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Monday, March 20, 2006


I received a phone call from an ex-girlfriend of my brother. A twenty-years-ago girlfriend. Any other time I got a call from an old friend out of the blue it was never good news, so I braced myself.

It turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

After I came back from California alone, depressed, and on my way to a divorce at the ripe old age of twenty, my brother convinced me to get a job where he was working. He thought I'd meet some new people, have some fun, get out of the funk I was in. We all worked for Six Flags, at one of their water theme park properties, one long since paved over in favor of a Barnes&NobleOldNavyMultiplex type shopping center. He was a lifeguard, one of the elite. I took a lowly job in Security as switchboard operator and door buzzer. But this seemingly lowly position made me the conduit between phone communications from the outside world, and radio contact inside the park. I also made the hourly attendance radio announcements to management and supervisory staff, so before long, everybody knew me, or at least my voice. Crady, head water tech and uncrowned king of the park (not to be confused with old King Neptune, below), and I became acquainted after he used me as a shield to deflect calls from an out-of-state, soon-to-be-ex fiancee and I chided him about what a jerk he was. We hit it off immediately and pretty soon hanging around Crady, the hub of all activity, I knew everybody too.

Eventually, after Crady and I broke up, I was asked out by his roommate, Jorge, who I used to think of as The Scary Guy. His outwardly grouchy appearance unnerved me -- until the day, when after spending the night and waiting for Crady to get off his afternoon shift, Jorge unexpectedly showed up home early from work. He snapped on the television, became visibly excited that his favorite movie was on, and proceeded to simutaneously perform the entire dialogue of The Incredible Mr. Limpet. The rest, as they say, is history.

So I'd met some new people. What about fun? Well, for starters, there were naked, after-hour slide parties; nights spent sneaking around, radios in hand, tormenting and avoiding the two hapless security geeks while drinking free beer from the then unsecured taps (I'm hoping the statute of limitations has run out on this one); and a notorious Fourth of July bottle rocket fight on the beach where perhaps 50-75 people were shooting fireworks at each other and no one managed to get arrested or lose an eye. The kind of fun that can leave us breathless with laughter and eyes streaming with tears 20+ years later.

Anyway, the girl who called is planning a surprise 40th birthday party for her best friend and former Guest Relations co-worker and has dug up and invited a slew of the old park employees. Even Jorge is invited. As Crady's roommate and best friend, he was considered an unofficial employee. Aside from the guest of honor and other long-lost girlfriends, I am hoping to catch up with Dave "Why Does My Jeep Smell Funny?" Wilson, Timmy "Mr. Safety" Sullivan, and a few more darling former boyfriends, all instrumental in pulling me out of my funk.

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