When I was seventeen I worked in a movie theatre.
It was the summer that Saving Private Ryan was released.
I wore a nametag.
You do the math.
Obese gentlemen of all ages found it hilarious to inform me as I heaped piles of popcorn into massive buckets (with butter smeared in the middle as well as the top), that the feature they truly wished to see was Ryan’s Privates.
Some of them even offered to save said privates, which of course was especially tempting when uttered from the greasy lips of men known to inhale cheese-dogs and nachos faster than oxygen.
It was after one such man was zipping up his fanny-pack and preparing to balance his buckets of popcorn, pretzels, candy and gallon-sized soda that a sixteen-year old boy made me forever wary of certain peanut-butter and chocolate treats.
He had overheard the sweat-pant donning walrus casually request a view of my genitalia, and took it upon himself to redeem all of mankind. So, cautiously approaching the counter I manned, he smiled, shook his head and said:
‘Betcha get that one a lot huh? Sorry. That sucks.’
Standing there covered in popcorn grease burns, wearing a man’s button down shirt, and sweating from the heat of various hot-dog, nacho, and pretzel ovens-I instantly deemed him a poet. Compared to the rest of the sludge that rolled up to the counter-here was my adorable, grungy, dimpled, teenage hero.
I blushed, laughed, and smiled at him in gratitude for recognizing the horrors of working a concession stand. He returned the smile, stared at the ground for a moment, and glanced up at me determined to continue the flirtation. Which, given my mood-very well could have led to an overly dramatic teenage romance. Delicious make-out sessions in the backseat of cars, hand-written notes, and romantic proclamations of love were all unfolding in our collective future.
But sadly, love is fleeting.
The next words out of Romeo’s mouth were:
“I’ll take a coke and a pack of Reeses Penis please”
Needless to say, he didn’t make it to the select screening of Saving Ryan’s Privates.