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I Am A Security Guard: The Roaring 20s

After I took my post on a recent Tuesday night, the Head Guard walked over to me and made some small talk

A man shuffled toward us several minutes later. Judging by his soft features, he appeared to be in his early 20s. He stood about 5-foot-7 and wore a tan jacket and light blue jeans. His wide open eyes made me suspect he had just taken a drug.

He asked the Head Guard for change or a cell phone. The man claimed he needed to telephone a friend in order to get money for a prescription.

The Head Guard said no. The man left the store, but returned. He claimed his prescription was ready for pickup. The Head Guard let him go to the pharmacy.

I asked the Head Guard if the man really needed medicine. We walked to the pharmacy to check. The visitor sat in the waiting area. A tech told me the man had been begging there earlier that day.

We escorted him out the door. "I tried to be nice," the Head Guard said shortly before leaving for home.

Of course, the beggar came back an hour later. I told him to leave. He refused.

I resisted the urge to shove his face through the door. Instead, I called the police.

Three squad cars arrived. A dark-haired cop with a chiseled face talked to the man outside.

After I gave a summary, the officer walked to the pharmacy. The staff confirmed my story. The cop returned and said the beggar would not come back to the store.

The officer walked outside and told the man that if he returned, he would be arrested. The beggar slinked away.

I relaxed until another youngster generated drama.

Later in the shift, I looked in the refrigerator for my double cheeseburger. It was gone. I checked the waste basket. Yes, the bag and wrapper rested inside the container.

I told the Cool Cashier. She started laughing and mentioned the Young Cashier had eaten it.

The news made me simmer. The theft of my dinner poured salt into a festering wound.

The Young Cashier, a man in his early 20s, had recently joined the overnight shift. He often arrives late for work or blows off the job to party. He does a half-assed job, preferring to text his friends or listen to music. His antics create more work for the rest of the crew.

The chat about the sandwich drew his attention. He apologized while flashing a sheepish grin.

Figuring his day of reckoning would come soon, I managed a smile. "It's okay," I said.

To take my mind off the food, I started working on the Chicago Sun-Times puzzle contest. The puzzle consisted of a group of scrambled letters. Contestants had to figure out the word in order to compete for a prize.

I broke out a pencil and notebook, figuring the task would be easy. I rearranged the letters once, hoping to get a hint. I tried again with no luck.

I kept writing. Fifteen minutes passed. Then 30.

After 45 minutes, I figured out the word: syndrome.

Given my encounters with the two twentysomethings, the word seemed quite appropriate.

-

A very pseudononymous Jerome Haller earns rent money as a security guard for a large, publicly-held retail chain. He welcomes your comments.

-

See more tales of security guarding, pizzeria waitressing, barista-ing and office drudgering in the Life at Work collection.



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Posted on March 9, 2010


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PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Public Lands Matter.


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