“Reflecting back on my life experience, I am pleased to say that since my birth, my life has definitely increased in excitement dramatically. While starting out bland as the poor schlub who used to be the infantile Max Abrams, every year, my life has been getting more and more exciting for the most part, an attribute I feel is unique to myself.”
Reflecting back on my life experience, I am pleased to say that since my birth, my life has definitely increased in excitement dramatically. While starting out bland as the poor schlub who used to be the infantile Max Abrams, every year, my life has been getting more and more exciting for the most part, an attribute I feel is unique to myself. I can trace all this success to one moment in my childhood, when after a game of little league baseball, even though we barely won more than two games, in the end, I was given something special, something necessary to helping me realize I was not part of the crowd. I was given a trophy for participation! An award for just existing in the presence of my peers! As soon as I got one, I ran over to my parents, beaming with joy. I didn’t stay to see what happened next, but I assume that everyone else just left immediately afterwards as there was nothing more to see.
Throughout the majority of my childhood, I carried that glorious plastic monument to my greatness everywhere I went. Sure, some of the low self-esteem hateful critics would mock me and attempt to make my school life a living nightmare, but I didn’t mind, I knew they envied me on the inside.
Due to a streak of bad luck I experienced after high school, though my talent was remarkably astounding, I could not find a stable job after senior year had ended. One of the things I’ve learned about most businesses is that they don’t enjoy hiring people who they think are too much of an individual. They prefer the type of person with no spine, who goes to college, and has attributes listed on their resume other than being destined for greatness, or having won many awards for participation. This led me to getting a job at our local Neptune Coffee House, one of the top chains in the great center of the universe known as Broken Bow, Nebraska with over three locations!
When I walked into work my first day, a balding, overweight, middle-aged man greeted me at the door. I was unusually nervous that day, so I attempted to do my 20 minute speech, introducing myself and explaining all my accomplishments in life, rather than the full hour speech. Yet only five minutes and 48 seconds in, he had the audacity cut me off!
“Alright, kid, enough with the funny business! It’s your first day on the job, and I already think I should start looking for replacements. Now listen here, my name is Gary. Your coworkers are in the back getting ready. Go join them, and they’ll teach you the works, and if I hear you using that introduction spiel on coworkers or customers, you’re fired! Kapeesh?”
“Kapeesh,” I replied.
Somehow I didn’t get the feeling he was a fan of me, but I decided to ignore it and see if that’s just a Gary specific aura I get around him. I walked into the back to meet my coworkers, and saw the exact type of people I expected to see. One person was smoking in the corner, and the other two people looked like walking corpses who couldn’t stand their jobs. Already, I knew with my charisma and destiny for greatness, I could rise to the top of this coffee shop without even trying. As soon as I walked in, one of the corpses walked up to me and greeted me very apathetically.
“Hey, you must be the new guy. Max, right?” he asked.
“Well, actually it’s Max Abrams, and — ” I attempted to give him a good introduction, but he cut me off.
“Okay, Max, it’s very fantastic to meet you,” he said in a very unenthusiastic voice. “I’m Michael, the kid smoking over there is Scott, and the girl is Skyler.”
I realized that the people here didn’t seem to be cultured enough to listen to my introductions, so I just said a short hi directed to both of them. The only reply I got back was a finger gun from Skyler. At this point, I felt a bit irritated that out of all the people I could’ve been stuck with, I had to be stuck with these lowlifes. I deserved better than this! I needed to move up the ladder if I were to survive in this wasteland known as a coffee shop chain.
“Anyway,” Michael continued, “You’ll be working the register and taking down people’s orders, alright? There’s a list of prices and things you should do when working the register on the counter.”
“Okay. Thanks, Michael” I replied, and I walked out to the register.
When I got there, I had an idea. I realized that if I were to really present myself to the consumers, I could get them to tell the manager about how great I am! After all, people talk to the manager about bad workers, so why not for good workers who really talk to you like a friend. I started brainstorming what to say when the first customer walked in, a small balding man who looked as if he was going through a midlife crisis. The perfect person to try out my new schtick. He was about to walk over like you would at some loser coffee shop, but I knew he was special. He was my first customer. I jumped over the gate we used to get into the coffee area and ran up to him. He looked shocked and frightened, most likely because of how amazing and unique of a barista I was being.
“Hey, welcome to the best Neptune Coffee House in all of Broken Bow, Nebraska! My name’s Max Abrams, by the way. I come from humble beginnings, but after winning an award just for being me in a game of little league baseball, I have learned just how amazing I am! If you would like to put in a good word to my manager, that would help a lot. Thank you!” I said joyfully with a smile. “But enough about me, what would you like to order?”
But when I looked down to see him, he was already running out the door. I guess he may have just forgotten his wallet or something.
The next few customers gave me a mix of responses from “Get out of my face” and “You just lost a customer” to even “Yeah, I’ll tell your manager something!” Which was a big success in my book. Halfway through the day, after a few of the people had talked to the manager, Michael came over, looking about as alive as usual and in an almost completely monotone voice said, “Hey, Max, the manager wants to see you.”
I jumped with joy!
“Oh my God! Michael, thank you so much for the news! Also it’s Max Abrams, but who cares! I can’t thank you enough!” I gleefully replied, and I skipped over to Gary’s office!
