One of my duties at the Seven Presidents Park is to sit around at the skate park and make sure the riders are wearing their helmets and not screwing around. It’s easy, but boring. Usually I listen to the radio, but today I brought “Sex, Drugs, and Coco Puffs” by Chuck Klosterman. I cannot believe I didn’t read it sooner; I’m only up to page 50 and I love it. But that’s not the point. Since it was a nice day, I read it outside of the truck and facing the skaters so I could do my job. After about half an hour, the park manager (Mark) waddled up and got the drop on me and flat out told me that I’m not allowed to have a book. At any time. Ever.
I almost asked if he was “fucking kidding me” but thankfully I bit my tongue. This is the fourth “item” that I am not allowed to have as a seasonal park ranger (the other three being a cell phone, an iPod, and cargo pants). As Mark sees it, I’m supposed to be doing something at all times for 8 hours straight while carrying a radio at all times. Now the other three things are ridiculous but I can deal with it. But a book? I can’t carry around some paper to help pass the time? It’s not like I was placing bets on my cell phone while getting my dick sucked by a tranny hooker. The odd thing is that I worked with Mark years ago at Turkey Swamp Park, but I don’t remember him being such a dick.
You could probably consider him a victim of the monster that is the Monmouth County Park System. Once you embrace it, your life gets sucked into its black hole. I’ve rarely, in my five non-consecutive years at the park system, met a full time ranger who liked their job. They have no lives outside of work… work is their life. This is partially due to the fact that the shifts are usually at odd hours and most managers don’t know how to schedule people (i.e. work nine days in a row, take two days off, work seven days in a row). I’ve been working with this one woman for three weeks now, yet I know nothing about her save for the fact that she hates the “niggers and spicks that come to the park.” Speaking of which, I should also mention that nearly every park has a NASCAR pool.
Mark was trying to sell me on working with the park system a few weeks back. I thought it was funny that he’d try to do that, considering he hasn’t heard and seen what I have, and I’m only 23. The full time rangers are, from what I have experienced, dead on the inside. There is hardly any room for growth within the system and I can guess that only 10% of the system’s work force have college degrees. Naturally, Mark has a degree, and with a degree comes the position of authority. And since he has a boner for the park system, he tries to make it consumes everyone else’s life… I’m pretty sure that the kids who use the skate park aren’t concerned about what kind of pants I wear.
I still like the job though. When Mark isn’t skulking around looking to bust balls, it’s pretty relaxing. Something about the ocean calms me down when some punk trashes the bathroom… plus I am getting decent base tan before I go to San Diego. But Mark has to realize that we aren’t some pillar of justice cracking down on hoodlums and dandelions in the flower beds. We’re janitors with fucking badges. If I have to sit around for 5 hours and babysit some kids at a skate park, I want to have something to keep my sanity.