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I’m Sorry, He Did WHAT With The Leftovers?!

, , , , , , , , | Working | December 26, 2022

When I was a teenager, I worked as a busboy and dishwasher at a family-style restaurant. It was hard, grimy work, but I was good enough at it that I “moved up” to prep cook. It was a much easier job as I could come in when I wanted to shred lettuce, make onion rings, and other similar tasks. As a result, I got to know many of the dishwashers that came through. A good percentage didn’t last because of the nature of the job — low pay and hard work.

But I’ll never forget one particular coworker who was working his first day when I was there doing prep work. He was older than me, gregarious, and friendly. He talked nonstop about his future plans, his girlfriend, etc. It was a bit annoying as I just wanted to get in and get out, but I tried to politely listen as I did my work. He also sang and danced a bit while working, which was definitely annoying but, again, didn’t impede the work I was doing.

But things got weird when he started eating off the plates of leftover food that came back, gleefully saying how great this job was. I don’t think I’ve ever been more disgusted than watching him joyfully finish a half-eaten waffle or snarf down leftover fries.

One of the waiters came back while he was doing this and looked at me as if to ask, “What is this guy doing?” I just shrugged.

Then, the restaurant got hit by the lunch rush and the new guy was quickly overwhelmed. Having been a dishwasher, I knew that one person could get through it; you have to just work fast and be focused. But fast and focused was not this guy. His perky demeanor got more and more somber as the reality of the job hit him and dishes started piling up.

He started hinting that I should help him. And then he began to outright whine that he needed help. I have helped busboys in the past if things get tough, but I had quite a few items to prep and some plans after work, so I said I couldn’t. I knew he wouldn’t get fired and that if things got really bad the manager (who was a good guy) would step in to help particularly given that it was his first day.

He stopped talking, and out of the corner of my eye, I could see him looking daggers at me. I was glad to finish my tasks and get out of there.

I heard later that he quit after the first day, and I never saw him again. I was not surprised.

Cats Can Light Up Your Life… Among Other Things…

, , , , , , | Related | December 10, 2022

Looking back, I should have known from the start that my cat, Ezzie, was going to be unique. For starters, the animal shelter I adopted her from thought it would be funny to put a black cat in Cage #13. I’m not superstitious, but I still think it had to be more than a coincidence.

Second, she was not a normal cat. Her nicknames ranged from Klepto Kitty — because she stole everything from phones to shoes to clothespins and hid them throughout the house — to Butt Cat — if she caught you laying face-down, she’d curl up right on your backside to sleep. I had a feeling she wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I loved her anyway.

One day, we had company over and my mom lit a nice-smelling candle and set it in the middle of the kitchen table. As we were making small talk with our visitors, Ezzie jumped onto the table and stared, transfixed, at the candle.

Mom: “She’s going to touch the candle.”

Visitor: “No, she’s not.”

Mom: “Watch, she’s going to stick her paw in it.”

Me: “Mom, she’s not that dumb—”

And cue Ezzie sticking her paw into the flame of the candle at that moment. She held her paw there just long enough for us to see smoke curling up from her burned fur, and then she pulled it back SLOWLY and stared in fascination at her paw. I could almost see the single observation ping-ponging through her tiny kitty brain — like Olaf from “Frozen” saying, “So, THIS is heat!”

Thankfully, Ezzie seemed unharmed by her little escapade, and she came away with just some singed fur and a new nickname — Smokey. She’s since passed on, but I still fondly remember my dim but lovable cat.

Welcome To The World; It Often Sucks

, , , , , | Working | November 30, 2022

While I was in college, I worked the closing shifts at a nearby sandwich place to earn a little extra scratch.

About an hour into my shift, my coworker, a high school student, answers the phone. No big deal — we take phone orders, so I figure there is nothing out of the ordinary.

Then, my coworker starts getting agitated before hanging up the receiver with a haunted look on his face.

Me: “What’s wrong?”

Coworker: “That was the Social Security Office. They said that for failing to comply with their directives, they are going to be contacting the Federal Authorities for an investigation.”

Yeah, right. And I’m the Queen of Sheba.

The kid was distraught, so I took him aside and told him the facts of life — namely, that no government employee is working past six on a Friday, and that Social Security will NEVER, EVER cold call you.

We spent a little bit talking about a few near-misses of me being scammed, and he felt a lot better about it after that.

Where Are Your Ears, Sir?

, , , , , | Right | September 28, 2022

I work at a restaurant that’s nice but is not full-service. You order at the counter and we bring your food to where you’re sitting, and that’s about the extent of the service. I have just brought a man his food, but I didn’t have enough hands to bring silverware.

Me: “Here’s that food for you, and I’ll run and grab the silverware!”

He throws his hands up, looking at me in annoyance.

Customer: “Where are the fork and knife?!”

The Main Idea Is To Be Courteous To Your Neighbors

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | August 29, 2022

One hot summer, many years ago, my wife, five small children, and I were living in a small rental home that had no air conditioning. To make matters worse, all the bedrooms were on the second floor where it was even hotter. Temperatures were in the high nineties and above, and it didn’t cool down much at night. We opened all the windows and ran fans to make it nights bearable.

The house was on the main street in our small town and right next to the parking lot for a park. The house’s yard was surrounded by a chest-high concrete fence. On weekend nights, the teenagers and twenty-somethings would “drag Main”, driving up and down Main Street honking and calling to each other, and they would often congregate in that parking lot next to our home. And they weren’t particularly quiet as they talked loudly and gunned their engines.

One unbearably hot weekend night, it was 1:00 am and my wife and I were trying to sleep. Suddenly, the noises of the main draggers reached a crescendo pitch. My wife had had enough. Ignoring my advice to let it be, she marched down the stairs, out the front door, and across the lawn to the concrete fence next to the parking lot, wearing nothing but a thin nightgown. She slammed her hands on the fence and yelled at the ten or so young people congregated there. This is basically what she said.

Wife: “Hey! I have had it! You are making too much noise, and if you wake up my baby, I will grab you by the ears, pull you into my house, and make you put that baby to sleep! Now be quiet!

Without waiting for a reply, she marched back into the house, slamming the front door behind her. I peeked out a few minutes later and the parking lot was deserted. We never saw the main draggers again for the rest of the time that we lived there.