Friday, December 7, 2012

I'd Better Take the Fifth .....or Can I Just Hide Behind the First Amendment?

 The funny and altogether wonderful Joe Hagy at "crankyoldman.blogspot..com"  has posted a marvelous blog today about his visit to Disney World. I was tempted to leave a comment to end all comments  about that place and it's spawn of clones around the globe but I realized immediately that what I had to say was too long for a simple comment and possibly too libelous to put Joe in jeopardy.

The truth is that I have a long story unlike anybody else's to tell about Disneyland and Disney World and if anybody is going to be exposed to the risk of a lawsuit I guess it's only fair that it should be me.

The fact is that the last 10 years of my lovely computer programming career was spent at Disney Studios and  this proved to  be something of a mixed blessing for a monster such as myself who, to put it mildly, has no affinity whatsoever  for that small irritating race of humans known as children.  (as I often point out, I never actually hurt any children….I just prefer to have nothing to do with them until they are a decent size, have stopped dribbling and drooling and worse, and are  tamed and trained to do something useful like fetch me my coffee.  If that horrifies you beyond endurance, I'm afraid we will just have to part company.… Sigh) .

As I was saying, working for Disney had many pluses and only a few minuses. Well, I guess you could say actually only one major minus. Are you ready for this? Believe it or not all employees above a certain rank were required to spend a week at Disney World or Disneyland as what they call Cast Members. In plain English what that means is that all these high-powered people had to go down to Anaheim or Orlando and work in the cafeterias or as guides or ticket takers or whatever and ultimately,,,,,,, don one of those wretched furry critter costumes including the heads and prance around the grounds tickling and hugging small children and posing for photos with them and talking in squeaky voices and generally making fools of themselves.  Now this was bad enough during the months from November thru April, but during the warmer months it was sheer hell inside those costumes.  (I was told this by others who returned from their weeks as Cast members.   Temps inside were generally 20 or 30 degrees above the outside temps and you were doomed to sweat, perspire and exude moisture in rivulets and streams.......from your pores, that is.  At the end of the week all of these folk would pose for a group picture taken in costume, grinning like idiots with their heads off sitting on the ground at  their feet,,,,.The characters' heads that is.  Something to finally impress and make their children and grandchildren proud of them I guess.   Being a Vice President of one of Disney's Divisions didn't mean much, but playing Goofy made you a mench???????????

I have always said that there was no job or task that was beneath me. I guess I lied. Now, I would have gladly washed dishes in a cafeteria or restaurant, would have been happy to go around the grounds with one of those sticks with a nail in the end picking up trash or any other respectable occupation.…… But I drew the line at encasing my body in one of those silly costumes and pinching toddlers cheeks while perspiring copiously under the plush and getting a case of heat rash or worse.  And so began this strange dance, this battle of wits between Disney statute and my own standards. Sometimes, during my early years, when they were going around with their vile list of eligible victims recruiting this week's cast members I would hide in the ladies room until it was safe to come out. Later as I became more established as the department troubleshooter I managed to get excused from duty each time by convincing my boss that some emergency had arisen with the main program in the Payroll system and  unless I stayed available the payroll might not get produced this week. Any other system failure might not have done it but payroll was something I could always count on even without having a note from my mother. And so, dear souls, 10 years passed without my ever having to set foot in Disneyland and I did not feel the least bit guilty or disloyal.  Hell, what is more important than  Payroll, forgodssake?.  Not to mention being true to my own standards, and besides, what kind of cockamamie, silly rule was that anyway?

I had hoped to go through my life preserving my virgin status where Disneyland was concerned, but I met my downfall eventually, long after I retired and thought I was safe, when some of my Philly cousins visited me in California and expressed the fervent wish to go to that place whose name I will not mention again. My open handed generosity is what finally did me in, dammit. I had given away to other members of my family all of the guest passes which the company issues annually to employees including retirees, and all I had left was my own ID card allowing me free entrance along with my guests. The ID card was not transferable.  Shitpissfuck.  I was screwed.  Sob.

But at least I did not have to wear one of those damned costumes. Nor  tickle any sticky urchins under their chins.   In the war between Disney statute and Lo's standards I like to call it a draw.




12 comments:

  1. My college educated daughter worked in the park during college and remains at a Downtown Disney restaurant long after graduation. It pays the bills and allows her to pursue a passion of screenwriting. She can relate to your point of view regarding children. Her glittery childhood dreams of working for Disney have tarnished long ago.

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  2. No, Lo. I would say you WON! You fought the Mouse and you WON! I am very torn on the subject of Disney and the Worlds and Lands. On the one hand, Disney ate up Florida. Ate it up and spit it out and that's the truth. On the other hand, they do hire many, many artists who would probably be unemployed without the Mouse's vast need for people to design costumes and rides and play music (some musician friends of mine had a great gig at Epcot for years) and oh, I don't know- do whatever all the artists at Disney do. AND they were one of the first giant corps to give same-sex-partner benefits. And then of course, there's Gay Days which isn't exactly officially condoned by Disney but is certainly tolerated and welcomed and it pisses off the Baptists every year so I love that.
    So...like I said...torn.
    Now as to children- honey, I love my kids and grands as much as anyone on earth could. Would I EVER suggest that everyone on this earth has to like or even tolerate children? Oh hell no. It's like the broccoli- you love it, I don't, so what?
    Kisses!

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  3. Mary Moon is right; you won. My dad was an engineer sent around the country. He was in California when the first Disney something opened (see--I don't even know which name is in California). He visited out of curiosity. He said of it, Walt is so rich he can have those things all over this country. He didn't imagine all over the world.

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  4. It was a wonderful place when I was a kid in the 50s. Much more crowded when my kids were kids in the 80s. Haven't been in 30 years, have no intention to do so.

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  5. I haven't been since the late 60's... for someone who doesn't like kids, it isn't a very appealing place!!

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  6. I've never been to any of the DisneyPlaces, but I used to think I'd want to take my grandkids there. Now I have little tolerance for waiting around in lines and little love for the Disney characters...and so many better things to do. Still, I love your story and I too was thinking that you fought the Mouse and you won!

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  7. A Disney sweat shop. Whoda thought!

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  8. It's fine for you not to like kids until they are civilized. Some of us are cut out to not care when they spit on us, and some of us aren't. Hooray for different.

    And yes, you won that round, good for you!

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  9. "We be of one blood, ye and I." Funny how that is. My sister has visited Disney(Land and world)at least four times a year, since it opened! Her wall was filled with ten-second-later photos of my nieces at Mickey's elbow... Her entire home is devoted to any and everything Mickey Mouse (it's actually very attractive, somehow) and this is being passed on to her grandchildren. I, on the other hand, loathe Mickey Mouse (have, since a small child) and adore Donald Duck. Where is his tribute? Where is Duck World? In the marshes; that's where, with my trusty Browning 20-guage shoulder-high. (Wouldn't a Cat World with Mickeys being chased in some way on every ride be great! You were too clever and many, many, kudos to you, Lo. But, karma... you know what I mean... Great post.

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  10. LOL. I was taken to Disneyland a few years after it opened up. Can't remember a thing. :)

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