Tags: 2000s, holidays, my marriage
A guy I listen to on the radio, a good guy–Glenn Beck, have you heard of him? He’s on a political station. He actually doesn’t talk politics too much, which is nice, I need a break from it. But he does take on some social issues, and he is religious, and right-leaning. He is very, very funny. Anyway, he has a one-man stage show that he does around Christmas, about the true meaning of Christmas. And he was touring, and coming to our town. Humorous and serious, light and at the same time, heart- warming. Feel-good kind of stuff, for most people.
Most people. Aaaarrrggh. I want to get this across with the right tone. I love my wife, and we have been together for almost 18 years now. That’s a long freakin time, nowadays. How do I put this? She is a cast-iron four-door bitch. I swear, nothing pleases her, and if she’s unhappy, which is usually, she loves to spread the bad mood around to everyone, so they all know how she feels. For fuck’s sake.
I hear about the show, and hear lots of good things about it, and decide this is the things I want to do, to help get the whole family in the Christmas spirit. Last year, I felt a little left out of it all (see September archives, “The Week After Christmas”) and had worked this season on making things work out better. I have a different job now, better hours, more family time, as well as participating in the holiday things, I cooked a lot of different dishes on Thanksgiving, which people liked, and over the holiday weekend, we put the Christmas lights up on the outside of the house. I thought this would be a good thing, to add to the overall holiday spirit.
Well, when we get in, the first thing we hear is a song that He had redone, a Christmas carol “O Holy Night.” To show what political correctness would do, and how the ACLU has filed lawsuits to remove any and all mention of Christmas from our society, he parodied the song, taking out all religious reference, or reference to anything special or holy, to show, to make a point, of how ridiculous it is. I had heard the song on his radio show, as had many in the audience, so they knew what to expect.
My wife was ready to walk out of the theatre when she heard the song. She was pissed. She was extremely upset that this song, above all others, had been treated in this sacrilegious manner. She is a singer, or was, and this was one of her favorites. From that point on, it was a losing battle. He was funny, but she wasn’t laughing. Although he wasn’t being political, the occasional aside he would make just made her boil up again. She wasn’t willing to give him a chance at all, and instead felt the best thing she could do for everyone was sit there, angrily, and shake her head. She would occasionally say things like “That’s not funny. That’s stupid.”–Just loud enough to embarrass me. My son tried to reason with her, and she just got louder. I tapped his shoulder to indicate “leave her alone so she shuts up.” She would occasionally spout off about how this was not “her” kind of humor, it was mine and his, it was “juvenile.” That really wasn’t the case. In fact I saw her smile a few times, and then quickly force it away.
Everyone has been enjoying themselves so far, everyone except for my wife. I feel a kindred spirit, a connectedness with many of these people. The show starts back up, and takes a different turn. The first half was all comedy, telling stories about Christmas and his family. The second half started with a salute to our country’s men and women in the military, and she did clap and stand appropriately for that.
But the whole point of the show was the true meaning of Christmas, and so he took a somber, religious bent. He is an excellent orator. He related the story of his sordid past and eventual redemption, and his belief in Jesus. He told of his daughter, who had cerebral palsy, and her triumph over those struggles, and there was not a dry eye in the house.
Oh, yeah–one. Guess who.
Sitting in stony silence, occasionally she would sigh, look at me, and give me a long, cold look followed by the slightest shake of her head before turning away.
It was a great presentation, meant to fill everyone with hope and a warm heart. I wish I could have enjoyed it more. As it ends, we get up to leave, and she says to me, “Don’t make me go to anything like this again. I don’t like it.”
Believe me, I won’t. And that’s what I said to myself over and over again in the car on the long drive home, never again.
Tags: 1990s, customer service, domino's pizza, holidays
In about 1993 or 1994, when I was manager of the Cross Keys Domino’s Pizza (see “Pyscho Driver” for reference) my older son came to work for me as a driver. In fact, my daughter had worked for me as well, on a different occasion at a different store. Now, both of the older ones had worked for both me and my wife, I think. Let me see. Melissa drove at Domino’s, and now works where my wife works, at a printing company. Melissa’s husband works there too. Melissa’s second husband worked at the printing company briefly. Neither of the husbands worked for me.
