Thursday, December 12, 2013

Blurred Lines ©2013 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     I guess mostly 'cause manager Garry S likes to make the schedule on a Xerox® machine and through no fault of my own, I lucked into the night off on Thanksgiving Eve. I like to go visit friends and relatives in my hometown on the fourth Thursday in November and some years I do. I'd always be off on Black Friday at The American El Chico, where I worked for nine years until I got fired back on September 20th and was scheduled lunch on the day after Thanksgiving at the new AM gig. So I stayed here and enjoyed a rare off-all-day Thursday. So that Wednesday night I started composing this here episode of These American Servers™, even though it took over two weeks before you got to see it. Hey, I do what I can.

     I was working at a fairly upscale, independent restaurant, the best job I've had yet, come to think of it. Anyway, one night an acquaintance of mine, Applehell™ waitress Shannon, along with her husband and well-behaved little girl, came in for dinner. I don't remember if they asked for me or not but they wound up in my station. Right about the time they were fixing to leave, Shannon said something that's stuck with me: "You put a lot more into your job than I put into mine." Not that I was good at it necessarily or that she wasn't, just that I put a lot in. And I've got to admit, I try pretty hard to see that people who sit in my station have a good experience. Plus when things don't go well at work I tend to really suffer and since I hate to suffer, I strive to see that I don't have to do much suffering.
      I was reminded of Shannon's long-ago statement today. I'm pretty new at my current AM job but was assigned a trainee. Dude's name is Seamus and he's real eager to get out of training and onto the floor on his own. Today's the day he's supposed to wait on people while I silently stand nearby and observe and supervise. He had a good suggestion; that we'd say he was the trainer and I the newby watching to see how it's done. If any questions were asked that he couldn't handle, we'd act like my answering them was part of my learning experience, a contingency which never transpired.
     Seamus did a very good job. I thought his greet was just a little too enthusiastic and told him so but that's a minor point—it wasn't bad or anything—and I mostly was really impressed. I think Seamus is a great waiter and he's kind of inspired me to try and step up my game a little. He did something very accommodating for one of our guests—nothing too major, I guess, otherwise I'd remember what it was—and I conveyed my approval. "I know how to make money," Seamus replied.

     Well, it's a fortnight later and Seamus has been on his own in full stations for over a week now. There haven't been any problems as far as I know and I believe he's doing a good job. But from that one training day follow, I thought he was going to be, like, amazingly super-awesome and he hasn't been, he's merely been somewhat above average. For at least that one day he was a super-awesome trainee though.

     I'll be the first to admit it isn't the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2013. It's not the Denver Broncos or the Denver Broncos schedule. It's not even the Lakers. I can't take all of y'all to Krispy Kreme in Uruguay (and big ups to Uruguay for their new cannabis policies BTW!) or anything like that and even if I could I'm not sure if I could get Gisele Bundchen, Michelle Jenneke, Demi Lovato or Idina Menzel to accompany us like it was an American Hustle. But it might interest some of ya to know that even though I'm not currently fucking with Instagram Direct I've still got Twitter and it's @JoeSixtop. Hit me up if you want to follow or compliment me on my SEO or whatever. And I'm wishing a MMMerry Christmas to EVERYBODY!
                                  Cheers, __________-Joe

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Letter from Texas ©2013 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

