Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Heads or Tails #63 -- gaurd

In today's Election Day special edition of that star-spangled meme, Heads or Tails, our chief patriot, Barb, asks us to discuss "guard." Or to be on guard. Or to guard against something. Or other.

At some point during my law school career I secured a job as a guard at the exit of the undergraduate resident student dining hall.

There was a large entrance to the dining hall on one side of the building. Students entering there would usually find a narrow range of unappetizing entrees in various shades of brown and gray (lettuce included). The big treat, when I was in undergrad, was Steak and Shrimp Night. The shrimp was shrimpy and the steak was likewise small, and possibly equine in origin, as opposed to bovine, but those who expect little can't ask for much. Or something like that.

On the weekends there were even fewer options.

Still, people did try and sneak in. Students might have weekend guests or commuters short of cash might wander one flight up from the student union below trying to cadge a free meal, even if it was not a particularly nutritious one.

This sneaking would be attempted at the exit from the dining room. If the entrance was on the far north end of the west wall of the building, the exit was on the far south side of that same wall. The sneaker would have to pass through a fairly narrow hallway, past the kitchen on one side and the administrative offices of the food service on the other. Complicating this maneuver was a small desk and chair set close to the exit. An old man was stationed there as the guard there during the week. He was far too feeble to catch anyone trying to get by him, but he could fuss sufficiently that Ms. Jefferson or one of the other managers would come out and intercept the interloper.

I have no idea how I became the weekend guard. It may have been because of the miracle of seniority. I had worked in the kitchen there, for a time as an undergraduate, before taking my first legal job. It may have been because, by hiring me, the food service management found a foolproof way to reduce the number of weekend sneakers-in by one.

You see, although I lived at home during law school, and the law school itself was located downtown, I tended, during this time, to stay on the school's north side campus on weekends.

I would tell my parents that was staying at school. They may have feared -- or possibly even hoped -- that I was staying with some girl. Sadly, I was in fact squatting in an unguarded office in the basement of the student union building. I had retained the keys to this office after completion of my undergraduate career. There were a couple of couches, a phone with an outside line; I brought a lamp from home at one point. It was quite convenient and, with the active connivance of the rightful occupants of that office, and the passive connivance of campus security, it remained my base of weekend operations for the three years of my law school career.

And I had to eat somewhere, didn't I?

My tenure as guard was essentially unremarkable. Mostly I flirted with the pretty girls and drank lots of coffee. Yes, this story will have to be punched up considerably when I write the novel. I shall have to invent armed hooligans attempting to seize the burnt toast or chewy bagels and a heroic defense of the hallway against overwhelming odds. Alien invaders perhaps?


ShannonW said...

I enjoyed reading this today!

PS: Thanks for voting!

Anonymous said...

LOL At least you were of value!

Tumblewords: said...

Oh, how funny! Grear post!