Thursday, March 3, 2011

"The Associated Year": A Memoir. Episode 7: "The Refrigerator Fable"

The Refrigerator Fable

Ever try to move a few hundred pound industrial refrigerator using only manpower during a day that made the surface of Mercury seem like Pluto's frozen planetary ass?


Because I did.  And it's not even the experience of dealing with this giant metal beast that's at issue but rather the reward that I received for it.

But I'm getting ahead of myself again.

It all began with a simple request from my boss.

"I need you to come in early on Saturday to help me move a new refrigerator in and to take an old one out."

I thought to myself: "Well...he DIDN'T call me a why not?  Plus--bonus pay for just moving a refrigerator?  I'm on it!"

And so I show up at the store at like six o'clock in the morning on a Saturday in the middle of the summer.  It was already 80 or 90 degrees that early...I should have known what was coming but, being a teenager, I figured that I was invincible, so who cared how hot it got?

It was a surreal experience going into the store that early, seeing most of the lights was almost like being in a museum after it closed or something like that.  Shit, I don't know.  I've never been in a museum after closing before...but it seems like that's what it would be like.  Whatever.  Don't judge me.

So I pop into the store and the old refrigerator is already gone.  I find my boss and he leads me around to the back of the premises where I see both the old, dingy, crappy looking fridge (seriously--it looked like one of those things with the tentacles from The Matrix took a rusty shit on this heaping hunk of crap) and the sparkling, brand new one.  All we had to do was move the new refrigerator out from the yard behind the store to the front and then inside.  All said--it was probably a distance totaling no more than forty or fifty yards--probably far less than that.  It was maybe fifteen feet to the gate, another twenty five or thirty to the corner, another thirty or forty feet to the front of the store, and then a final thirty or forty inside.

How bad could it be?

Try four HOURS bad.

First of all, we had no dollies that we could use.  I vaguely remember trying to get this behemoth on top of them but it was way too heavy and the dollies themselves sucked way too much.  So that meant moving this bitch by hand.  Moving it by hand meant lifting it up and putting it down every, oh, I don't know, two inches of walking.  The problem, too, wasn't just that it weighed a few hundred pounds and that we had me (maybe 140, 150 lbs at the time), the owner (probably around 200 lbs), and Lumiere (lucky to break 100 pounds if sopping wet in unhardened cement) (some dream team, ladies and gentlemen), but also that it was a new refrigerator and thus that we had to place it gently down each time we had to set it back upon the earth...which was probably several hundred times.

Remember the Budweiser story?


My back is killing me.

Then the sun really started to heat up.  I felt like I was on a goddamned chain gang in the middle of the Arizona desert. 

Thank God I'm not only a man but an Aries as well; it was sheer stubbornness that allowed me to get this friggin' thing into the store.

And the lack of shimanooting that occurred during my boss' "request"?  More than made up for during the moving of this big piece of shit.

And my reward for completing this?  Getting to start work four hours early.  That was it.  I don't even know if I got paid for it.  Even if I did it probably wasn't the correct amount.

Even the hard things that seem like they should be easy rarely are and, in fact, are probably more often that much harder than you anticipated.

Since this is a fable, it needs a here it goes:

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"  --adapted from Aesop's Fable "The Ass and the Mule."

I don't know that the moral has any relevance here but the fable title sure as hell does since I wound up feeling like both that day.