Please don't feed PickleMan
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by: Max Burbank

Okay, now, look. Once again I’m forced to reveal a little more of me in order to make a point. I have no on to blame but myself for this. I don’t have to tell you people anything about my real life, an area my parole officer suggests I keep as private as possible. Just because I’m out of amusing fictional anecdotes doesn’t mean I have to ‘open up’. I’m driven by a pathetic need for approval, and look where it’s brought me. Sharing. I take it back. I do blame you.

I work at a Museum. Which museum is totally none of your business and it doesn’t matter. I’m not risking some maladjusted internet bastard showing up at the front desk asking for me. When I start getting paid for this I’ll give some thought to taking on the odd stalker, not before. Like any of you care enough to stalk me.

Recently my employer showed ‘Seattle’s Best’ the door and brought in ‘Starbucks’ as the cafeteria coffee vendor, a move not unlike asking your Personal Care Provider for a referral for a reliable proctologist with a really, really, long right arm. I won’t get into that here. This column isn’t about how our children will live in a world where nations have been replaced by corporations and die as useless cannon fodder in a war between PepsiCo and Disney, a Late Grande clutched in their trembling, blood streaked hand, "Careful! The beverage you are about to enjoy is extremely hot!" the last words they’ll ever see. That’s not what this column is about.

It’s about the Teens I stood behind while waiting in line at the Museum Starbucks. I, keep in mind, I was on my coffee break. They were here for a field trip from which they were taking a half hour our so as each of them made the poor woman behind the counter hand craft half caff moccacinos and double shot espressos with just a dollop of steamed milk in the center of the cup, the CENTER I said! Gangly ass middle schoolers in pants purchased when a small, family owned traveling circus went belly up and had to sell their Big Top, hard at work on Baby’s First Beard, complaining that they don’t have French Vanilla, "French" Vanilla, like the word "French" in this context has any meaning whatsoever, as if adding the word "French" meant that this vanilla was in some way different from the chemical powder used to make things taste just ‘vanilla’! Making me waste my whole damn break contemplating which of the seven signs of the apocalypse their particular pattern of infected piercings represent!

I mean, yes, by putting in a Starbucks directly across from our humongous gift shop just a hop skip and a jump away from our giant screen Omni Max, in spitting distance from our Laser shows, I suppose we’re somewhat to blame for creating the impression that we’re basically a Museum themed Mall, but Dawson isn’t here on his own time, he’s on a fieldtrip! From School! And I want my coffee! Mine takes-ten-seconds, open-the spigot-over-the-cup coffee! I don’t want to consider what if any meaning the scabby, runic tattoo creeping out of his collar and into the stubbly, pimpled fringes of his bizarre and possibly intentional hairstyle might have, I want my coffee!

And where are the chaperones? The required 1 to 10 ratio of chaperones? Right behind me! Limbering their jaws so they won’t pull a muscle while whining about the absence of fresh shaved Giradello chocolate! Speculating on the fat content in a slice of the Tiramisu! A two minute walk and they could see and touch an actual Woolly Mammoth Tusk, but they’d rather penetrate the mystery of why such a tiny box of dark chocolate covered blueberries costs almost three dollars! I just want my damn Coffee!

Starbucks' Woolly Mammoth 5000
Starbucks' Woolly Mammoth 5000:
It teaches you about history while it makes you coffee!

Look, I don’t want to be a spoilsport, I want their field trip to be fun, a break from the routine, but the bottom line is their time here should be spent in learning. And bellow that bottom line? In huge, bold type? THEY SHOULD NOT BE STANDING IN FRONT OF ME MAKING PRISSY, COMPLICATED ORDERS AND PREVENTING ME FROM GETTING MY COFFEE!! BECAUSE I’VE GIVEN UP A HELL OF A LOT IN MY LIFE and NEWSFLASH!! NEWS FUH-LASH!!! SPEEDY ACCESS TO CAFFEINE IS JUST ABOUT ALL I’VE GOT LEFT! Because honestly, they’re not my kids and if they learn nothing in their entire lives I couldn’t give what’s known by scientists as ‘a little tin crap’. Hollow ‘em out, fill ‘em up with steamin’ hot Java, and let ‘em be my own personal anthropic coffee jug, then I’d be fine with them standing in front of me. ‘Cause right now? I’m getting a little bit of a headache.

note #1: Max Burbank is currently working on converting some of these kids into hollowed-out coffee jugs. It's a messy job, but somebody's gotta do it.

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