Mike, our son, worked for me, but I don’t think he worked at the printing company. His ex-wife worked for me at Domino’s as well, however very briefly. I think she worked at the printing company as well for a summer. So the score is me-3, wife-4. Lots of overlap there. In face, my wife brings stuff home to work, assembly-type jobs, like folding and putting pages together, and our son Mitchell has worked on those, as have I. And my wife, although not on the clock, as come into the various stores I’ve worked at and help. She helped clean a few stores in preparation for big inspections, and I remember once when I was busy and she stopped by, I had her help in the store. She didn’t know much, just did whatever I told her. Pick up this, move that, take these, things like that.
Okay, so you already know I’m an asshole, right? Well, this should prove it. Whenever a pan pizza would come out of the oven, I’d pop it out of the pan, and stack the pans. If someone was standing there, I’d act like I’m handing it to them and say, “Here, hold this.” It’s a classic, which I have repeated about 17,546 times. No one takes it, of course, it just came out of a 500 degree oven.
In the heat of the rush, I am doing half a dozen things at once at any given second. Routing drivers, answering questions, making requests, shouting commands,
tending the oven, cutting pizzas, all while overseeing everything in the store. Very fast-paced. On the occasion when my wife was in the store, she was standing there, eager to help. She had just brought some food up from the walkin, and was standing there, awaiting the next task. I grab the pan grippers, and with one smooth motion, pull the box down and pop it open with one hand while snapping my wrist to pop the pizza up out of the pan with the other, and slide it into the box. My wife says, “What next?” I
move to hand her the pan and I say, “Here hold this.”
And she takes it.
The following few seconds of shock, the next few minutes of pain, the next half hour of anger, as well as a good week and a half of deep resentment—-these are all but long-lost memories now.
Ah….good times.So my son was working for me at a store different from that one. He had pizza experience and delivery experience and was really good worker; it was good to have him there.
Christmas Eve, and of course I am working. My son is too. It kind of helped, because we were going to be there late, and if a few family members were absent, they would have to wait for us, or something. Not sure of the logic. Christmas is a family time. And Domino’s–Domino’s cared about family. But not employees. In our local DMA–(Direct Marketing Area, a business term we used alot) there was a local joint, Imo’s, who closed about 2 pm on Christmas Eve. Pizza Hut, about 4. Papa John’s, almost 6 pm. Up and down the main drag, as snow was falling, stores were closing, the streets slowly
emptying of traffic, as lights of businesses shut off one by one and people went home. It was a scene of serenity and calm outside. Blissful. A Christmas choir sang.
But inside my store, all was chaos. EVERYBODY else was closing.
Everybody. That leaves only us. We start to get busier. We all want to leave. Where is the supervisor? At home with family? Where is the director of operations? Who Knows? Where is the franchise owner? Three states away with his family. Did they give a rat’s ass about us? I don’t really think so. We had to stay open until 10pm. Ten PM! What the fuck is that? It still pisses me off to think about it. From 1986 until about 1998, I have had exactly no New Year’s Eves off and one Christmas Eve off, for which I got in trouble for taking off.
We start getting busy as everyone realizes this is there last chance for pizza. Customers call and ask how late we are going to stay open. I quickly realize these are the ones who want to wait until the last minute. We are supposed to stay open till 10, I was going to try to get out of there by 9, so we start telling people we close at 8, so order your damn pizza now. As predicted, the last hour we are open, 8 to 9, is the busiest hour. And we did have some fun. We had some pizza, of course, and some Christmas music playing, and my wife had made a platter of some various appetizers and treats for us. But now it is time to get down to business.
We no longer had the 30 minute guarantee, but we still tried to deliver timely service. But it got to be too much, and we were telling people 45 minutes to an hour, emphasis on the hour. Hopefully the fuckers were tipping good at least.
