It's a scientific fact that a piece of candy unwrapped slowly and a piece of candy unwrapped quickly make the same amount of noise.

Yep… the shorter, deliberate, careful crackles create the same collective sound output as a sudden, violent twist. So in the end it makes no difference... you are going to annoy the person next to you just as much.

Anyway… my first real job, minus mowing yards or pretending to watch the neighbor's kid, was at a small movie theater. It was in an aging shopping mall off of Route 9, just at the extreme northern edge of commuting distance from New York City.

I was 16, had just received my license, was just gifted a poop brown 1981 Honda Accord with more rust than metal, and now had a job that wouldn't turn my sneakers green.

Livin' the life, for sure.

So this theater… it was the sad kind that had just two sad screens. And, even though it played first-run films, it was the sad kind no one really wanted to come to. But trust me, enough people came… because they always seemed to make one helluva mess.

Now when you work at a small theater like this, even at age 16, you have to know how – or be willing – to do everything. Take the money, rip the tickets, scoop the popcorn, pour the sodas, turn down the lights, balance the books, everything. The only job us younger kids couldn't do, though, was run the projection room upstairs. Because that was for those 19 year old pot-smoking badasses who had been promoted.

Back to the helluva mess.

So after each movie was over, some poor soul had to go in and clean.
Empty cups, loose popcorn, random Skittles, all of it.
But dammit, if you had to do it, you really wanted to be assigned Theater One.

You see, Theater One had the leaf blower.
And Theater Two did not.

Yep, I said a leaf blower… so that means after every show, you'd get the privilege of dragging out the extension cord and turning on that horsepowered beaut!

Now you'd start from the back – I SAID YOU'D START FROM THE BACK – because that's the highest point in the room… well, for some of us, at least. Anyway, you'd go left and right while working your way down until it's all in a big pile ready for your big garbage can – just like you would in your front yard.

It's so fast, so powerful, this is the best job ever!

Now Theater Two, oh my goodness, you'd have to use a broom and a dust pan.
Plus your back, your hands, and your patience.
Soooo slooooow, soooo boooooring.

"Why don't we have a second leaf blower? This is amazing!"
"Ahh, we don't have enough money for it."
"Not enough money? But think about all the labor costs you're saving!"

But then I realized something profound.
The amount of time it took to "properly" clean each theater was about the same.
(Though we all know that a gaggle of 16 year olds isn't going to "properly" do anything.)

Sure, in Two you had to go seat by seat, broom sweep by broom sweep.
Seemingly quite time consuming. Yet precise, thorough, and properly done.

While in One, with all that exhilarating power, popcorn is exploding up on to the seats.
Skittles are bouncing around like atoms but not working their way to the end pile.
Spilled soda is being spread thin on the concrete floor, not sopped up by a mop.
Lost gloves are just being lost in another spot. And work repeated.

And do you know what happens to an extension cord when it gets dragged through spilled soda and buttered popcorn five to six times per day? It. Is. Disgusting.

The moral of the story?

Pick up after yourself.
And don't drive poop brown Honda Accords.

My name is Arrin.
It's so very nice to meet you.

Arrin K. Williams

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