perhaps more than any other corps of high school aged workers, kids working in grocery stores tend to be eerily all american. particularly in small towns. they look like they could be recruited as extras for political campaigns. they look like straight-a students, local sports legends, perfect teenagers who are good to their parents and go to church on sundays and have girlfriends or boyfriends but are waiting until marriage (or at least prom) to fool around with them. few have piercings, tattoos, messy clothes, bad skin, untended haircuts.. true, some of the boys may bleach their hair and some of the girls may wear pornstar makeup, but they seem in no way to defy the standards set forth by mtv or parental units.

i've known precisely one person, grown up, who worked in a grocery store as a teenager. he was working in a gas station with me after being fired from said employment on suspicion of theft. he was deep in debt, addicted to gambling and cheap beer, got into fights in bowling alleys, and crashed his not-yet-paid-off truck frequently. while i knew him, he managed to impregnate his seventeen year old girlfriend, be arrested for possession, have all his credit cards yanked, be thrown out of his parents' home, and completely total the aforementioned truck.

yet every morning he arrived at work looking friendly, open-faced, and newly scrubbed. someone even remarked once that the two of us looked like chevron ken and barbie. i don't know how he pulled it off.

like i said, it was eerie.

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