Essay: The Lunch Box

My first job was borne out of a ‘I’ll show you’ moment to my mother, which sums up childhood really.

No doubt I had asked her for more money, as a teenager is want to do at the start of the Christmas holidays, but I’m hazy on the details as I always am, when I was being a PITA*.

Mum and I had a fight in Quayside at Frankston (hereafter known as Franger), outside the Brashes record store and in a lofty move, I went to Centrelink to peruse the jobs board.

The jobs were written on index cards and pinned to a corkboard. Pretty much describes the state of the job seeker network back then, although I’m not sure it’s any better now.

I applied for and was subsequently unlucky enough to get a lunchtime shift at a dive of a sandwich shop, called The Lunch Box.  One hour a day every week day for the holidays. That this might be a PITA* for my parents to drive me into work each day or that it might interfere with my plans didn’t occur to me. I was told to get a job, so I did.

Now, two things stood in my way to being able to successfully fulfill this position. One was my aversion to working with food and the other was a complete inability to do any sort of maths.

But with the arrogance of youth, I refused to let this stand in my way and duly started work the next day, after flaunting my job hunting abilities in my mother’s face, of course.

Did I tell you I loathe banana? Even the smell makes me retch.

Yes, well, the first ‘sammich’ I had to make was a banana, peanut butter and honey sandwich. Yep, retched through that one. The retching was free. I am sure the man enjoyed the show while I made his nasty arse lunch.

The next day they put me on the till, which was always going to be a disaster. After I rang up $1.8000,000 for a can of coke, I knew my contribution to The Lunch Box was slight at best.

On the third day they moved me work the coffee machine, which I could actually manage and I was praised for my froth making abilities. Something that still make me proud. But this was 1987 and coffee was a rare elixir in Franger, the humble can of Coke being the ambrosial drink of the ‘burbs.

I suffered through two more shifts and then they kindly let me go, paying me, although I am sure I owed them so much more for putting up with me.

I took my paltry wages and bought the James Brown album, Living in America from the alternative record store, upstairs in the Peninsula Centre. There was no way Brashes would stock something unusual like the King of Soul. I knew where it was at in Franger*.

I took JB home and played the record for the next two years.  I’m still not sick of it now, twenty-five years later.

And this was my first job and my first album I ever bought with my own money.

 
*PITA - Pain in the arse
*Franger - Another name for Frankston about 40mins 
drive from the city of Melbourne, Australia. 
Known best for its boganisation, speed freaks, 
Holden commodores, murders that lurk at train
stations, serial rapists and lovely beaches
Jason - Hey Nathan ill be back in a few hours im just gonna 
drop by a mates house in Stony Point. 

Nathan - You goin through Franger? 

Jason - Uh..yea.. 

Nathan - Don't forget the body armor 

Jason - Done and Done
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