Thursday, April 22, 2010

leap before you hit the bottom

I have the pleasure of working for one of the oldest institutions in Union Square, and I say that with absolutely zero eye roll or forced, insincere sentiment!

Family-owned Paragon Sports has been in operation since 1908, which happens to be the last year my precious Cubbies took home hardware. The building itself was probably erected long before that date, though a half-dozen Google searches yielded no further information on the subject.

Within minutes of my hiring, an unshaven fellow in the basement informed me that the store's “New York City Historical Landmark" designation (at least, I think those were the words he used) renders the owners impotent in all matters of renovation, even though the crumbling infrastructure demands attention. In other words, they have to leave the building as is, no matter what. Is this true? I have no idea! Let’s just assume Person X knew what he was talking about. Best not to worry my pretty head. I believe everything I’m told.

Two weeks ago, pinned between a wobbling dolly and two outrageously heavy golf club displays, I risked it all on the engineering marvel that is our freight elevator. The car lurched and stalled and groaned in unnatural ways only thirty or so times between Floor 3 and Floor 1, but no matter! Just a common malfunction, I’m sure. Someone upstairs probably took care of it. I pity all the stiff suits on Madison who ride clean, modern, polished elevators with little to no fear of death or serious bodily injury! This is the Big, Bad City, man! Toughen up or get the hell out! While we haltingly banged our way down to Floor 1, I envisioned an undesirable scenario and set to ruminating. If we plummet to the basement, I decided, I’ll leap right before the point of impact. Just might save my life. Ah, New York living. It’s grueling! Lol!

And then there’s the sagging, malnourished stairs that lead to the warehouse. My God, but aren’t they a work of art? Every time I ascend those balsa planks, their violent, downward slope to the left brings a chuckle to my eye and a tear to my mouth, and throws off my equilibrium. I’m safe, I tell myself, lips not aquiver. I’m safe, I’m safe. I’m safe. Seeing as Paragon is a legitimate business that cares deeply for their employees, I’m certain the building’s safety inspectors investigate the stairwells on a weekly basis to ensure our well-being. No need for worry!

I really can’t stress enough just how proud I am to work in such an impressive, historic monument to capitalism. And retail. My coworker on the first floor tells me that Andrew Johnson shopped here, once. I’m gonna blindly put aside everything I know about the space-time continuum, open my mouth all the way, and go, “whoooa.”

When the ceiling drips, as tends to happen during heavy rains, the maintenance workers do exactly as you’d expect and staple crude, plastic tarps around the leaks. One must marvel at their ingenuity. Why offer a permanent solution when Band-Aids will do just fine? Twice a week some dude with a vacuum gets up on a ladder and sucks out the brown and purple water. Situation diffused!

I’ve had a nosebleed for four days and everything around me smells like paint, even when I’m not in tennis department, which is receiving a second coat as I type this. Today my urine came out blue. Probably just a chemical imbalance, or something. I’m sure I’ll get over it.


Lucas Cometto said...

I like the tone of this entry. Tons of "oh well" phrases followed by exclamation marks (yeah!). The idea to jump right before the elevator crashes on it's way down also makes me laugh because it makes so much sense to me as well despite what physicists tell us.

Collin said...

I was in that elevator too! Still not sure of the science behind the jump/fall...Great overall points, though. Why does landmark status grant you the right to neglect the structure?

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Elwood said...

Hi Daniel--

Didn't quite understand the question. Can you e-mail me at


Anonymous said...


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