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You Ever Wonder What It's Like To Do Community Service For Tailgating Nickelback? Well I'm Here To Tell You

I’m gonna take this story back to its starting point. Set the table, if you will.

It’s July 1st, 2017 and everyone’s FAVORITE rock band is on Long Island. Yup, that’s right folks…Nickelback is in town. My cronies and I are filled with excitement! Chad Kroeger was gonna be tearing the metaphorical roof off of Jones Beach Theatre by the night’s end.

The concert wasn’t scheduled to begin till 8pm so what better way is there to prepare for Nickelback than having a couple cold ones in the parking lot? We came prepared. Red solo cups, garbage bags, a table, a designated driver…the whole shebang. The only bump in the road was that I was, in fact, not 21 at the time and you may not know this but you need to be 21 years old to drink alcohol in the United States of America. So within an hour Jones Beach police stopped by our tailgate, took our ID’s, and before I knew it I had a ticket in my hand with a court date set for August 14th; 3 days after my 21st birthday!

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It would’ve been innovative had I told the judge, “Listen..I GUARANTEE this will never happen again. I’ll do life at Rikers if I do”. Instead I went in, was told to plead not guilty, and was then told I had to return on September 16th with a lawyer. For drinking before a Nickelback concert. The most interesting part of the first day in court was learning I could possibly spend 15 days in the clink for this. Imagine that? Chad Kroeger himself better have visited my ass in jail if that had happened.

The price for the lawyer had already put me in the hole for mid 3 figs. My wallet was hurting, but not before the verdict came down which required me to pay another $150 because yes, you have to pay to do 7 hours community service. Thankfully that was all the punishment was. Work for negative $21 an hour for a day to be freed of my crime. Could’ve been worse. Now all there was to fear was the actual work. It seemed like one of those things you’re just convinced is never actually gonna happen.

Well Wednesday the day had finally come. It was time to pay the piper for my wrongdoing.

The only instructions I was given over the phone was to wear dirty clothes and meet my guide Wilson at 8am. I woke up at 7, threw on my best Tennessee Titans shirt, and was out the door by 7:40 en route to the beautiful 5 Towns Community Center. The center’s website had activities like “arthritis foundation exercises” and bingo on the schedule so I figured I was going head first into an old folks home which would’ve been prime stuff. Maybe eat some soft foods and talk about shit like the Korean War & Joe DiMaggio. Boy was I wrong! We’re talking worse, way worse. It was filled with toddlers. Oh no! As soon as I saw things like Moana, Wall-e, and Derek Jeter on the wall I knew I was in for a long day on the job.

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I met Wilson and I’ll tell you this, there was NOT an instant bond. You can tell right off the bat that he meant business. I was then given a walk-thru to all 11 bathrooms in the joint and how to clean the sinks, toilets, and urinals. (Spray everything down first and finish with a thorough wipe down afterwards- pretty straightforward.) So once he deemed me able (big mistake!), Wilson left me to fend for myself and I began my solitary journey around Five Towns Community Center’s lavatories.

Gloves on, broom & spray in hand, it was time to go to work. But not before the dude working the reception area came in the bathroom to wash his hands and said to me, “you have to wash your hands 50 times a day around here”. Great and definitely not worrying advice, thanks pal! That’s a guy that briefs people on plane crash statistics before boarding flights.

After that fear was instilled into me I returned to my unsanitary grind and hit 9 bathrooms by the time 10:15 rolled around, which led to a break. Turns out I’m actually kinda good at cleaning toilets, and by toilet 4 I was in a nice little groove. Spray, wipe, repeat.

Nate chirped me about being on Twitter, little did he know I was a phenom at it and enjoying a little R&R.

After a quick rest it was time to finish what I started- those last 2 bathrooms. They went quick so I alerted Wilson of my completion directly after my last spray and wipe. He was no about to throw any parades, it was simply time to move onto phase 2- Mopping! And I’ll tell you this, it was actually kind of enjoyable. WAAAAY less work than having to sweep, spray, and rinse everything in a bathroom. All you had to do when mopping was get that floor wet and put down a caution sign. It’s a walk in the park.

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Eventually it was around 11:30 and that meant one thing- lunch time! This might shock you, but I’m a big fan of lunch. Sandwiches!

My friend Wilson didn’t invite me to break bread with him so, once again, I was on a solo endeavor. A particular question burning at me was whether to eat in my car or at my place of choice? What is one to do? Both awkward. Both weird. Both lonely and you don’t want to be seen doing either. I figured I would let fate decide when the time came…and fate decided I would eat inside, faced directly at a wall, and alone like I was fuckin’ Steven Glansberg.

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It was a humbling experience that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

After I finished it was back to work, mopping the Teen Center & Kiddie Room. As it turned out, The Teen Center was the place to be. I bet some would even venture to say it’s the hot spot of the community center. It was jam-packed with 2 tv’s AND an Xbox 360. Talk about being with the times. I’ll be straightforward though…I was too scared to play the Xbox in fear of Wilson catching me red-handed. It was just nice to have in the room as motivation. Whatever, back to mopping.

Finally I moved my sweet little ass to the Kiddie Room. Closing time. One thorough mop-thru and I was a free man. It went by in the blink of an eye. Again, mopping, not the worst thing in the world, and somewhat therapeutic.

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And just like that, my work there was done. I said my farewells to Wilson, thanked him for the life lesson, and grabbed my letter proving to the court I did my 7 hours of Community Service.

So what did I learn from my sentencing? A bunch of stuff. Manual labor is not easy, eating alone isn’t too fun, don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time, and most importantly- don’t mop the front of a room first because then you’ll walk over it which leads to stains. Life lessons on life lessons on life lessons.

So now that all is said and done…was Nickelback worth 7 hours of blood, sweat, and tears? The answer is yes. Yes it was. Can’t wait for the 2018 tour.