Dear Cousin Earl:
     I'm sorry you haven't heard much from me since I left Mississippi and moved here to Dallas, Texas. I dialed your phone last week but I guess you weren't home or maybe you're still trying to duck calls from the draft board. Too bad there isn't a way to know who's calling before you answer. Heck, I think it'd be nifty to have a phone you can carry around like a transistor radio you can talk on. Of course, that'll never happen but it's fun to think about.
     I'm real lucky to have landed myself a pretty good job. I wait tables at The Dreamlifter Restaurant in the Statler Hilton Hotel. It's kind of like what our poor, homely old Aunt Melinda—you remember her, don't you?—does at the Cotton Patch Café up in Holly Springs, except my place is a lot swankier. Anyway, I told them I'd been a waiter at The Secession House over in Jackson for two years and they bought it. I figured nobody'd want to spend all that money calling long distance just to find out about me and I guess I was right.
     It's kind of a tough job but I like it  OK and the tip money's pretty great. I just wait on customers and then when they pay, they put an extra ten per cent on top of it that I get to keep. Shucks, it's not unusual for folks to leave me 15%, sometimes even 20! Plus the hotel pays us .13¢ an hour on top of the tips. I'm darn near rich!
     Our customers can come in here and order up some alcohol (except on Sundays, of course) and not just beer but wine and even whiskey and it's all legal and legit. That's just one of the lots of ways here's different from back home. We've got both kinds of wine here too, Burgundy and Chablis. I'm trying to learn more about them, like how to look really swell opening the bottles at the tables (!) and why the only good wine is from France.
     When I take people's orders, I have to write 'em down on a piece of carbon paper. I have to use this complicated secret code they made us learn called abbreviations. Then I ring up the orders on this expensive ciphering machine they got back by the kitchen. Then I tear off one of the pieces of carbon paper and put it on this thing called the wheel and the cooks usually start making it. My work-friend Otis said that someday soon just ringing up an order on the ciphering machine will automatically make it appear to the cooks in the kitchen and save a lot of wear and tear on my Florsheim shoes (I think I  got mine at Kresge's) but I'm calling cow-poop on that. I don't think they'll be able to do some Twilight Zone crap like that even 50 years from now.
     The other night after work our chef, Pierre, invited some of us over to his swanky apartment. He's a real nice fellow although he's kind of persnickety about how a lot of things at work get done. He's about 50 and is kind enough to let our new Cuban busboy, Jiminez, be his roommate, even though Jiminez can't be more than 20. They need to get a bigger apartment, too. I noticed they only have one bedroom and one bed. I guess they take turns sleeping on the couch.
     Pierre just got back from a vacation in Europe. He has a nice hi-fi set-up and played us a record album he brought back. It's an English combo called The Beatles. And I gotta tell ya, they're pretty good. If they were American, they might even have a chance to get popular here, too. Pierre brought out these funny, hand-rolled cigarettes and told us to "be cool," whatever that means. They smelled like a cross between shit and a lespedeza stack caught on fire but we passed 'em around and I got to feeling pretty good from them. I need to check and see if Camel or Philip Morris make anything like them that I can maybe buy at Walgreens.
     I've been hoping to meet some girls here in Texas. Our restaurant is pretty fancy so they won't let any women wait tables here and all the housekeeping ladies are 45-year-old Mexicans. There is one girl I really like here. She fixes salads in our kitchen. Her name's Betty. She's real pretty and super nice and I like her a lot and I'm always wanting to kiss her. The only problem is that Betty's a negro! Don't tell my Daddy about this, OK?
     President Kennedy is going to be here in Dallas tomorrow. He's gonna ride through town in his cherry presidential Lincoln limousine and then make a speech. I'm off work and I think I'll go see him. I like President Kennedy a lot. But I might not go. I'm from the same small town in Mississippi you are and I'm still not used to the big city crowds something like this will bring. It's no big deal either way. The president is a healthy young man and I'm sure I'll have plenty of other opportunities to see him in person.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Comfortably Dumb ©2012, 2013 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

       Well, it's about that time again and damn, I got bupkus. So I checked the archives here at These American Servers™ and came up with this here episode I kind of like from last year that's gonna be reposted. If you haven't read it (and you probably haven't), it's new to you, right? Enjoy!

