All of us Second City cast members volunteer one day a week in the crew DVD store. Steve and I work on Mondays. The rentals are completely free, and there are a ton of movies, concerts, TV shows and the like. This is purely for the crew’s entertainment, as each crew cabin is equipped with a DVD player.
Originally, I wanted to work in the store as a way to give back to the hardworking crew members (who work about 80 hours a week while we work about 15), and to get to know some of the crew that I wouldn’t normally spend time with, and make some new friends.
The DVD store does not carry “adult” movies. This is a sore subject with a lot of the crew members, as they are predominately male and predominately very far away from their home and their loved ones.
As a result, our most popular rentals are, “Into the Blue” with Jessica Alba, “National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze: Unrated,” and any gory horror movie like, “Saw,” which, statistically speaking, will probably show boobs at least once or twice.
Fine. This doesn’t bother me. In fact, rewind and fast forward the Shannon Elizabeth scene in “American Pie” all you want if it makes cleaning up after fat, whiny cruise passengers a little bit easier.
But then a portly gentleman from the Food and Beverage Staff returned a couple of movies. One was, not surprisingly, “National Lampoon’s: Pledge This” starring Paris Hilton who is sort of like a walking adult film.
The other DVD was, “Pilates for Beginners.”
This gentleman was defiantly not using this DVD as an introduction to the fitness regime of Pilates as he looked like he has swallowed a small horse. Okay, fine. Benefit of the doubt, probably a one-time deal, saw ladies in spandex on the cover, figured he’d give it a shot. So Steve and I had a laugh, Steve re-shelved it, and we moved on.
Five minutes later, another portly crew member handed me a DVD he wanted to rent – “Pilates for Beginners.”
It is hard to make lasting connections with these crew members when they cannot even look you in the eye because they know that when Denise Austin demonstrates how to do “Scissor Kicks,” they aren’t exactly into the educational aspect of the routine.
But, a few minutes later, I look up and see Manuel. Manuel rents the Star Wars movies over and over. Manuel has the childlike quality of someone who probably pops in the Star Wars movies at night to help him fall asleep, as they are as comforting as a favorite blanket – a little reminder of home.
As I’m filling out his slip for “Return of the Jedi,” instead of writing, “Manuel” I write, “Luke Skywalker.” We both laugh, and now are surely friends.