Monday, June 11, 2012
SING A LITTLE BIT OF THESE WORKIN MAN BLUES
I love being a writer. I truly do. Everything about it, even the tedious things (a million emails I'm looking at you.). I also love my day job which is owning and operating the best damn tattoo shop in the world. But I have worked a ton of jobs that weren't so great. I've been a bouncer, a collection agent for Citibank, a youth pastor, a cook, a sunroom builder, a comic book shop jockey, and many, many more. I've been working since 2 weeks before my 15th birthday. I'm not complainin', just sayin'. I have worked all my life. Today you get the story of the first job I ever walked out on. I was 16, driving, and in need of a job so that I could put gas in said car so that I could keep on driving. So like most teens I hit the mall looking for a job. Low and behold I snagged a job at the Manchu Wok in the food court. They needed a dishwasher and I needed a paycheck so the two of us met in the middle and I was hired. It was a terrible job. I was the dishwasher, which is fine. I have gone on to wash many a dish in my life at all kinds of restaurants. It's hard work, but it's simple and because washing dishes kinda sucks it usually pays alright. Well, this job was really weird. First of all, I was the only non-Asian person working there and other than being shown where the sink was by the lady who was in charge NO ONE WOULD TALK TO ME. None. Not a person. Not the lady in charge, not the food runner, not the cook, oh hell no not the cook. Ever meet someone and know immediately that they do not like you? That was the case with me and the cook. He was smiling when he was talking to the food runner, then the lady in charge tells him I will be the new dishwasher (I am assuming. It was not in english.)and it looked like he had an attack of stomach flu. His face twisted into the deepest scowl I have ever seen. In a split second he switched completely. I wasn't concerned. I wasn't there to make friends with the cook. I was there to make money. I figured I would work hard and he would come around. Oh no. I took my station, washing the stack of pans already there. It was a deep three bay sink. One sink with hot soapy water. One sink with a disinfectant rinse, one sink with hot rinse water. The Manchu Wok was a food court chinese resturant where they keep the dishes of the day in hotpans out front. as the pans get low, the cook would make a fresh batch of whatever the item was then I would wash the wok and put it in the stack of clean woks for his use. The food runner would bring over the empty pans and stack them up on the counter beside the sink as he filled the new items. The first refill of something, egg rolls, sesame chicken, whatever, goes out. The cook is done with the wok. He screams something at me that sounds like a pterodactyl attacking a baby pig and hurls the hot wok at me and the sink. CLANG! He doesn't hit me, it hits the sink full of hot soapy water, splashing it and oil residue up on the rubber apron I am wearing. It's not enough to flip out on this old Asian man (seriously, he looked to be about 70), it's just enough to annoy the hell out of me. This happens over and over all night for all three hours I was working. Finally the shift was over. The lady came back and pointed at two bags of trash. "Take those out." I picked them up and took them out the back hallway to the dumpster. I kept on walking to my car. I didn't go back for my check. I went and found another job the next day. Worst job ever. And to commemorate it, here's some Merle Haggard for you.