     I was already at work the other night when my work-friend Melanie showed up for her shift. She headed my way. "Hiya!" I said.
     She looked up at me with her big pretty brown eyes and grinned. "I am so stoned!" she whispered.
     I used to come to work with a bad hangover on at least a third of my shifts. I kind of regret how much alcohol I used to consume but oh well. And to this day if there's a can of whipped cream in the kitchen, empty of product but still charged with nitrous oxide, lemme at it! If you woof that shit down, it'll actually get you pretty fucked up but only for less than five minutes. If marijuana made me feel like N²O from food-service brand dessert topping does, I'd be hittin' the bong right now instead of composing the drivel you're currently perusing  (and thanks, btw).
     So other than those two exceptions—one really, since I've dialed back the boozing considerably—I don't consume anything intoxicating before or during my waitshifts. High (ha ha) on the list of fun substances for me to not be on while I'm slinging chow is cannabis and I've never worked a restaurant shift under its influence. Except for the one time I did.
     My friend Reilly and I were waiters at the same independent restaurant. One Tuesday afternoon he showed up at my door a couple of hours before our mutual clock-in time of 5:00. "Can I ride in with you today?" he asked. That was no problem but we still had a good chunk of time to kill before we had to leave. Reilly reached into his ever-present duffel and pulled out a big bag of dank, sticky buds. "Dude!" he exclaimed, "This is like, the best weed I've ever had in my life!" which was an impressive endorsement, coming from an inveterate stoner like Reilly.
     I declined Reilly's offer to partake—remember,I had a shift that night—but my girlfriend didn't. I sat there while they put a nice dent in Reilly's stash. A couple of neighbors showed up, bringing their own badass ganja. I watched as joints and bong hits were enjoyed like it was a 1978 prom night in La Jolla. American Beauty, or maybe it was something by Pink Floyd, played in the background as sweet, funky smoke permeated the tiny apartment.
     When it was time to go, Reilly asked if he could spark up another doobie in my car on the way. America's evil laws being what they are, that's something I never let anyone do ever. But I was in a strange yet pleasant mood, so I told him it was OK, "just this once." When we arrived and I strolled across the parking lot, I realized something: I was pretty fucking high! I'd actually gotten a contact high, which I'd never previously thought was possible. Uh-oh! I knew how to deal if I'd been hung over but this was something new (at work, not in my personal life) that I wasn't ready for at all. I was very apprehensive as I approached the 'staurant but I'm a big grown-up. I'd deal with it and try my best.
     I shouldn't have worried. Even though we were pretty busy and  went on a wait there for awhile, I had one of my three or four best waitshifts ever! All my clients were real nice. I was mellow and chill, yet remarkably efficient. I did almost no fucking up and what little I did I recovered from nicely. It was like playing a video game called Waiting Tables® and kicking its ass! Everyone involved was happy and I made great tips.
     I volunteered to close that night and my contact high was pretty much gone by the time I finally left work. And I've never been high at work since. How come? I'm not really sure; it's just something I don't do and that's that, I guess. But I've got a couple of hours to kill before my shift tonight. If any of y'all are holding and want a ride in, give me a call!

Friday, November 1, 2013

I Did a Dumb Thing ©2013 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

    One of my many flaws as a restaurant employee is that I'm kind of a slow closer a lot of times. I'm a little more thorough than a lot of my co-workers and my station and sidework—maybe not so my silverware—look a little better than yours and that's part of it. But I seem to have trouble getting focused and organized to get my closing stuff done in a timely manner. Saturday night I closed and it probably took me 30 to 40 minutes longer to get everything done than it would have taken someone else. I apologized to my manager and told him I hated that he was mad at me. He said he wasn't mad but I'm pretty sure he was at least a little irritated.

     Up until about 40 days ago I worked at a restaurant that I'd been at for years and years. On September 20th, I got fired. I really miss my job doing AM Curveside™ ("Hogging the Parking," September, 2012). It was a sweet gig for me, the likes of which I'll never have again. Oh well. I've got new jobs and I'll be OK. One real bad deal about the former long-time gig was that's where I met this chick I like who I'm trying to forget about now. Anyway, this morning at the new place I was asked to come up with a PIN number for POS register purposes. I blurted out the first number with the requisite amount of digits I could think of: Her birthday. Now I wish I'd thought of something else.

