When I was sixteen years old I got a job at a place called “Gator Park.” Sounds pretty exciting right? If you’re thinking of a place where you can go to see alligators up close, then you are thinking of Florida, not the lame go-kart place where I worked. I’ve had a lot of jobs over the last ten years, somewhere between fifteen and twenty, but this one is near the top of my list for worst job ever. I went into the experience like any sixteen year old who wanted money but didn’t really want to work for it, expecting each day to ride around on go-karts or play arcade games inside and then get a paycheck at the end of the week. I was an idiot. My first day on the job, I got put in the batting cage. Most places you put in a token and a pitching machine throws you yellow colored baseballs with no employee involved in the process at all, but Gator Park was nowhere near that efficient. I had to stand behind the pitching machines, that were behind a net, to “protect” the unfortunate employee stuck on batting cage duty from getting hit with line drives, and make sure that the balls were being fed into the machine properly when they malfunctioned every two or three pitches. Having no prior training, it was my job to feed the baseballs into the conveyor belt as quickly as possible, while praying to anyone who would listen that my hand or shirt wouldn’t get caught in the machine and rip the arm from my socket. While that may seem like a pretty unsavory job, it was not the worst part. Although there was a net up, there were large holes all over it, so I constantly had to duck and move out of the way to avoid the balls being hit at me with alarming speed.
When I was finally relieved of my batting cage duty I was placed on the go-kart track, and I mistakenly thought that the fun was about to start. Again, I was an idiot. My job was to make sure the go-karts were functioning properly, which most of them weren’t, so it was my responsibility to get them started up again. I had at my disposal a tool shed full of items that could supposedly fix any problem, and no knowledge whatsoever of how to do it. By the end of my first night, I was covered in grease from pushing the go-karts to the shed and hammering away at anything that looked like might need to be smacked to get them running again. Thankfully I found a new job the next weekend so I didn’t have to relive that nightmare again. I found out a few years ago that Gator Park closed down, and I couldn’t help but be happy for all the young kids out there, that would never have to experience working at that awful place. With all of the equipment constantly breaking down, it’s a wonder that they stayed in business as long as they did. Good riddance.