Ronko, who hasn’t smiled voluntarily since 1963, said he has always avoided occupations that require social interaction. “When I saw the want ad for Walmart greeter, I thought, ‘Why would I want a job where I have to be friendly to strangers all day?’ Then I remembered something that happened years ago. I briefly dated a dominatrix named Janice. Our relationship didn’t last long. We attended different churches and had dissimilar tastes in spiked collars. But I fondly recall our candlelit dinners, walks on the beach, and being handcuffed to a radiator while being ordered to bark like a dog. Deep down I still feel like I’ve been a very bad boy and I need to be punished. That’s why I’m working at Walmart.”
Torture is one thing, but an extremely-introverted person cheerfully subjecting himself to babbling strangers eight hours a day is beyond agony. “Welcoming folks with a smile is particularly tough,” he says. “Lately I’ve started wearing a set of grinning wax lips. It scares the hell out of some kids but so do most Walmart shoppers.”
Walter doesn’t know how long he’ll last as a greeter, but whenever he feels he can’t endure another shopper asking for directions to Guns and Ammunition, he closes his eyes, relaxes, and imagines he’s on a tropical island tied naked to a coconut tree while Janice flogs him with an Australian stock whip. Imagination is always an introvert’s best friend.