     Our Magical Mushrooms™ are marinated in beef stock, red wine and Italian dressing. They're really good. Especially when you can get them for just five bucks during Monday happy hour. Tonight a somewhat elderly white woman got seated at one of my tables. "Hi. Thanks for joining us! Is it just gonna be you and me tonight?" said I.
      "I'd like a glass of house chardonnay," she replied. Whatever. She was ready to order food then too. "I want an order of Magical Mushrooms please," said Ms. Lady. I rang them in. Magical Mushrooms usually take less than ten minutes to emerge from the kitchen but tonight they took somewhat longer. I strolled past her table, smiled and promised her 'shrooms quickly a couple of times. She smiled back, didn't seem stressed about it. I went and got manager Garry S and told him my simple order was taking way overlong.
     It turns out the kitchen lost my ticket. Garry got a rush put on my lady's chow and ran it out to her. I did a callback about a minute later. "How are they?" I asked. "Worth the wait, I hope."
     "They're fine. Thank you," she then asked me for a to-go box and her check, the latter of which I produced immediately. I brought her Styrofoam to her, took her twenty-spot and returned with her change. When next I glanced in that direction, she was gone. Two dollars was left on the table. A little later, Garry approached me. "Did you already have that lady's check printed as soon as you rang it in?" he asked.
     "Yeah," I said.
     "Well, she's mad at me, said Garry. "I told her I'd comp her mushrooms (not her glass of wine) when I ran them. She caught me in the lobby on her way out and told me she didn't like that she hadn't been comped and that she wouldn't be back and left before I could do anything about it. Didn't you realize I'd comp that?"
     I've known Garry for years—this is the second chain restaurant company he's been my manager at—and I know he's pretty quick to comp. If it'd been my call, I'd probably have comped her too but maybe not. Ms. Lady had kind of an abrupt demeanor but was not an unpleasant bitch or anything and seemed not terribly impatient or upset when her 'shrooms took too long. I'm pretty sure she was P.O.'d merely because she was promised a comp she ultimately didn't receive and not so much about the money itself. Garry should have told me about the comp and I should have thought to investigate if there was one. We were both at fault, I'm not sure who the worst. "Sorry dude. I'll try and be more mindful about shit like that," I told Garry.
     "Hey, things happen. If she'd of gave me a minute I could o' fixed the situation. Fuck it," said Garry, who didn't mention my somewhat ill-gotten five bucks.
     Day before yesterday, I made a bold prophecy on here. It didn't come true. I'm a big enough man to not try and play it off like I never said it. So here it is, reprinted:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

     A bold prophecy: the mighty Saint Louis Cardinals will win a close, super-exciting Game Six on Wednesday night. Then they'll kick the living shit out of the Blosux on Halloween. Remember, you read it here first on These American Servers™!