I wondered how great of a promotion I would be getting. I mean, I was pretty sure I sold more than ten coffees today. I had to be getting some kind of raise of sorts. Needless to say, I was enthusiastic beyond all belief. When I opened the door, Gary was smoking a cigar and waiting for me.
“You, new kid, take a seat!” he muttered in annoyance.
His office was straight out of some weird basement from the 70’s. The walls were made of a dark wood. There was a dart board on the wall to the left of me, and he had a Windows ‘95 computer on his desk. I was mesmerized by this room of so much history. On the wall to the right of me, there were plaques that seemed to date back to at least the early 80’s of employees of the month, with the latest plaque having no picture with the words, “You are all terrible at your jobs. If I could get a new staff I would not hesitate. Do better next month. – Gary”
I knew one day I would be on this wall along with the greats, my name memorialized forever. Decades from now, people would look at my plaque and get inspired to do better at their job than they ever had before. Then, suddenly, I heard Gary yelling at me.
“Hey, kid! Snap out of it! Were you even listening to what I was saying?” he asked in a furious manner.
“Oh, sorry, Gary! I was basking in the glory of the greats!” I hurriedly explained.
Gary didn’t seem pleased by my admiration of my coffee serving forefathers, but I decided to ignore it as he carried on.
“Okay, I’ll get to the point. I’ve realized I can’t afford to lose you. Out of all the lowlives in town who need jobs, somehow you’re unfortunately the best I could find. But I’m not letting you leave without punishment. Three people came up to me complaining about you today. I’m docking your pay to minimum wage, or five cents below what you had before until you learn how to treat a customer! Understand?”
I was in total shock! I couldn’t believe he was doing this to me! Out of all these people who came to compliment me, he decides that he’s going to dock my pay by an insane amount and call me a lowlife anyway! I couldn’t stand this! I knew something had to be done. The second I got to my home, I started plotting my revenge. I got out some construction paper, and I ripped out a pieces of wood from the attic floor as well as some duct tape and made signs for me and my coworkers. We were going on strike.
The next morning, I got up early and waited for my coworkers to get here. One by one, I handed them signs, and one by one, they gave them back and called me a name along the lines of a nitwit. They had been too influenced by the man already to go on strike with me. They were the real nitwits, but I couldn’t blame them. It wasn’t their fault they became these spineless husks of humans. It was Gary’s. A little while later, Gary himself came out, red with rage.
“What do you think you’re doing, you idiot!” he yelled at me, furious that I was fighting his authority like a true hero.
“I’m going on strike until you acknowledge my talent and give me that pay back!” I replied.
That made Gary even more blind with rage.
“You know what, fine, I’ll acknowledge your talent! You have one. Almost every single customer hates you. You’ve been here one day, and you’ve already probably caused a downfall in the amount of customers who will come to this location now! Thanks a lot, Abrams. Go ahead, strike. Strike until you realize how much people care about self-entitled knuckleheads like you!”
I knew he was just trying to hide his fears of being powerless, leading to him trying to assert his authority on me, so I just ignored him and kept striking. I got out my favorite “Gary is a big jerk. Please boycott this establishment until I get more money” sign out and started chanting the aforementioned “Gary is a big jerk” slogan. It seemed to be a slow day with only a few people coming in, and even less acknowledging me with joyful yes’s, which I’m pretty sure were directed towards my cause. The day was still going very slow, at least until halfway through, when I noticed something from inside. Scott and Skyler were pointing at me and laughing. I was a bit confused until I noticed them taking out their phones to take a video of my protest, and I realized what they were doing. They weren’t the enemy. They were giving me media coverage! They were double agents! I was jumping for joy on the inside, but I knew I had to act professional. So I kept on protesting like nothing was happening, while once in a while, doing a slight wink or a wave just to show my gratitude.
On the way home, teens were greeting me and saying stuff like “There he is!” and “That’s the guy!” I knew that my message had gotten out to the people. The next day, 20 people came to strike, and they all seemed very into it. The day after, 50 people came. The day after, there were about 100 people. This increased until next week, when pretty much the entire teen population of Broken Bow was protesting. I had really done something! I’d started a movement! Sure most of these people said, “I’m here as a joke” as teenagers do. But I knew that on the inside, they were with me. All were chanting my ‘Gary is a big jerk’ slogan in unison. Eventually, around the end of the day, Gary himself came out, looking very happy. He walked up to me at the front of the crowd and asked me to follow him into his office. I did so as the crowd applauded my victory over the man. I walked into his office and sat down with him.
“Abrams, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about a compromise, and I’ve finally come to one. You see, I hate your guts, but the more important thing is what the public thinks of you, and if you can bring in this many people as customers, I’ll let you have your job and pay back with a little extra even. Who knows, you may even be the next employee of the month! What do you say? Deal?”
“Deal!” I said without hesitation.
I came outside, holding hands with Gary in a victorious pose, and that said it all. The crowd applauded us. I felt like the day when I got my first participation award was happening all over again but even better than before.
After that day, the store saw a sharp increase in customers, all because they wanted to get a cup of coffee served to them by the great Max Abrams! Almost everyone in town knows me, and I even got a raise of two cents from my original pay! I must say that the greatest part of my success was receiving employee of the month from my former enemy, Gary. I brought the certificate they gave me home and hung it next to my first participation award I got so long ago to remind me that even today, I’m still destined for greatness. This year, a barista. Next year, omnipotent ruler of the universe!