Amy Poehler, the world’s most fabulously awesome human being x1000, wrote a wonderfully thoughtful piece for The New Yorker about her experience as a 17-year old working at an ice cream parlor. The essay, which takes place in 1989—the summer before Poehler’s first year at Boston College—details the tribulations of working in the restaurant business, and explores a familiar topic: adolescent unease about the future.
Recalling her work at the parlor, “Chadwick’s,” Poehler states, “Summer jobs are often romantic; the time frame creates a perfect parenthesis. Chadwick’s was not.” Aside from hard and physical labor, Poehler was subject to smirking teenage boys who would lie about their ages in order to receive the Chadwick’s birthday routine—a routine that required an employee to beat a drum, blow a kazoo, and encourage the rest of the restaurant customers to engage in a birthday sing-along.
This aspect of the job was initially exciting to Poehler, who, while unsure about whether or not she wanted to be an actor, enjoyed performing in front of a crowd. Soon, however, after perhaps one too many bangs of the drum, she began to find the routine tiresome, and saw herself questioning what exactly she was doing, not just at the parlor, but with her life. As she recounts, “They would file in, Adam’s apples bouncing, and announce it was their birthdays. Since Chadwick’s operated on an honor system, I would have to look into their sweaty, lying faces and smile like a flight attendant. Some of them would order their sundaes while asking me to 'hold their nuts.' Was this the life of an actor?”
Despite its simplicity, Poehler’s essay manages to perfectly capture the sentiment that many teens today experience as they approach adulthood. So, if you’re ever wondering what on earth you’re doing with your life, just remember that the amazing Amy Poehler was once just as confused as you.
For more super-wise advice, check out Poehler's "Ask Amy" videos at Smart Girls at the Party.
Image via AceShowbiz.