For a brief glimmery moment in high school I worked at a party supply store.  For three months, I got to walk among pinatas and wedding invitations.  My hippie friends benefited from my ‘borrowing’ of the fun party toys.  I wore plastic rings and decorated my car with window decals.   I was sixteen with license to act four.  It was my job.
I also stood behind the counter every weekend and blew up hundreds of balloon bouquets.  The orders were taken throughout the week.  Balloons were stuffed in a paper bag with the name of the customer and time they would arrive scribbled on the outside.  On busy days, the entire store ceiling would be covered with these colorful bouquets.   It was all kind of festive, but it wasn’t just fun & games.  Bouquets are a serious business.
They are maker-or-breaker of a happy celebration.  At high school, if you weren’t toting around your own massive bouquet on your birthday – it seriously sucked for you.  And each weekend, there were serious faces by customers whose orders we’d lost or messed up.  There were a number of these.
What you learn quickly is that making these bouquets depends a lot on two things: 1) finger dexterity and 2) fearlessness.
Finger dexterity.  Latex balloons require that you tie them shut.  There is no short cut here folks.  The helium saves your breath, but its up to you to knot with speed.  Many don’t consider that tying ribbons on to that little knobby end is even worse than the actual balloon tying.  And then some folks like two colors of ribbon on each balloon.  At the end of a day, your fingers are crunched and cramped, but for the rest of your life you’ll have the automatic ability to tie a latex balloon & add ribbon with your eyes closed, while ringing up another customer, and answering the phone.
Fearlessness.  Balloons pop.  They are loud and sometimes surprising.  But if you approach the four-foot helium tank with hesitancy you’re screwed – you’ll never make it through all the orders of the day.  So you push that weird phalic-looking inflating mechanism with gusto and abandon.  Balloon popping be damned.  Then, you get so good that you can get the balloon to its peak shape & know exactly when to cut the helium.  (While you’re eyes are still closed, you’re ringing up someone, and answering the phone.)
The fearlessness carries over into the shoving of balloons in a car.  A hot car is even more fun.  You’ve really just got to commit to getting them in there.  Don’t overthink it.  Once you start futzing around to find a perfect design, one is out the door.   Just own it and know that you aren’t going to see anything useful out of your rearview mirror.
It’s a bit sad.  I rarely use this awesomely useless skill these days.   So I praise the inventor of the affordable mini helium tank that every organization seems to have these days.  It always brings a smile to my face when someone pulls it out because I know the bouquet fun is about to begin.

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