As far as people go, these two couldn’t be too much further apart if they tried. Scrubbsy is an old, scummy bloke with a hand-rolled cigarette permanently stuck between his teeth, a pair of tight black jeans from 1986 and a “can-do” attitude. Scrubbsy is a Canberra icon – a beacon of goodwill and entrepreneurialism as he stalks the Dickson traffic lights with his squeegee and bucket, giving car windscreens the once-over that they so often deserve but rarely receive.
Scrubbsy doesn’t do a fantastic job of cleaning windscreens, let’s not get carried away here. He changes the water in his bucket every second Christmas and replaces the squeegee rag even less often, but there’s something about the guy that makes you feel compelled to occasionally let him ‘wash’ your windscreen for the occasional gold coin donation. Even better is when you wave him away and he does it for free anyway. It makes me feel like a celebrity with an old, smelly, unwashed bum for a butler. Sometimes it keeps me awake at night to think that this guy earns way more money than I do.
Eric is a guardian angel. In a corrupt world, Eric stands alone to fight for what is good and right and true. Eric works at the Manuka McDonalds, which I happen to frequent on McHungover Sundays. What sets Eric apart from the other fucked up brats that work in that place is that he actually has a sense of duty when he serves me my ninety thousand cheeseburgers. He actually talks to me and asks what I would like instead of just looking out from under an emo fringe and waiting to be told. He strides over to the chip fryer and packs me a large box of goodness with purpose; he doesn’t stand there nervously picking at the French fries as if they were spiders crawling over the decaying corpse of the lead singer from My Chemical Romance and then wiping his nose on his sleeve before pouring me a Coke.
Eric is a diamond in the rough. The first time he served me, it was his first day. I know this because he told me. He actually apologised for being a bit shit at his job and gave me a reason. To be fair to him, he was better than most of the other kids in there; the Drive-Thru guy was texting on his phone as customers queued up and didn’t even look at the drivers as he passed the brown bag through the window.
This guy needs Eric.
I was worried that this “fuck it, it’s only McDonalds” attitude that the other pricks at Maccas have would rub off on poor Eric. But no. Eric continued to prosper, and the first time I saw him on the Drive-Thru, he practically climbed into my car to make sure I didn’t spill my thickshake and that I had enough napkins. I reckon he hand-picked my McNuggets as well, and made sure no one jizzed in my Big Mac. That’s the kind of guy Eric is.
Thank you Eric, thank you Scrubbsy. Canberra, therefore the world, is a richer place for you being here.