Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I’d had this problem for a few months
where every time I got out of a car
I got shocked when I touched the door
it didn’t matter which type of car
or how far I’d driven
or the weather or anything like that
it was just that without fail
I’d become electrified
as soon as I sat in a driver’s seat
it was annoying at first
but then when I got a job
as a valet parking attendant
for an office building
it got worse
the same people came in every day
to valet their cars
and when they came out to retrieve them
they’d reach out to give me a tip
and in exchange I’d give them a nasty little shock
how do you react to that situation?
a shock is a weird thing
it’s not like I bumped into them
or said something rude
for which I needed to apologize
but day after day the tips grew smaller
and I noticed that when the people came out
they avoided me
and tried to hand their ticket to the other valets
the ones who didn’t hurt them
and the ones who got stuck with me
I’d bring up their cars
and they’d very carefully hold out their tip
and let it fall into my hands
if they gave me one at all
days went by and then weeks
and when I left on my lunch breaks
I’d notice cars that used to valet
would be parked blocks away
on all the side streets around the office building
all the other valets stopped speaking to me
and finally it got so bad
that the operations manager came down
to see what the hell was going on
to see why we were parking so few cars
he came up to the valet station
and we parked his car
he spoke with us
asked us some questions
then went inside the office building
spoke with some of the personnel
when he came out he said,
“ok, let’s do a quality check.”
he looked at me and said,
“you, go get my car.”
all the other valets looked on
with excitement in their eyes
I snatched his keys and ran to get his car
hoping the quality check
wouldn’t involve him actually leaving a tip
but it did
when I opened the door
I cautiously reached out for the dollar bill in his hand
but it was no use
he had heard all the stories and complaints about me
no doubt
and he purposely banged his hand against mine
and quickly retreated
“ouch, Christ!” he snapped,
after I gave him a nice one
“are you Jack Tom?” he asked
I looked around and hesitated “yes, sir.”
“Jack,” he said, pushing the tip back into his pocket
“here’s a better tip. Go get yourself another job.”

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