this tale really starts a year before, when I first started applying for jobs around every typical hotspot for kids: fast food joints, supermarkets, paper routs and even a sweat shop or two! But unfortunately, no one was willing to risk the chance of hiring a fourteen year old in their fine establishments. I was desperate for a job, yet not too desperate to go door to door for lawn mowing or shoveling snow (I find that vaguely humiliating). My mother was an Assistant Manager at the local Fashion Bug. One day, she brought word from her boss of a Christmas promotion that involved some naïve fool to adorn a wool suit for six hours in the warmest winter since the Jurassic Period. Well apparently I missed some memo and offered to take the job.

I remember being excited as I stepped through the twin glass doors, freshly cleaned and I saw my reflection in their panes as I made my way into the store.  Of course within an instant, I spotted two girls I attended school with and they worked there. So now, I would have to pull the fat-old-guy-who-sneaks-in-your-chimney-to-give-your-sleeping-children-presents look off in order to avoid appearing like a total tool, I was willing to accept such a viable challenge. I made my way into the bathroom where I found a package containing the suit. Little did I know it had been worn before and unwashed-several times or so it appeared.

I began to put the suit on with all the elegance of a drunken elephant in a circus tent, thrashing around the tiny bathroom and knocking over the brooms and mops, which lined the wall. As I pulled the beard over my face, I soon learned that someone must have puked on it sometime or another during its experienced life; smelling human bile would be on my agenda that day for six hours. I also didn’t expect to spot the homecoming queen or even better, the girl I was deeply into. With those two run-ins slowly destroying any self-esteem or standing within freshman year that I possessed, I was then given a sign to hold which advertised panties, thongs, and accessories. All I wanted was the fifty bucks.

At the end of the day, I hung my suit up and found myself sitting in the center of the plaza waiting for my mother to give me a lift home. I appeared no different then when I walked into the little shop of Christmas horrors, but in my pocket I held fifty dollars and pride that no event could tamper with, not even demeaning jobs or working with a thrown-up covered beard for six hours, because now I was paid. No longer would I be a typical boy who relied on his parents for his money, but I would earn it myself. Months later, I would score a job at Stop n Shop, which if you don’t know, is a mere step above slave labor, and I’ve been there for close to three years.

Though I hope to turn writing into my profession and career, small jobs are necessary until I can sustain myself from the craft. People rely too much on one another and independence seems to have almost been lost in my generation because young adults still ask their parents for money. Getting a job seems to get harder and harder. I will continue to pave my own way whatever way possible and no matter how dark the time, I will look back to the time I played Santa Claus for fifty bucks on a Saturday morning to get paid, but somehow I feel there was something deeper in all of that, somehow I began to find my way towards something more. I guess I began my own path early, now let’s see where it takes me.

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About Damian Rucci

D.F. Rucci is a writer, blogger, and a musician from a small town in New Jersey. View all posts by Damian Rucci

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