Friday, February 17, 2012

Bedman's Downfall

We're getting too many dancing people dressed in pizzas! They're clogging up the side of the road! It's too much! It's making me hate pizza!

What happened to the good old days, when the merchants simply waited for us to show up or had faith? They don't leave anything to chance now, taking every opportunity to stick it in our face, as though we didn't know they were there.

Probably the worst one has to be the income tax preparers. Seriously, income tax preparers dancing on the side of the road. Dressed like the Statue of Liberty, cheapening one of our best loved statues. I don't really see the point. You might stop in for a pizza on impulse, but I never just happen to be carrying tax papers and receipts.

The whole thing reminds me of the only guy I ever knew personally who was a road dancer. He's Kevin something, but to protect his anonymity I'll just call him Bedman, since that's the job he had most recently.

Kevin/Bedman actually did start as a dancing pizza, but he was just a big single slice. He told me all about it. He was full of complaints. He had what you'd call a sadistic boss, one of those guys who liked to grind it in his employees' face that he's the boss and they're the underlings. He'd be out there dancing quite a bit without a peep from his boss. But if he slacked off, Boss would call on the phone and criticize him. He was looking out his office window (a one-way mirror), so you couldn't tell when he was watching. He'd call to complain, that Kevin was "too lazy," or if he was dancing wildly, he was "too manic." "I'm paying you! I don't want to lose my reputation!" That kind of crap. In the end, he got fired.

Other jobs he had around town: He was a dancing cookie, a dancing pulled pork sandwich, a dancing oil filter, and the dancing dollar sign outside a payday check-cashing place. He didn't get fired from those jobs, but he was in demand because he could stand the changes in weather, the long hours, etc.

The last job I know about along these lines was when he became Bedman, obviously for a bed store. Bed World, Bed Universe, something like that. He was inside a big mattress, of course carved out so he'd fit in it. He was perfect, because they needed someone with strength. It's not a job for a small or even medium-sized woman, certainly. It'd take a man, or a very husky gal, and he was perfect.

Among the skills needed, other than carrying that much girth, is watching the wind. If southerly, you have to put the edge of the bed into it. Then be able to adapt to any shifts, along with the man-made gusts coming from traffic. Then somehow keep up a dance good enough to provoke people to come in and buy a bed. That's a lot to ask. Especially with the wind, because you've got the enormous broad surface. You have to have the skills of a cruise boat captain, or someone more competent, to keep it righted.

But what if the wind gets super tricky? A southerly breeze that shifts to the east just like that! Or that whips from the east instantly to the west, if that's possible. Or does a quadruple whammy and goes through the four directions and all the angled combinations in random order. Something like that must have happened because he definitely got flipped into the road one day.

To hear him tell it, it was terrifying. How he struggled to keep up with the wind before he fell or was pushed into the road face down. That'd be very terrifying, hearing the traffic honking, trying their best to avoid hitting him, because no one wants to mess up their car. I'm just trying to picture it. Bedman's out there struggling, flopping around. And nothing's any good. But what can he do except keep up the fight? Then somehow, thanks to the strength in his legs, he got the damned thing flipped over, which was half the battle.

Now he could at least push his head up, like a turtle, so people could see it wasn't just big debris on the road but an actual person craning his neck out to get their attention. He's doing everything he can to get to his feet, he said, when a semi truck going by helped him with a big gust of wind, pushing him back, and toppling him, on the curb. It still wasn't all the way, but far enough to keep from getting killed.

Then, getting his breath, he was able more easily to push himself with his legs all the way on to the parking strip. He said he looked up at the sky and thanked God. Then he heard the honking of geese and saw them fly by, heading south, and reflected on the miracle of life, which is a happy ending.

Kevin had a better boss at the bed store, who when he finally came out was understanding. Of course he didn't lose his job, but in fact was given an extra 5 minutes (on top of his normal 15 minute break) before waddling back out to finish his shift.

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