Monday, October 21, 2013

A Struggling Single Mom ©2013 by Joe Sixtop all right reserved

     Big-eyed co-worker Carrie was looking through the trash cans beneath the POS register as I rung something up. "I lost one of my credit card receipts," said Carrie, "has anybody seen it?" Neither I nor the other nearby employee had. Carrie'd picked up the voucher from her vacated table, looked at it and then misplaced it.
     "Damn, that sucks. Do you know how much was on it?" I asked.
     "Yeah, the total was $34.something and they brought it up to $40. What do you think I should do?" said Carrie, a struggling single mom to whom every five dollars means a lot.
     Like at most restaurants, excepting Chili's®, our managers take our cashouts, glance at how much we owe, count our money and never look at our credit card slips. If you had, like, $1200 in sales or something and no credit card payments, I guess it's possible they might delve into that anomaly, but that's about it. Sometimes a client will pay with plastic and when you return to the empty table, you'll find they've taken the voucher and you're shit out of luck. But if I've seen the CC receipt before it got misplaced and know for sure what I've been left? You know what I'm gonna do and I'm sure you would too. I counseled Carrie thusly.
     "I don't know," quibbled Carrie, "I  don't want to get in trouble or anything."
     "Look. You do what you want. But you asked and I've been doing this shit for 30 fucking years," I exaggerated (but not by all that much!). "I've been through that credit card ordeal hundreds of times (another possible slight exaggeration), sometimes the amount's way more than five bucks. And you know how many times it's come back to bite me on my ass? Exactly zero.
     "I'm not suggesting you do anything dishonest—although it may be a rules violation—you're entitled to that money. Besides, what kind of trouble might you get into? You've been working here for three damn years and they've never had any reason to question your integrity. Worst-case scenario? You have to give back the fiver. And I promise that ain't gonna happen.
     "Yeah," replied the harried Carrie, "I guess you're right but I don't know..." Then we each went about our respective business
     I saw lunch-closing Carrie a little bit later as she was doing her cashout. "Wha'd ya wind up doing about that credit card?" I asked.
     "Oh," said Carrie, "I entered the tip as "zero." I don't want to get in trouble."

     Since I got fired from a restaurant I worked at for over nine years—I'm calling it the American El Chico—I'm really blessed to have been welcomed back on nights at a restaurant I worked dinners at during a lot of 2012. And I start another restaurant tomorrow on days. So I guess it looks like I'll be OK for awhile. At least financially. Since I seem to be totally incapable of getting any good women to even momentarily consider getting interested in me, I might as well work a lot and make some money I guess. Hell, I can be lonesome slinging chow in station seven just as well as I can sitting on the couch at home. Besides, what else do I got to do?

     Something that always bothers me at every restaurant everywhere ever is an even bigger problem at my current PM gig. Employees that bus and reset tables usually do an adequate job on the table tops. But they tend to suck at everything else relating to those tables. Like, you might have a buser take care of a table of yours that just emptied. You'll walk by there and at first glance it'll look OK. But look at the seats. There'll be crumbs and detritus, maybe some mayonnaise smeared on there. And crap under the tables, like used napkins or some dropped cutlery will be there that shouldn't be. I really hate that shit. Managers, do you think you could mention this in tomorrow's line-up? That'd be great.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Almost Three Weeks Later ©2013 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     So I finally managed to get fired from the American El Chico, my workplace of nine years. They'll tell you I quit but I got a more accurate story. My last shift there was a lunch on Friday, September 20, 2013. My penultimate one was dinner on the preceding evening, Thursday the 19th. As I was doing my closing sidework that night, I cut the shit out of my index finger on my go-to hand on one of the tea urns. I bled like a motherfucker. A big flap of skin was hanging off my bloody finger. I bit it off. It was kind of painful but luckily, I'm a badass.
     GM Brenda B offered to send me to the emergency room but I declined. I still want to be drug screened and asked for that but Brenda declined. The next day, I got fired (by the condescending dickhead KM, not Brenda). My finger's still a little fucked up so now (almost three weeks later)  I wish I would of gotten some medical attention for it but I guess it's too late now. O well.
     Regular enjoyers of These American Servers™ might recall that I've been a hyperactive, psychotic mess all summer long. I still don't know what was (and, to a lesser degree, still is) wrong with me but I've developed some coping mechanisms, kind of like if I were still living at home with Mom and Dad. Since I got real healthy a few months ago, I seem to be perpetually in what the cool kids in the psychiatric community used to call a manic phase. On some weird level I kind of love it but it's mostly just caused me some problems and I need to chill. So I've been trying to meditate. It helps some. Certain vitamins seem to hype me up so I have to be careful with them. And PLEASE don't nobody give me any B-12!
     Music really gets me going big-time and I like that shit at top volume. In an effort to calm down, I gave up the rock and rap for a couple of days. I substituted a CD I have from a band called The Innocence Mission. I'm a little charmed by their music and the vocals of bandleader Karen but they absolutely DO NOT rock. I played them at top volume. So mellow are the pride of Lancaster, PA that  they didn't make me play air drums or bounce off any major walls. Then I started thinking that giving up good music was too great a sacrifice. I've discovered that I can still listen to even fast, heavy rock without a lot of bad consequences but only if it's at low volume, which I guess is better than nothing.
     O yeah. I don't want anybody worried about me. I got fired on Friday and took off Saturday and Sunday. On Monday I went job-hunting. On Wednesday, I was out of training and on the floor in a full station at another, slightly better, chain restaurant. God bless them and I'm not joking. Plus football's ("Joe Beer Man!" January, 2011) back in full swing now so that helps. I paid October's rent when it was time AND the lights are still on. You never know what the future holds but sink or swim time arrived in Joeville and as of now I've yet to sink.
    The craziest, fucked up, most unforgettable part of my psycho-Summer 2013 was that back in the early part of it, I met someone I really, really like. That sounds like a good thing, doesn't it? Well, trust me; it hasn't been.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Always Have a Plan ©2013 by SkippyMom all rights reserved