I was going to stop taking orders at 9, I had already decided. The place was trashed, it was still going to take us a while to get the place cleaned up. My son, Mike, comes back from a run, it’s about 8:50. I send him with a three-stop, already getting old. The last run leaves a little after 9, and then I am counting the money and directing the cleaning, trying to get everyone to help and get them out the door. We were still getting phone calls, and telling them we were closed, and it tapered off. About 9:10, someone calls, it
is one of the runs Mike is on. One of those “Where is my pizza?” calls. Which I never understood. Allow me to rant:
We fucking told you when you fucking called that it was going to be a fucking hour. I wasn’t lying, I didn’t make it up. I really fucking mean it. One fucking hour. Maybe more. Do you hear me? Answer me, you fuck! So when you call and the order is 40 minutes old, why on earth do sound shocked, like this has never happened to you? Are you a fucking Hollywood star? Do you get A-list treatment? Should I drop everything I was doing for the 76 people who came before you to bump your order to the front
because –why? You’re not used to this sort of treatment?
You’ve never been to a busy restaurant? YOU HAVE NEVER WAITED IN LINE IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE? And what do you expect to hear when you call? Honestly? It is on the fucking way. Even if it’s NOT, that’s what we are going to tell you. What do you want
to hear? We didn’t feel like making your pizza, fuck off? Do you really not own a fucking clock, or are you just completely incapable of telling the fucking time? Or, however
unlikely, it is possible that you live in some bizarre space-time anomaly where time passes 33% faster than it does for the rest of us? Has it really been an hour for you when it’s only been 40 minutes for the rest of us? How does that affect your cell phone
minutes, moron? Sit there with your dick in your hand and shut the fuck up.
“Domino’s Pizza, I’m sorry we’re closed.”
“Yeah, I ordered a pizza over an hour ago, and it’s not here yet.”
“I’m sorry. What’s the address?”
“Number one Happy Street.”
“Let me just look that up for you. Okay, sir, the driver is on his way even as we speak. It does look like it has been only 40 minutes, though. And we did tell everyone an hour or more.”
“This is ridiculous. Why is taking so long? I am a valuable customer!”
“Well sir, we are a little busy because of the holiday. But the driver should be there any minute.”
“Well, I am going to cancel my order. Just call him up, or radio or whatever, and tell him I don’t want it. I’ll call somewhere else.”
“Sir, I have no way of getting in touch with him; feel free to tell him when he gets there.
“Have a good night.”
He honestly did not give me the chance to tell him no one else was open. I would have tried. I wanted to help. But he was going to have to discover this on his own. He would also have to tell my son he was cancelling.
My son, who had been driving in the slushy snow all night. My son, who is 6’8″ tall and about 300 pounds.
Luckily, I think, my son arrived at his door shortly after our conversation, so he didn’t
have time to call anyone yet. Even if he did, he didn’t sound like the the type to eat crow with his pizza, so my son brought them back. It was about 9:30 by the time he got back, and we were well on our way to getting the place cleaned up. Generally we close with three people, but we had more because we were busy, and we were able to share the wealth and get it done more quickly. About 9:40, and older man, a black man, came in.
I said,”I am sorry, sir, we’re closed.”
“Oh, are you? Oh, I just needed to get some food for my grandkids before I take them home. We got a ways to drive and nothing is open.”
Suddenly, I had a thought, and I said, hold on a second. I looked at the pizzas Mike had just brought back from the fuck that refused them, to make sure no one had yet dug their greedy little paws in them.
They were good. I said, “Sir, how about a pepperoni and sausage and a ham and sausage?”
He perked up. “Oh, anything, it doesn’t matter.” I brought the pies up to the counter. He started to reach for his wallet and said, “What do I owe you for these?”
I said, “Hey, don’t even worry about it. Take ’em, feed your grandkids. Merry Christmas!”
He smiled real big, and shook my hand, and said, “Thanks, I will. And Merry Christmas to you!”
I originally thought that this little story was about me getting a little revenge on a customer that was a jerk, cause I did, or that it was about me brightening up some old man’s Christmas, cause I did that, too.
But it was also about what the old man had done for me. I deal with several hundred customers in a night, and it only takes one, just one, to really ruin my day. I know the guy screwed himself by not taking the pies, but something like that can put you in a bad mood for the rest of the night. Here it was Christmas Eve, and look what he did to me!
But when the old man came in, and needed a little help, and I was able to do it for him, it made me feel really good inside, and put the wind back in my sails that the other guy and had taken out of me. I truly felt the moment, and the spirit of Christmas.
