Welcome to our regular Saturday feature “What Aggravates Me”

By Comedian John Knight

Pittsburgh said goodbye to one of its favorite athletes this week as Marc Andre Fleury moves on to play for Las Vegas. With the salary cap and expansion draft, it was a necessary loss. Unlike in a few weeks when the Pirates give away Andrew McCuthcheon, just so tight fisted owner Bob “Ka-Ching” Nutting can shove more money into his greedy pockets.

Before leaving town, Marc Andre gave a nice parting gift. He financed the construction of a new playground for the Boys Club in McKees Rocks. I used to work there when it was still new and shiny. Of course, I was still new and shiny back then. I could probably use a little construction myself.

It was a summer job between my freshman and sophomore years at Duquesne. There were a lot of good kids that I remember. The ones that weren’t so good, I remember more.

For some, we were nothing more than free Day Care. Parents would drop the kids off first thing in the morning and pick them up at closing time. Some of these kids would have been better served in a detention center, but we were less expensive.

I was at an age where you aren’t afraid to push things a bit. Of course, I don’t know when you grow past that stage, but some of you may. We didn’t have to punch a time clock. Our hours were dictated by a lone clock hanging in the lobby. Around the third week of June someone began to set it five minutes fast every day. The big boss Stan, would still be in his office when the rest of us left twenty-five minutes early on Friday. Everybody was in on it but him.

Monday morning, once we all were present, Stan would come out of the office. Then he would fix the clock to the right time and say,

“Somehow this thing gets half an hour fast on Fridays.”

He knew how it was getting that way and he had to know who did it. There were three sweet, innocent women, two guys with families and degrees and this as their real job, and me. If I was Charlie Manson with the swastika carved into his forehead, I couldn’t have been any more obvious.

One of the perks of the job was that I got to go on all of the field trips because I was the only one able to drive the van. We took the kids to Kennywood, a Pirates game, the zoo and other cool places. Usually there would be three or four of…I guess we were counselors…and maybe eight kids. That kept the odds in our favor.

When we went to Steelers training camp, it was a different story. Sixteen kids, me and one other guy. We were heavily outnumbered. Just to give you an idea of what we were dealing with, I’d bet a good chunk of change that at least three of those kids are either now doing or have done time in prison.

As we walked toward the field where the Steelers were practicing, the kids went off in sixteen different directions. It took a while, but the two of us rounded them up. We tried to tell them to stay with us. Problem was, we weren’t their parents. Who knows if they even listened to their parents? We weren’t much older than them and they sure as hell weren’t going to pay attention to us.

It couldn’t have been five minutes later when once again they went sixteen different ways. After we rounded them up this time, I tried a different tactic. Let me just say I was not always the compassionate man that you know today. I stood in front of the kids and made this announcement.

“All right, you obviously don’t want to listen and stay with us. We’re not going to play this game of chasing you all day. It’s ten o’clock. We will meet back at this spot at three. There are sixteen of you right now. Come three o’clock, as long as I have around thirteen or fourteen, that’s good enough. I’ll be happy with double digits and we will head for home. If you’re not here, you’ll have to find your own way back.”

At three, all of the kids were there. One little boy showed up in his underpants and one sock. Apparently, he had left a trail of clothes to find his way back. Aside from the one sock we couldn’t find, I brought the group back intact.

So, thanks to Marc Andre Fleury for helping to add new life to the place. Also, Stan if you’re reading this…It was Theresa that used to set the clock ahead.

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