“You can do this T-Bone! You can do this!”
You can do this T-Bone! Those five words, said over and over for a solid five minutes, is how T-Bone Miller psyches himself up before the start of each performance. Sometimes it’s accompanied by angry fist slams to his chest, other times he shadow boxes, but every now and then he also likes to drop and do one-arm push ups until the sweat from his forehead forms a puddle beneath him on the floor.
“Who’s the greatest? You are T-Bone! That’s right, you! Not the enemy – those pansies. Not the doubters – weak, all of them. Not the bullies who pushed you around when you were a kid. You – you are the greatest.”
Everyone around him knows not to say anything to him while he’s focused on psyching himself up. Not out of fear of ruining his concentration, but because he plays Metallica cd’s too loud for him to hear anything other than what sounds like an attempt by the lead singer to gargle up razor blades.
“Put your game face on, T-Bone! It’s show time!”
No one knows how T-Bone got his name, how he came to choose this particular warm up routine, or why he even feels the need to do it in the first place. The rest of the guys who work the overnight shift with T-Bone have heard of athletes, musicians, and theatre actors doing weird things to “get into the zone”, but not stock boys. Excuse me, General Merchandise Replenishment Clerk is how T-Bone wants people to refer to his profession. But T-Bone believes that no matter what you choose to do in life, you should do it with gusto and to the best of your ability. No one wants to walk into a grocery store at eight in the morning and find the shelves bereft of non-perishables. People organized enough to go grocery shopping at that hour of the day expect the same stellar time management skills in return. That’s why T-Bone pumps himself up like he does at the start of every shift, and that’s why he’s the greatest stock boy – I mean, General Merchandise Replenishment Clerk, any company could ever hope to employ.
“Damn right, I am!” T-Bone shouts.