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 ""  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.