Service the Community

I have now served 9 hours of community service at Goodwill. The other 51 court-appointed hours were fulfilled via intensive outpatient treatment, also known as “rehab” to the common non-criminal. And while I learned more philosophical, useful, and memorable lessons about myself and other poor bastards in “rehab,” I learned the most interesting slash shareable tidbits amongst the Goodwill crowd. So if you must do community service, remember these helpful hints, one for every measly hour I served.

Helpful hints:

1. Stop complaining.  You know how sometimes the worst part of your day is finding hidden onions and mayonnaise in your sandwich and cursing the menu creator for not warning you of such disgust-ridden, edible poo beforehand? Yeah, well, shut up. Imagine a life filled with onions and mayonnaise, and then imagine you have to taste test it all, package it, and organize it into the best onions and mayonnaise it can possibly be. Now imagine doing this for the unforeseeable future and receiving minimum compensation with which to buy your own condiments. Now shut up again.

2. Listen to rap. Can you imagine listening to Bon Iver while cutting cords off of countless piles of discarded electronic devices? Gross. There’s something about the repetitiveness of sorting through other people’s throwaways that requires the same kind of repetitiveness in the tunes you’re listening to. Rap doesn’t elicit deep thoughts of woe or imagination or intrigue. It elicits thoughts of cash money and swagger and bitches. And those are happy thoughts. So before you turn on fleet foxes and accidentally stab yourself with your own heavy duty scissors, think again, cause that shit is cray.

3. Exaggerate. I prefer the word exaggerate to the word lie, in this case. It makes me seem nicer. It’s rude to tell you to lie when helping the community, but let’s not kid ourselves here. If you think I am honestly helping the community by standing in a line and creating fake identities for stuffed animals, you are mistaken. The only person I’m helping is Laser-Eye McMudpants, my imaginative, secret detective alter-ego. I have told people I am doing community service for a number of reasons: I stabbed my husband, I committed grand theft auto, I robbed a convenience store, I pimped out my little sister for an X-Box. These are all lies, of course, but who cares. I will most likely never see these people again, and I want to up my street-cred for nine hours of my life. Don’t hassle me.

4. Share something: Know how to sing Purple Rain with your mouth closed? Sweet! Know the difference between an ostrich and an emu? Weird, and I don’t care, but okay! Know how to tie a cherry stem with your tongue? Gross! Don’t put anything in your mouth. But really, you are with people of all different backgrounds and skills, so pass the time by sharing something offbeat. I have a larger than average wenus and you best believe everyone has seen that shit. Plus, in exchange for teaching one old man how to Dougie, I got to hear his ideas on how to win the lottery “without telling your ho so she don’t run away and buy herself all that Victoria’s Secret shit.” Win – win, I say.

5. Don’t donate your panties. Seriously. Because somewhere, at some time, someone is going to touch them on complete accident and hate mankind a little more because of it, and it will be all your fault. If that person happens to be me ever again, I probably won’t do anything because I’d be at a loss, but I will be displeased and despise you from an unknown distance.

6. Wash your hands.  See number 5.

7. Schmooze. Flatter. Suck up. Flirt. Compliment. You know the drill. You’re there because a judge decided you deserve to be there, and let’s face it, you probably do. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get in and get out as fast as you possibly can and still “learn your lesson.” If I can complement the work ethic of my community service supervisor and offer to get them some extra tape/boxes/dance moves/joy from the office for two extra credit hours, I certainly will. So far this tactic has resulted in added annoyance and an underhanded insult of the “Goodwill white-noser” (Since I’m white and not brown, I suppose), but hey, just because it hasn’t worked for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.

8. Save the children. One of my duties was to sort through books to be resold. and because I was left alone for thirty-two minutes and decided it was my job to properly educate and protect the children of the Southeast Austin Goodwill store, I only chose books that I thought were awesome. Books about the solar system, dinosaurs and Berenstain Bears? Check. Books about judgmental religion, general safety tips and how to be a pop star? Oops, these belong in recycling. I like to think that somehow I’ve prevented the next Rebecca Black and created the next Steve Jobs.

9. Thank someone. Thank your mom for making you go to school that one day when you had hives and had to give a presentation about spider monkeys. Thank your college pot dealer for getting busted at your ex-girlfriend’s house and not yours. Thank that one nice cop that ignored the puke on your chin and followed you home instead of taking you in. Thank your friends for telling you no when you really wanted to make out with that old man with cool beads in his hair. Whatever it is, things could be a lot different, and things could be a lot worse. Remember that, and thank yourself for making sure things stay that way.

Cheers, Goodwill. May I only visit you in times of random need.

Reposted and with permission from Kelsey Love.  See what she’s up to at her blog.

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