Friday, October 01, 2004

The Great Swimsuit Model Caper

The pizza eatery I worked for was decorated... Heavily decorated... Decorated in that "the local thrift shop exploded" sort of way. It was like TGI Fridays, on steroids! During lulls I would often stroll around and look at the stuff they had nailed to the walls. Among other things nailed and screwed to the walls was an autographed James Dean picture (autograph never authenticated), wedding licenses, toy trucks, some stuff I found out by the dumpster (another story), and even a tin advertising "magic balm" - a magical substance that seemed to have the remarkable ability to cure all worries.

Further inspection showed evidence that the original owner of the balm was not a believer in the magic qualities it exuded, since the thing was still FULL OF BALM! Someone had driven a screw through the balm and into the wall, leaving a tunnel through the thick slime. The slime was so thick, not even gravity and time could collapse the tunnel boared by the screw. It smelled, so I shoved the top back on and walked away. I went back a few years later, and the balm was still intact, tunnel and all.

A strange thing occurred to me one day, the notion that nobody actually knew what was nailed to the walls, just the fact that stuff was nailed to the walls. The sheer amount of brain space required to even give a crap about all of that stuff was too much for anyone to afford, except me since I have a lot of free space up there. This fact lead to a series of experiments involving me removing and replacing items without notice for weeks and weeks. Furthermore, it became apparent that not only did the employees fail to notice, but customers seemed oblivious to their surroundings as well. I think I may have been the only one who even looked at that stuff.

So one night, I found a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model magazine laying around, left behind by someone who perhaps lost it in the confusion perpetuated by being surrounded by thousands of pieces of junk on walls. A devious plan was created. I would cut out swimsuit model pictures and strategically place them amongst the various things hanging on the wall in such a way that nobody would ever notice. Covering up a picture in an old framed newspaper, or a small model dangling out of the back of a toy pickup truck... That night, after closing, I placed no less than 18 photographs throughout the restaurant.

I proceeded to spend 3 MONTHS without hearing another thing about it. Then, finally, one night at around 10:00pm, a kid approached me as I bussed tables and said, "Dude, do you know that there are swimsuit models all over this place?"

I was overjoyed! Alas, someone has taken the time to actually look around. Moreover, they spotted the pictures placed inconspicuously about. I told him that I had done the picture placing and congratulated him on his observances. He said he thought it was cool and I agreed.

Well, 3 months of keeping that a secret and I had met my time limit on secrets. I spilled the beans to a select few employees I could trust explicitly to continue to keep the silence, and revere me as the behavioral observer that I thought I was. They laughed and laughed, but then one day they found a copy of something called "Buns and @#$$@%" (I'll spare the reader) under a table.

This turned out to be really, really bad. I came in one Sunday morning, about the same time as the district manager paid us a surprise visit. My "confidants", inspired by my little swimsuit caper, had spent the previous night (unbeknownst to me) taping pages of "Buns and @#$$@%" all over the restaurant in not so inconspicuous places (perhaps they missed the point?). For example, a roughly torn page displaying someone's posterior end had been taped, at eye level, in the middle of a baseball catchers chest pad. Pretty conspicuous.

Needless to say, District Manager literally blew a gasket and roared around the restaurant collecting pictures like a teenager picking up his room with his mom banging on the door. He manager to find all of the "Buns and @#$$@%" photos, and about half of mine.

My little social experiment had gone wrong, extremely wrong. I was about to become implicated in pandering pornography to customers, but it never happened. Nobody owned up, and the DM needed someone to work in the store. So we all got a stern talking to and then got back to work.

To this day, a swimsuit model peers out over the salad bar from inside an old time Coke bottle sitting on a ledge up above the soda machines and another waves gleefully from the upper window of the doll house on the same ledge. My work, immortalized, because nobody will ever notice, ever...

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