We'd straighten and stack up the souvenirs:
Stuffed killer whales, keychains, and sailor hats.
We'd brace ourselves, breathe, and prepare to deal
With the camera crowd and the spoiled brats.
The school groups had already started to wane
Replaced by people from points all around;
Tourists who seems to know no respect
Carelessly leaving their trash on the ground.
"I want it! I want it!" the children would scream
And their parents would say "Oh, all right,"
Buying some cheap toy to shut them up quick
That would end up in pieces that night.
I'd smile and say "Thank you," as they handed me cash
Good luck with those kids, I was thinking;
Knowing those tourists would reach their hotel
Get the kids into bed and start drinking.
But at the end of the day we did realize
That those people who drove us insane,
Were the reason we all got a paycheck each week
And for that, we couldn't complain.
We collectively sighed when the days grew long
And summer had come to an end;
We'd clean up the mess and stock up the shelves
For the locals and school kids again.
Caren E. Salas
When I was in college I worked at Marineland, in Palos Verdes, CA. It is long since gone, but while it lasted it was a great place to work, and a really fun place to visit. It was crazy in the summer, but we all survived. This is dedicated to all my friends and fellow Marinelanders.