     Do you know my friend Skippy? She's awesome! I don't want to embarrass her with too many kind words so here's just a few: Skippy's a terrific writer (as you're about to find out if you didn't know already) and she does a great job facing the blessings and challenges life has given her. AND if it hadn't been for her kind words and encouragement early on, I might've gotten discouraged and given up on These American Servers™ but please don't hold that against her. Enjoy!

Here I am!  SkippyMom. . .on Joe’s blog. . .and well?

I lost a bet and I owe Joe a guest post about my days in the restaurant biz.

I gladly lost this bet because I am as die hard a fan of baseball as
our pal Joe - his team just happens to be a helluva’ lot better than
mine.  My [Washington] Nationals lost a 3 game series 0-3 to Joe’s
beloved [St. Louis] Cardinals earlier this week.  Honestly?  They
whooped our behinds.

So be it.  ::sniff, sniff:: I honor my wagers and I loved my days in
the biz, so here goes. . .

Always Have a Plan

During the early years of my marriage I worked at a restaurant that
was close to my parents’ home.  It was a bit of a drive from our home,
but I was familiar with the neighborhood, clientele and the people
working there.   It worked out well and my coworkers and I had a great

With one teensy, tiny exception.

Eight months after the opening a new manager was hired and no one
inside the restaurant [with the exception of the owners] knew the guy.

The staff was in the twenty to thirty year old range, but the new manager?

Some us had parents younger than this guy.

It wasn’t just that he was much older than us, he was. . .how do I say this?

He was all of 5‘6, with a slicked back pompadour, Sansabelt polyester
pants, shiny loafers and thick, dark lensed eye glasses.  He didn’t
exactly seem to understand that the millenium was upon us in a few
years. Mmmmkay?

I am pretty sure this guy thought he had rocked the Disco Era when the
rest of us were eating snack in third grade.  Even then I think he may
have been 10 years too old for Disco.

He was sketch before the word was invented.

Still, he was a good manager. The books balanced every night.  He was
equitable with the schedule. He didn’t yell or demean anyone - FOH,
BOH, customers? No one.  He played fair.

His greatest downfall?  He loved to drink and he loved to let the
staff drink too.

I think he allowed all of us to drink so he could hide his
consumption.  Now, don’t get me wrong. None of us drank on the job but
him. I swear by this. He might imbibe, but if someone on staff did it
on the clock he fired them. The owners looked the other way on him
because, as I said, he was good. He made them money. But he always had
a silver milkshake mixer container filled with ice and Scotch at the
ready.  Tho’ we never saw him drunk or less than professional.

Until THE night.

In the restaurant biz it is common to allow the staff to have one
shift drink after the restaurant is closed, our banks are turned in
and everything is ready for the next day.

We relax, talk about the night and count our tips.

This night Michael, the manager, took it to “sharing a drink with the
help” to a whole other level when he realized that the only ones
staying for the shift drink were the bartender [the most competent and
fabulous bartender I have ever met, Miss Tammie] and me.

