Toronto Mike

The Legend of Ardo - Tales From The Ex

During the 125th Canadian National Exhibition, I'm sharing stories from my three years working there as a game booth attendant.  Below is one of many.

We called him Ardo and we feared him.  Ardo was the boss and his persona was thug-like, a tough dude you didn't want to mess with.  He did his best never to let you catch him smiling.  With every snarl and command his legend grew.

The typical game booth attendant working one of his several games was either a teenager or in his or her very early 20s.  To keep us working hard and in line, Ardo decided very early on that presenting himself in such an intimidating fashion was his best bet.  He was right.  Your biggest fear was getting an earful from Ardo or having someone escalate an issue or incident to him.  People told tales of what Ardo once did to this guy or that guy.  Fear was his motivational tool of choice.

This worked the first year I worked for Ardo, but at some point during my second year Ardo let his guard down.  I was permitted to see him in a more relaxed state and he even began laughing in my presence.  For Ardo, it was all about trust.  Until he trusted you, he played the tough guy as well as any cast member on The Sopranos.  Once you earned his trust, you could clearly see he was indeed a softy underneath it all.  Ardo's bark, in all it's tenacity, was far worse than his bite.  I haven't been to the Ex in several years, but I'm pretty darn certain he's there right now glaring at his new game booth attendants while his legend permeates the midway.

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