#2. People Routinely Tried to Get in My Car
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Most addresses I tried to deliver to in the middle of the night were impossible to locate without a portable spotlight and/or Predator vision. I had to creep up and down totally blacked out neighborhood streets with my high beams on and hope nobody mistook me for the police, or for an anonymous delivery driver with pockets full of cash and a body that could be easily folded into a suitcase and stuffed inside the hollow base of a streetlight along the edge of a Walmart parking lot.
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"Eh, he'll fit. Just saw his legs off."
And as you cruise slowly down the street, peering through your window at house numbers cloaked in shadowy mystery, someone will try to get in your car.
This happened to someone at Mr. M's at least once a month. You'll be inching slowly along, staring out the driver's side window like you're trying to decode a leprechaun riddle through the wrong end of a telescope, and you will suddenly hear the sound of the passenger door being opened. At this point, you have two choices -- step on the gas pedal as hard as you possibly can or get raped onto the front page of tomorrow's newspaper.
Sometimes people took the deception a step further and actually flagged you down, which happened to one of my co-workers. He spotted a guy waving to him from the curb and thought he was the person who'd ordered the sandwich, which is a thought that makes a lot of sense when you're hopelessly lost in Stygian darkness on a street haunted by a dozen unsolved murders.
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"Ho there, young fellow! I seem to have lost my bearings. Might you be able to point me in the direction of Bleecker Street?"
He pulled over, the guy flung the door open like a circus strongman, and my co-worker took off. When he finally looked back, the guy was gone, swallowed up by impenetrable night. Now that I think about it, that guy was probably a ghost.
#1. I Had to Deliver Sandwiches on Opposite Ends of the City During a Torrential Downpour With Broken Windshield Wipers
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Mr. M's was located directly in the middle of a fairly large East Coast city. Not Mega City One, but a decent 100 square miles. My manager was blushingly optimistic when he drew the boundaries of our delivery sphere and inexplicably decided to give us a range of about half of that. You could be two or three ZIP codes away and still call in an order for a delicious submarine sandwich prepared by surly tattooed felons and I would be obligated to deliver it to you in less than 30 minutes despite the fact that the drive itself would take a solid 25.
So one day, an order came in from an airplane hangar about 15 miles away on the outskirts of the urban sprawl, along one of those wooden-billboard-and-abandoned-farmhouse-bordered stretches of highway that can only be described as "werewolf country." As I roared dangerously onto the interstate, clinging desperately to all six months of my driving experience and a sandwich bag so sopped with diarrhea-inducing grease that it was now completely transparent, two things happened. One, the sky split in half with a biblical rainstorm, as if God had drunkenly crashed a riding lawnmower through the side of his above-ground swimming pool. Two, the windshield wipers in my parents' GMC Suburban decided to stop working.
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It was like driving the Flintstones' family sedan through a typhoon. I had to stick my head out of the window like Ace Ventura and aim a 6,000-pound bullet down the interstate as best I could. It was the closest I have ever come to drowning without actually being submerged in liquid. It was like being waterboarded by a sorcerer.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, a second delivery order had come in while I was ferociously battling the elements with my face. Cell phones existed at this point in American history, but I didn't own one. As far as I knew, they were still restricted to Michael J. Fox in "climbing up the corporate ladder" comedies. So there was no way for me to know that this order existed until I had fought my way back to Mr. M's with my head poking out of the driver's side window, screaming at the rain like George Clooney in The Perfect Storm. When I got back to the restaurant, my manager handed me the second order and told me it was already 40 minutes late and needed to be delivered immediately. To the bookstore across the street.
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It was literally directly across the street -- you could see it through Mr. M's rust-stained front window. Any one of my co-workers could've jogged the goddamned thing over there at any time, or simply lobbed it across traffic like a football, but they all waited for me to get back and do it because I was the delivery driver. So I got back in my wiperless death chariot and drove the shit out of that motherfucking delivery. When I finally arrived at the bookstore, I had been hanging halfway out of my car in a monsoon for almost an hour, so I looked like Christian Slater at the end of Hard Rain. I was shedding buckets of water all over the Dean Koontzes and the Louis L'Amours. The bookstore clerk took one look at me, made an elaborate show of tipping me exactly one penny, and said, "Here's for working so hard."
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"No, really! Pick any one you want. You've earned it!"
That guy is probably dead now. So, I guess I win.