He told Tammie to go to the other side of the bar and allow him to
serve us.  She looked at me a bit askance, but did as he asked and sat
down next to me.  I should point out that I was fresh out of college,
with a husband and two new babies - read: **LightWeight**, but when
Tony asked what we were drinking I stupidly shouted out “Wild Turkey!”

Tammie smacked me hard and laughingly whispered in my ear “Are you
nuts?  That will wreck you Skip!”

What did I know?  I saw that the “high octane” Wild Turkey was “Top
Shelf” and I knew it meant it was the best, plus? I could mix it with
my favorite Coca Cola, so I was going for it!

Michael had other ideas, as it became evident as the evening passed.  The
Coca Cola mixer became less and pure shots became more.   We were
laughing, carrying on - but something was weird with Michael. He kept
leaning closer and closer towards me over the bar. I kept leaning
farther and farther back - until Tammie had to grab me by the back of
my tie and jerk me upright to keep me from falling off my stool.

She saw what was going on and didn’t like it. Still holding onto my
tie she said to Michael “I think Skip needs to pee, “ and then she
dragged me to the bathroom. [Yes, by my tie.]

Now Tammie was a great woman. I loved her to pieces and she took care
of all of the younger staff. She had been around the block in a good
way. She got me into the bathroom, backed me up against the wall and
in all her tiny girl glory poked the crap out of me while hissing
“Michael is getting you wasted just to get into your pants. Now STOP IT!”

I protested.
I was married.
A MOM for goshsakes.  [As if being a Mom had some hidden power or something?]
We were just having a good time.  Right?

All my denials just miffed her off more and she finally said “Okay, if
you are going to be this stupid have at it.”  I didn’t want her to be
mad so I told her I had a plan.  When she asked what my plan was I
replied, “I’ll let you know tomorrow.”

Because, obviously, I was making this up as I went along.

The night progressed and we polished off that bottle of Wild Turkey.
Tammie’s husband was the head Chef and he drove her home, but I was
in no shape to drive.  So, of COURSE [did you not see this coming?],
Michael offered me a ride.  I told him it was too far to take me to my
house so if he could take me to my parents that would be great.  I
called my parents and they said “Sure. See you in a few. Use your
key.” I called my husband and he was okay with it because I would be
home for the kids before he left for work in the morning.

I walked to the back, slipped on my husband’s leather jacket, grabbed
my purse and stumbled outside.

As we were all piling into the cars, Tammie pulled me aside and said.
“I have to know what this plan is or you aren’t going.”  At that point
I had  so much to drink the entire world was spinning and I couldn’t
focus. I am pretty sure my words weren’t even coherent, but whatever I
said convinced her to let me go with Michael.

The drive to my parents house was less than 10 miles and I was sure I
could ward off a pervy manager with a couple of slaps from my hands
[Which? In hindsight I probably couldn’t even feel my hands at that

I hardly remember what Michael was saying, but his intentions were clear.

The man was drunkenly enamored with my very young, very married self.

When the conversation got to the point of no turning back I felt all
the liquor begin to churn.  The combination of not being a drinker and
the idea that someone who wasn’t my husband was hitting on me made me
ill. I told Michael to pull over for a moment as I didn’t feel well. He
insisted that he could keep driving as he needed to further tell me
his feelings.

I protested but he didn’t listen.

Then and there I decided on the plan I was going to tell Tammie the
next day.  As Michael droned on I leaned forward and whispered “If you
don’t shut up now and pull this car over I am going to show you
exactly how I feel about what you are saying.”

He refused. And he kept driving. And talking.

I inched away from him and slowly slipped out of the leather bomber
jacket. I opened it up and laid it across my lap.

As my manager yattered on I said “Last chance. Shut up. Or....”

But he didn’t.

With his words still coming, I turned my head, stuck my finger down my
throat and hurled 7 shots of Top Shelf Wild Turkey into the beautiful
silk lining of that expensive coat.

