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A Mashup of Jobs You Could Have Had Growing Up in South Central Pennsylvania

By Andy Brown

You’re sitting on a low wooden stool picking celery plants from the starter bed while asking the guy beside you for a minute of his time, but he’s hungry, so you brush the dirt from your hands and grab a tray with plates of banquet chicken and the kind of mashed potatoes you could use to plaster a ceiling, a ceiling that will last for decades until you climb this ladder and start busting a hole big enough to climb through, so you can wiggle into the crawlspace and cut the ties that hold it, except of course that means when it falls, you fall too, but then again when you land it’s like landing in a public pool that hasn’t been cleaned, which is to say there are floating turds and dead mice that someone has to scoop out with a net, and that someone is you – today, tomorrow and every day until something different comes along, something that pays a little more or offers more hours, such that when you fall back into the pool and drown, you wake up driving a forklift in reverse, moving a pallet piled high with bags of crushed stone, and you’re so careful not to crash that you don’t notice until it’s too late the fledgling bird leap from the nest hidden in the overstocked lumber, leap only to discover it’s not ready to fly, to discover that it’s not even agile enough to flutter away before a solid rubber tire turns it into a stain the rain will wash away later, and maybe that’s when you could say you witnessed something real or had a life-changing experience or learned a valuable lesson or all the above, but you still have to wake the next morning and drive to work, where you flirt with a purple dragon and guard the entrance to a roller coaster, and when a child begs to be let on the ride, and the parent says, “Ask the man,” you don’t hesitate to say, “No, you have to be at least this tall,” because your childhood ended years ago, and it’s not fair they look to you for an answer, and it makes no sense, since you’re not even old enough to buy cigarettes or join the army, but you’re the man nonetheless, the man with the blue polo shirt sporting a castle logo and wavy font that says Dutch Wonderland.

Andy Brown is a full-time freelance writer who left south central Pennsylvania 20 years but still considers it home.

Art by Andy Brown.


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