And knowing that other guy was fucked for pizza that night helped.
Having said that, for the most part, I am clean, and because of that, I expect
But weight aside, if I do find myself living a long time, I wonder what would
More or less.
There was a local story in the news recently, where there was a house fire in East St Louis. A one year old baby girl died. There were seven other people in the house, including 2 other kids, that all got out. Apparantly, I just heard, a babysitter suffered burns trying to save the baby. What other people were in there? What other adults? I swear I can’t fucking believe it. I am a forty year old man, I don’t live near there. But still, I tear up a bit when I hear the story, and since I have been listening to talk radio, I heard the story every fucking half hour. Every time I hear it. Baby dies. Other people in the house. Baby dies. Other people in the house. I’m sure they feel horrible.. . . And I don’t want to judge, because I don’t really know the circumstances. However–
I tell you now, that, God forbid, anything like that happens to my family, the story will say "Man dies trying to save children." End of discussion. I will do it or I will die trying. There is no other way.
My wife says she had dreams, when she was younger, when she had her first two kids. The dream is this: Both children are drowning, or both are in a fire, or both are in some type of life-threatening danger. You only have one shot, so you can save only one.
Tags: 1980s, friends, my marriage
He was living in the town next to the one we grew up in, a bigger town, and I lived in St. Louis, an hour and a half away. When I went to go see him, he was living with some girl. He had already been in the Army and given a general discharge. Not honorable. Not dishonorable, either, because it has become unconstitutional to tell someone the truth, apparently. Pee dirty a few too many times, and you are out.
Some girl–some woman. Some bizarre, controlling nut-freak creature with more emotional baggage than the small mobile home they were renting could hold. To be fair, maybe she knew what HE was like, and that’s why she was the way she was. I mean, he was my friend, but I’m not going to make excuses for him. He very possibly might be a loser.
Now, I did only meet her the one time, but that combined with what I picked up about her later gave me a pretty insightful look (I thought) into her character. She was a possessive, jealous, moody, vindictive, hard-to-please bitch. Since he was getting laid on a semi-regular basis he could overlook these few small foibles. I brought my fiancé with me to see him, ask him, and give the invitation. Since I did not know that he had a girlfriend, the invitation that I had carefully made out in advance obviously neglected to contain the name of Lee’s current true love. Linda, my fiancé, said, well of course you are invited, please do come!
I thought the matter was settled, but like Mexican food, it came back to haunt me with a vengeance at only the most critical time. When the time came to get suited for tuxedos, he came into town without her (she was working) and I sported him the money for the tuxedo. Mine was paid for with a certain size wedding party, after all, so it was no problem to cover him.
I never actually had a bachelor party, which was okay, and Lee was not in the financial position to provide that type of support. Not that it would have taken much, but he was dead broke, not working, and living off the girlfriend. I had hoped he would have shown up the night before the wedding, which was the rehearsal and so forth, but such was not the case.
The day of the wedding, and several thousand things going on, which was when I realized that having the wedding at noon was one of the top fifteen stupidest things I have ever done. Everyone and everything was pressed for time. Early in the morning, I called Lee. No answer. Being ever the optimist, I took it as a good sign. Obviously they were on their way.
At the church, family and friends assembled. Eleven o’clock. No Lee. My dad says, I need to consider alternatives. This, I mused in later years, is why there is such a large wedding party. Besides the bride and groom, there is best man, maid of honor, four groomsmen, four bridesmaids, ring bearer, flower girl, and maybe a few that I forgot.
So I have several groomsmen to choose from: my brother, my cousin, my soon-to-be son, and a young Vietnamese guy that rented a room from us. All that was missing was elephants and a trapeze.
11:15. Just as my dad was about to insist again that I need to pick a stand-in, Lee shows up. Plenty of time? No, we had to go get his tux. The church was by the interstate, and so was the tux place, so it was about a ten minute round trip. No sweat. We bolted.
On the way, Lee told me what had happened. His girlfriend–and honest, I cannot re- member her name–got exceptionally pissy that she was not named specifically on the invitation. She took this as a personal affront to her dignity and her fine name and also,
apparently, as the last straw. Lee didn’t care, I didn’t care, nobody, obviously, cared. She was hell-bent on the destruction of any and all of Lee’s life that did not rise and set on her and her over-priced piece of ass.
