I am very much in love with the Bruce Springsteen, blue collar, working man ideal. Indeed a line I frequently use in job interviews is “If you’re going to do something all day you may as well do it right.” There is something more real about building something all day versus sitting at a screen all day. After all Jesus was a carpenter and not a data entry clerk. But something is lost when you get the job and actually put in practice all the platitudes you used. You quickly go from “I’ll do it” to “that looks like a lot of work. I won’t do it and hope nobody notices.”
Take the food service industry. Dish washing, or “Back of house” positions are entry level. You have to work hard to move up. As far as I’m concerned, any minimum wage job where you could get high on the roof at 2 AM the night before and then come to work and poison a bunch of people shouldn’t be paying minimum wage. I spent a glorious 2 months with Corporate Caterers, hoping the health inspector wouldn’t show up. Like its name, Corporate Caterers’ food was equally as generic and off-putting. I was put to work washing dishes, washing surfaces, and ruining Mountain Dew cakes. Nothing about white trash champagne screams “delicious baked goods.” Basically I had to mix it with Lemon Jello, Duncan Hines, and eggs and bake. 4 times out of 5 I’d remember to spray the pan so the finished cake wouldn’t stick but that 1 time I’d have to do it over. This would be no big deal if I weren’t making 10 cakes a day.
Dishes! Fuck! They never stop. It’s a never ending battle. The chef would always say things like “once you’re caught up come up front and help me wrap 50 sandwiches.” I never did catch up though. Still haven’t. There’s a wrong way to do the dishes. You’re supposed to use a wash cloth and not a scrubber. Scrubbers harbor germs. People could get sick. You’re not supposed to put the dishes in the sanitizer without rinsing the soap first. People could get sick. You need to use bleach on cutting boards. People could get sick. You should have a more positive disposition towards the clientele that always blames the dishwasher. People could get sick.
Then there was Johnson. Johnson was super African. Kenyan. He thought my name was Jolee. I corrected him on it once and then he kept calling me Jolee so I didn’t say anything again. What did it matter really? Him getting my name right wasn’t going make me rinse the chip salt out of the bins any faster. Don’t get me wrong. Johnson was easily my best friend at that place and in the top 10 people I’ve ever known. He just was in the wrong industry. He constantly bemoaned the management throwing away any food.
“People are starving in Africa and here this food is going to waste,” he'd say.
I suppose I should wrap this up by saying that holding in farts is detrimental to your health. I was always finding creative places to fart. Dragging garbage to the dumpster, in the pantry, sometimes at my sinks when I thought no one else was there. Inevitably somebody always shows up to smell though. The odor of methane and a million what-ifs.