In high school I worked at a place called The Zone, a laser tag/bounce house/arcade/pizza restaurant. My job title was “Party Hero,” which basically meant I was the person that came with your birthday party package. It was my job to keep kids birthday parties running smoothly from start to finish. That means that I got very good at cutting cake, making gift lists, and getting pizza sauce out of my hair (don’t ask). Part of my job was learning jokes, games, and magic tricks to keep the kids entertained while they were in the party room. My most important task was to keep the Party Mom happy, which often felt like wrestling a stressed, pregnant alligator with a Prozac hangover.
One weekend I got assigned to a rather large boys birthday party. Bigger groups warranted having two party heroes on hand, so I was paired with my friend, Sean, who was skilled in the juggling arts. He wanted to entertain the kids and asked if I’d be his assistant for a particularly complicated juggling trick. We stood on separate sides of the party room. While he juggled, it was my job to throw additional balls into the mix from across the way. After his fourth ball, I hurled the fifth towards him. Unfortunately my aim is only accurate about 15% of the time and this time the ball went hurtling toward the Party Mom. WHACK! The ball flew right into her face. And I was mortified.
Let’s just say I didn’t get a tip.