Never mind that she was going to ruin a wedding.
This was about her. She wasn’t going.
"Will you take me and drop me off, then?" Under normal circumstances, for a guy, a perfectly logical question. The next step is the last straw, when you are out of options. So to reach that point, you HAVE to explore all those options.
Obviously, the wrong question to ask a woman scorned. He left hurriedly, and walked three miles to the truck stop, and his sad story eventually got him a ride to this exit, over forty miles. Then he walked to the church.
He says, as he finishes his tale and we are walking into the tuxedo rental store, "It’s a real bitch not having a car." That pretty much sums it up.
We get the tux, get him dressed, and get back, and its 11:40. No sweat. I worked in pizza delivery, with a 30 minute time limit over my head constantly. We had made it with time to spare. Meanwhile, it’s lucky there is no history of heat disease in my family, otherwise my dad would have had a coronary. Others thought I had left for good and was not coming back–and were very reluctant to explain this to my fiancé. In fact, she did not know all of this happened until about six months later.
The music starts, Lee and I are getting last minute touch ups on the tuxes by my dad, who shakes his head in disbelieve that I put all my chips on this bet, and actually won. His parting advice before he takes his seat, “You used up all of your luck. Now you have nothing.”
As Lee and I take our places in front, scarcely anyone noticed, because they were all looking behind them, at the main doors, for us. We slipped in through the side door. The reverend stopped sweating.
One of my groomsmen, my cousin Kevin says to me quietly, "Are you going to be late to your funeral, too?"
"I certainly hope so."
Post script to the story: I had scarcely seen Lee after the wedding, either. He stayed at our house for a day, and then we took him home on the way out of town for a brief getaway that my wife refuses to call a honeymoon. I heard that he stole a bunch of tools and things from his dad, whom he had lived with, sold them, and went to southern Missouri to live with his mom. Really don’t know what happened after that. His younger sister got a degree and got married, she was always very bright. His older brother Charles was my friend also, he stayed in the army. He may even be retired now, I should look him up. Their dad is one of the absolute smartest people I know. I have no theories on how that affects child-rearing.
computer wallpaper (this week, a sketch of aliens during your typical
alien abduction: thin, grey, with bulbous heads). This was
"Oh. . . .. .
Uh, they either absorb it by osmosis, or they shove it up their ass."
Following this logic, I need everyone to stop eating pistachios so that the price will come down, and then I can afford them. Thank you very much for your cooperation.
black and white dreams are in color, or at least sepia.
And never mind the psycho analysis, either. Although this dream has
been run rampant with transexual and homosexual themes, it doesn’t
have any deep,secret meaning for me. I’m not hiding anything. And
even if I was, I’m not telling you.
The theme probably came from a couple of different circumstances. For
from a movie which had an actor who had played a transvestite in
another movie, who I had not recognized initially, but when I did, it
was a shock. I couldn’t believe, how different he looked, but all I
could think of was how he looked dressed as a woman.
Combine that with the fact that I had been thinking recently that
you are supporting the hetersexual standard? What does that say about
you? And then I saw, and made the mistake of staying on the channel,
a live show of a country-western bar, with lots of people doing poorly
were dancing. Line dancing. And then I realized they weren’t women,
they were transvestites. I was beginning to think I may have walked into
the wrong bar. I looked around for my wife, and saw her off to the side,
with three trannies, trying to teach them some dance steps. Strange.
But my wife is a good dancer. A cute young tranny near me asked me
why I wasn’t dancing. I may have been dressed like a woman, I’m really
not sure. So I didnt feel out of place for that reason, in fact I fit right in.
But there was no way I was going out on the dance floor, and get in a
row with all of these other men dressed as women, and move and shuffle
in unison to country music.
And now, the Energy Secretary of the United states would like to make a special annoucement:
"Ladies and gentlemen, citizens, I would like to announce that after years of study and experiments, we have discovered a renewable fuel source that is cheap, efficient, clean, plentiful, easy to use and easy to convert to.
"The bad news is, it’s baby seals."