Friday, June 5, 2009

It's the Last Day of School

And technically, I should not be blogging. But the kids are long gone (half-day for them), I'm all packed up, the paperwork is completed and turned in, but the geniuses that run things are forcing me to stick around for another forty-five minutes. Consider this my rebellion. Granted, it's pretty weak for a rebellion, but right now, it's all I got. (For what it's worth, Bacon's Rebellion is my favorite. Sounds like some sort of porcine uprising. Plus, you can add bacon to anything and it's automatically three times better. At least.)

I thought about writing how the last day of school is a lot like finishing a book. You want to hang out with your book a little longer because you've gotten to know it pretty good, but you also know that there are other books to write and you really should stick that thing in a drawer or send it off to get rejected or find some other way to avoid going back and rereading it because what you need to do is start another one.

But that seemed a little too serious for Murphblog. If I wasn't careful, I could have approached poignant. And poignant is a place I really try to avoid. People like Alice McDermott and John Irving hang out there. I'm more of a Ben Esch kind of guy.

So instead I'm going to tell you a story about the gift I put together for one of my retiring colleagues. We selected months with the idea that our gifts would in some way relate to each month. I signed up for November because I planned on doing a theme gift. The theme was "Movie Night."

I bought a bunch of theater-like candy and some microwave popcorn. Then I went to the video store and picked up three discount movies. The piece de resistance was going to be a gift card to the local theater and it was all going to be placed in one of those gargantuan popcorn buckets because I wanted that touch of authenticity. That's just how I am.

So I go to the cineplex and tell the ticket-taker guy that I'm not going to a movie, I just want an empty popcorn bucket for this gift I'm putting together. "Will they sell me one?" I ask.

"Yeah, sure. Just tell 'em what it's for," he says. I head to the counter, wait in line, and when I get up there, I explain the whole thing.

The kid's like seventeen and he doesn't appear to be listening at all. "Six-fifty," he mumbles.

"No, I don't want any popcorn. I just want the bucket."

"Six-fifty," he says again.

"For the bucket?"

He nods.

Well what was I supposed to do? My options were as follows:

1. I could leave and sacrifice the authenticity of the gift and just wrap it conventionally.

2. I could pay six-fifty for a flipping empty tub.

3. I could throw a fit and talk to a manager and be one of Those People whose own petty problem becomes the problem of every person waiting in line behind him.

4. Or I could say, "Well, you might as well fill it up then," eat the popcorn, and then use the butter-stained tub to hold the gift.

Didn't seem like much of a choice to me. Not only did the butter smears add just the right amount of additional authenticity, butter makes everything at least three times better. If I ever start a rebellion, I'm calling it the Bacon-Butter Rebellion.

And instead of guns, I'll arm myself with awesome.


Myra said...

Thanks for avoiding poignant. You did a fabulous job. Leave it to James Joyce and Virgina Woolf.

We'll take armed with awesome anytime.

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

Maybe you should've asked the guy if you could buy the popcorn with no tub. He would've probably said, "Six fifty."

Big Plain V said...

Effective awesome, Mr. Murphy. With awesome like that, surely you shall one day rule the world.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

I'd settle for dominating the Webosphere.

Sarah said...

Haha... you gotta love 16 year olds who can't possibly think out of the box. I had an 18 year old (I'm being generous with that guess) tell me I couldn't go see a movie past 10pm because of the curfew in Detroit... when I was 25!

DebraLSchubert said...

Great gift idea! And you clearly benefited from the popcorn. The more butter the better! Armed with Awesome sounds like a pretty good YA title, btw...

Monica said...

imagine, if you will, bacon flavoured popcorn.

Lily Cate said...

Okay, in defense of the kid at the counter, I was a manager at a movie theater oh-s0-many-years-ago. A big chain one. And guess what? You do pay for the bucket.
And the cups. What's in them is so cheap for the company, it's almost incidental.
Inventory is based on how many containers you have in stock, not how much pocorn or soda.
We had to have meetings to explain this to the kids, because it doesn't really make sense, but that's how the biz works.
So the kid at the counter was just doing his stupid, stupid job.

Oh, and the theater building itself only makes money from the concessions. The ticket sales nearly all goes back to the studio, so, thus, $6.50 for a cardboard bucket.

And now I'm even boring myself...