The first job I ever had was working as the “nurse” on-duty in the snack bar for the Big Sky drive-in theater.  I know what you’re thinking . . . okay I don’t know exactly what you’re thinking, but skepticism would not be unreasonable at this point.  I’ve scoured the internet and can’t find a single reference to this lauded profession.  If I hadn’t lived it, I wouldn’t believe it myself.  So stay with me and I’ll try to explain.

Teenagers in Ancient Times often hung out at the local drive-in theater.  It provided the perfect venue to get away with all manner of mischief . . . drinking, smoking, hooking up, brawling and general mayhem.  Theaters frequently catered to the demographic by playing horror flicks . . . always popular fair with the youth of America.  When I was about sixteen it became fashionable for these masterpieces of fright to be advertised as so terrifying that – to assure the safety of the general public – a “nurse” would be on duty in the snack bar during the showing.  Yeah I know, these days there would be a huge legal liability associated with such a claim, but remember we are talking about the Stone Age here . . . a nostalgic era prior to torts and class-action law suits.

Of course, it wasn’t a real nurse, rather some unfortunate, young girl in need of making a couple of bucks and I do mean a couple.  A friend of mine had the job before me.  She was given an opportunity to advance to a position behind the counter provided she could find someone to take over as the “nurse” on-duty.  Enter moi’.  The only requirement for the job was the ability to fit into a “uniform” consisting of a very short, plaited, white skirt and matching halter top that was closer to a bikini top than any kind of shirt I’ve ever seen.  Ownership of a pair of white boots was preferred.

My interview for this lofty occupation was donning the costume and doing a couple of twirls for the manager.  I started that same night.  I had to lie about my age, but you could do that in the Olden Days.  Nobody asked you to prove who you were or whether you were a citizen or held a valid green card.  I don’t even know if there were green cards back then.  I was issued a nurse’s cap and my life saving tools . . . a stethoscope and sphygmomanometer (Say that six times fast).  Thus equipped, I was literally thrown to the wolves.

There wasn’t normally much to do while the movie ran.  Once intermission commenced, it was a different story.  A horde of pimple-faced boys and middle-age perverts would descend on the snack bar.  These male miscreants had inevitably been so scared, they felt the need to be attended by a nurse.  This basically amounted to applying and pumping up the blood pressure cuff while protecting your womanly virtue.  Not once, in my time plying this trade, was it necessary to care for a female victim of the gruesomeness on the silver screen.  Go figure.

Needless to say, I survived the rigors of this employment experience with little more than a few bruises and blisters from the boots.  I can’t remember just how long it took to follow in my predecessor’s footsteps eventually landing the much sought after rank of ticket booth cashier, but I will always be able to say I was a teenage drive-in theater snack bar nurse.  How many people do you know that can lay claim to that?  Do you think I should add it to my resume?

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