Monday, February 9, 2009

"I like the night life. I like to boogie."



Gorillas CAN be graceful., originally uploaded by Olivia Bee.
When I was in college my most lucrative job was that of a singing telegram/flower & balloon delivery girl at Milo's balloons.
I would dress in either a giant chicken or gorilla suit and bring joy to kids, convalescents and rowdy men in bars.
I was thinking about it the other day because there was an ad in the paper about balloon deliveries for valentines and I wondered if high school kids still send flowers and balloons to each other. I'm sure they do. When I was in school it was hot shit to get something delivered to the school. I was thinking I could reprise my role in this bleak economy and be the local chicken or gorilla lady during the major holidays of teenage loins (Valentines and Sweetest Day- which by the way I have never understood...just another bad day for poor men.) I could advertise and have some local pals drive me around in a rented van for a cut of the profits. Kids will spend money on proving love and coolness. I am sure that has not changed. Anyhoo. This could be a real idea for a part time job for me. I have no shame.

Valentines day was my best day ever back then when I worked for Milo's. I would ditch my real job and all classes to be driven around all over Southeastern Ohio in a seatless van that was stuffed to the gills with balloons and 10-dollar cheap rose vases. I made a lot of money that day and it was all paid to me in cash. My favorite.
The parts that sucked were the nursing homes and the so very old and listless. It was almost ridiculous to keep singing or holding out a gorilla hand as they just stared up at me with cloudy cataracts and blue veiny skin, most likely- terrified. I also hated the mean girls at the sorority houses. I wanted to punch them in their perfect faces as they feigned embarrassment or pretended they didn't like the attention.
But the real bad always happened at bars. Like the one day in particular my friend Meg was driving me around on a Saturday for deliveries and I had to deliver a dozen balloons to the owner of the Smiling Skull Saloon. The bar is about as charming as it’s name. It was dark inside the place at 2pm and as soon as I walked in I knew I was in trouble. From the inside of my itchy stiff gorilla suit I could smell the bourbon and beer and smokes hanging heavy in the air. Bob Seger was playing on the jukebox and a bunch of men in assorted leather looked ready to rumble. I started getting knocked around a bit as soon I walked to the bar and my paw holding the balloons was shaking and at times it just wasn’t worth keeping in character. Around the third slightly hard punch to the shoulder I ripped my Gorilla head off, and shook out my long golden hair. I screamed, “I’m a girl you asshole!”
I stomped my feet and shook my fist.
And just like that I shocked a bunch of men nearly sober.
The bartender fell right in love and for the next year my waitress friends and me would go to the Skull every sat night after our late shift and get a free drink before we headed up to our bar.
The bartender wore wranglers and never had a chance with me.
I was uninterested in things that were not foreign or artsy.
I was only interested in weird men who treated me badly and so I used the bartender for free drinks and I think he was OK with that really.
Just like I would like to start that local business of balloon delivery to high schools so that kids could give me money to send sentiments of love to other kids. So I could deliver small heartaches and drop off tiny tears. So I could make some money while they all start to learn what love is not.

title post- So I Married an Ax Murderer 1993

15 comments:

catnip said...

Yes Amy, you are a weirdo, but I love ya for it!

Erin said...

Why is there not a pic of you in a gorilla or chicken suit?? I really thought there might be one in the moment before the pic popped up...

Courtney said...

I WISH someone would send a singing gorilla to me!

Alexis said...

Oh, I love how you write!

180/360 said...

"To learn what love is not" might be the prettiest phrase I've heard in a long time.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I love the image of you ripping off the gorilla head in fury.

I also love the song referenced in your movie quote title. I love all disco for the most part...

vincent said...

At Lancaster High School the big thing around V-Day was when student council sold heart shaped lollipops and you could have them delivered to people... I wonder if they still do that?

Judith Shakespeare said...

I once was forced to dress as a giant chicken and walk in the town's Christmas parade. It seems that I have really bad luck drawing things out of a plastic bowl. And chicken costumes, obviously, because the eyes kept fogging up so badly that I couldn't see... And then I ran smack into a telephone poll in front of God and the mayor.

Which all kind of makes your free drinking Gorilla story seem rather glamorous.

fruitlady said...

One of my mom's friends owned a balloon delivery service so I was always the shmuck ordering balloons for whatever worthless guy I was into at the time. One Valentine's Day I did actually deliver them for her but no gorilla suit or singing involved. That was a blast from the past. Thank you!

Patois said...

My boyfriend in college always delivered flowers. Never saw him in a gorilla suit, though.

Diane said...

EXCELLENT story : )

Robin ~ PENSIEVE said...

((golf applause))

What a fun memory! Well told, Amy. I could "see" you rippin' that gorilla head off and shockin' the (ahem) bar patrons into sobriety! ha!

"...deliver small heartaches and drop off tiny tears..."

Loved that line & the last.

nkp said...

If I had this story to tell my boys they would think I was the coolest thing since pokemon, sadly, I don't. I spent high school working in the back of a pharmacy, no gorillas there...although some customers would certainly have fit the bill.

mandibone said...

I love the Skull. It was my bar when I lived in Athens.

Simply Mel {Reverie} said...

i love how you tell it so raw and real.

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