Friday, April 13, 2007

My awful, awful jobs, Part 1

Last night I was out at a bar posing as a Law School grad so I could get free food and beer---which, incidentally, does not come close to the subterfuge at hand when my British alter-ego, Simon, makes a late-night appearance---where I started talking to some girl, which eventually led me to bring up this really awful job I had. I'm not sure why my friends think it's so funny to walk up to people on the street to sell them hair salon packages, but my last post made me realize how many bad jobs I've had over the years.

I'm going to start this as a list of bad jobs but I'm pretty sure it'll just end up being stories from not-so-bad jobs since they're funny. Maybe I'll make another post for them, maybe not, but I'm sure as hell not going to go back and restructure everything for your convenience. Onward, in chronological order!

1. Gibby's Seafood Restaurant. I worked as a busboy for one summer at this popular, somewhat expensive, neighborhood seafood restaurant (as implied by the name: Gibby's Seafood Restaurant). It was the first "real" job I ever had, having only ever cut lawns and rented Godzilla movies out of my backpack previously. It was the first time I had had coworkers, a boss, a schedule, and an hourly wage.

I'll start with my coworkers. There was Rob, who trained me. Rob was a conniving 18-year old (I was 16) who looked like he was 25 and had no intention of going to college. Busing at Gibby's was all he needed. Rob also smoked a lot. The nicer female waitresses warned me to make sure Rob didn't try to skim too much off my tips while he was training me, which he did. That was my first experience with graft. This was also my first experience with people using smoke breaks to take unscheduled breaks they otherwise wouldn't be allowed to take.

About a month in a new busboy, Dave, showed up. Dave was 40. I learned in the first 5 minutes that Dave was a recovering crack addict. A decade on now, I wouldn't be too surprised about that when I met Dave---what with his glassy eyes, vacant stares, and unflagging utter confusion---but at 16 I was pretty freshfaced when it came to the ravages of drug abuse. He was a nice enough guy, but surprisingly, Dave vanished a couple weeks later. Godspeed Dave, whatever seafood restaurant you ended up at.

There were the dishwashers, who at any restaurant are by far the most jovial but also the ones you don't want to cross. One of them would always comment on my "pearly whites" (teeth). I guess those G.I. Joe PSA's really hammered home that point on brushing your teeth.

My bosses were a curious crew, too. The guy who hired me was a family friend, his name was Roger or something. Roger was one of two managers, the other was Steve, who was a prick. The owner, Mr. Gibby, was a bigger prick. They all had moustaches. Mr. Gibby got really upset once because his friend who came to the restaurant couldn't get buffalo wings since they had run out (in restaurant world, "we ran out" means that the cooks just don't want to cook it anymore), but then he found out that the cooks had made me a heaping plate of wings. Those wings were delicious but maybe not worth it. The real kicker came one day when I found out that Roger had been fired because he called out Mr. Gibby and Steve when they had been found at the restaurant late one night liquoring up some younger ladies and shenanigans had ensued. That was a pleasant atmosphere for me, all around.

Then there were the customers. I remember two customer "situations" vividly to this day. The first was a big fat whale of a woman who complained when I accidentally put water in her glass that was apparently Sprite instead. How could I be so foolish? She moaned about how stupid I was to make that mistake and demanded a free Sprite. I guess all the fat in her brain made her forget that refills were free, so I punched her in her fat face and slit her throat.

The worst nights I had there was when I was on crab deck duty. The crab deck was a big concrete block with a shitload of tables where people ate steamed crabs, and where people put all their trash on the ground and laughed at me on the way out because I had to clean up their fucking mess. One night, after cleaning up the whole deck (which took about an hour) and just before closing, a flock of about 20 Iranians flooded in, mostly children, to eat crabs. The mess these fuckers made in 30 minutes would make Jesus Christ cry. AND, if that wasn't bad enough, while I cleaned up the biological hazard they had left, the local radio station, 98 Rock, decided to play the entirety of Rush's latest album Test for Echo. Oh my god, I think I ground away half my teeth that night. I also vowed mortal vengeance on Geddy Lee, which will be exacted come Hell or high water.

Note: When looking up "busboy" and "crabs" in Google's image search, be very, very careful.


F.J. Delgado said...

You'll be glad to know (or were happy to find out) that Gibby's either moved or went out of business. It has since been replaced by an equally sub-par restaurant with ridiculously overpriced offerings.

Your mention of Rush's Test for Echo came out of nowhere to remind me of how much I hate that band. I completely forgot about that stupid album, but now remember how 98 Rock used to push it like crazy when it came out.

Rush blows. Neil Peart is a sick drummer and all, but everytime I hear "Tom Sawyer" on the radio I want to stick pens in my ears. Probably the fastest I'll jump to change the radio station, right up there with any Linkin Park or Limp Bizkit song.

Brice Lord said...

Yeah, I saw that it mysteriously disappeared like the Colts in '84, I thought it would be there forever.

When I was searching Rush's discography (a painful experience) I was similarly struck by a flood of hate-filled memories from high school.

Rush does blow. You're right on target with that reflex to mash any button on the radio just to turn it off the station playing Rush, that's hilarious. What's weird is I kinda liked Rush up until that very night when 98 Rock played the entire album. They never made it onto my early mix tapes, which included favorites such as "Cat Scratch Fever" and some Dream Theater song. As awful awful awful as Rush is, Test For Echo is abyssmal.

nate said...

One random day, at one of my former restaurant jobs, this dude named Roger showed up, interviewed, and was made the "line cook manager" on the spot. He was 20 years old, and as it turned out, had spent the last four years of his life in Juvy. At the time this all seemed perfectly normal to me, but looking back on it now, how in the hell could someone go to Juvy when they're 16, get out when they're 20 (that didn't add up either - isn't the maximum age for juvy 18?), and somehow have enough line cook experience to be instantly made the manager? I guess nothing about that job really added up; like the time one of our day-time waitress' daughter got a job as a hostess, and I spent the next two months doing everything I could to get with her...while I worked with both her, and her mom. As I said before, at the time, this all seemed completly normal.

Anonymous said...

i'm currently at a miserable job! help me. anyway maybe they build character especially if you have them in your teens. they toughen you up a bit? but i want to be treated with a little respect. i feel like my college degree is meaningless now!