Jumbo Tron

The other day I ushered an event at the Breslin Center called Women of Faith, which was where a bunch of different women sang Christian songs and performed Christian stand-up comedy (I didn’t get any of the jokes because my parents forgot to teach me to be religious). To attend this concert, you had to be a woman and you had to be Christian, and I believe you also had to have a hair style from the 80’s and be at least forty-five years old. It was also recommended that you were easily confused with finding a seat according to a basic numbering system, which made my job much more difficult. But I didn’t care—when I’m ushering, I blank out and stop thinking about anything other than doing what I’m supposed to do. It’s called being in the “Usher Zone” by some, and I had been feeling it strongly on this day in particular. They put me at the fast-paced floor seating area, but I was still fully prepared to do my job, which is to stand up and wear ridiculous clothing. I was prepared to usher like a madman.

The Production Staff, meanwhile, had their own agenda. These are the guys who, among other things, pick the camera shots for the giant four-sided Jumbo Tron monitor in the middle of the arena, and they often show random members of the audience’s reaction so that the audience can feel special. But on this day, right before the concert officially began, they decided to show me ushering as some sort of Production Staff joke. Immediately, the ten thousand-plus middle-aged Christian women in attendance erupted into laughter and gave off simulated cheers, because I was one of only a few dozen males in the entire building, and because ushers are dressed up like monkeys. I instinctively rolled my eyes before I realized that over ten thousand people could see me, and then I began pretending to laugh. “Haha, that’s really funny! I’m trying to do my goddamned job, but instead I have to put up with this bullshit! Haha!” Then, after they still continued shooting me, I began shaking my head in impatience. “Alright, you’re filming me. Everyone gets the fucking joke.” Then they began flashing the sentence “He’s Single!!!” on the monitor, and the audience’s response rose to new heights of enjoyment—all at my expense. Isn’t there some sort of sin against this type of shit? “Thou shalt not laugh at ushers, because they’re just trying to do their fucking jobs.” I believe that’s referenced in the New Testament quite clearly.

When the camera team finally decided to stop putting my face on all the monitors, I tried going back to doing my job, but now all the women were giving me peculiar looks. As if that wasn’t enough, they put me on the monitors again later in the day. What the hell is wrong with the Production Staff? Ushers aren’t supposed to be filmed, they’re supposed to usher. Whatever happened to that?

You know, it’s a good thing I don’t have a job where I get humiliated in front of ten thousand people while getting paid only six dollars an hour. Oh wait, I do have that. Jesus Christ.

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