Along with that mess came a few tumblers of Coca Cola and my shift
meal of Fish and Chips.

I am pretty sure he never got the smell out of his car.

I know I never got it out of my husband’s coat.

End note to this story:  I stumbled into my folks’ house that night as
drunk as I have ever been in my life [before or since] and fell asleep
with my face pressed up on the cool tile of the guest bathroom.

I woke the next morning to sound of my Dad slamming cabinets in the
kitchen.  Not out of anger, mind you, but fun.  He knew from my phone
call the night before. As I worked my way down the hallway and fell
into a chair at our table my Dad grinned and continued to slam
cabinets.  He glanced back over his shoulder and slyly said “So Skip,
how does your first hangover feel like?” We laughed about that episode
for years after the fact.

And Michael?  He never hit on me again, and remained a pretty good
manager after the fact.

There you go Joe. I hope it is what you wanted. It was a funny memory
then and it is to us now.

     Thanks Skippy! I feel I was way more than adequately compensated for our bet. And if any of y'all want to see what's up with Skippy nowadays (and I encourage you to do so) you can always pay her a virtual visit at her excellent blog, I Make Soap. Thanks for joining us today and Skippy and I'll see ya on the flipside!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Best Drinking Games ©2011, 2013 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

    So the pope,  Merritt Wever, NFL Standings, Rose Byrne and, maybe it was actor Jeff Daniels Michigan (no relation to Jack Daniel's Top), stroll into a bar. I think it was the Magic Eight Ball over on beloved Tenth Avenue (Freeze-Out?). They're intent on playing one of the best new drinking games, it's called SEO Optimization. The bartender, an efficient, personable, young(ish) man named Joe suggested that maybe that trendy activity was washed up and how about a game of These American Servers instead? It's more fun and way cooler. That didn't really happen! I've been working feverishly on some new material but it just isn't ready yet. So here's a slighty edited righteous repost of a blast from the past, including last year's disclaimer. And yeah, I know that if there was a time to rerun this episode it was a couple of weeks ago instead of now but, you know, whatever. And I don't really give much of a rat's ass (just some) about football until the allmighty Saint Louis Cardinals (you know, they play a real sport) are done and right now they appear to be far from that!

    In honor of ESPN's Monday Night Football, and pro football in general, starting back up, here's a (slightly modified) righteous repost from last year that was kind of popular. And by "kind of popular," I really mean "nobody saw it." If you haven't ever checked it out, it's new to you, right? Enjoy!

     Do you ever play drinking games? For example, there's Monday Night Football. Watch Titans at Chargers, for instance, and every time Joe Buck or Mike Tirico or whoever, says, "First down San Diego!" everybody takes a drink. Then there's Fox News, where every time one of their resident douchebags says "Democrat" when they should have said "Democratic," or decries something called Class Warfare (bring it!), your whole crew has to down a shot. I think it's safe to say that either of these drinking games will get anyone playing it fucked up pretty quick and there are a whole lot of other variations out there.
     I don't play drinking games, even when I'm hanging out with people who are. I binge at my own pace and get wasted just fine, thank you. Neither do I advocate drinking games. I think they encourage individuals who already like over-consuming alcohol to get even more hammered than they would if left to their own devices. But if folks are going to play them anyway, I want some of that market share! So here's an awesome new drinking game called These American Servers™. Play at your own risk.
     Everybody get out their internet-connected device. Log onto your favorite search engine. I like ixquick because of their privacy claims, and Google works pretty well too. Have someone call out a phrase or a title from These American Servers™. The first one to find a  reference to my internet column gets to make everybody else take a drink. Or you can deny the others a drink and have one yourself. Remember, and this is very important, you have to actually click on the link to These American Servers or your win isn't official.
     Try different search engines. If you want an easy, fast-paced game, go with Google. If you're trying to not get too blitzed too early, see what Yahoo or Startpage have for ya. They're not as friendly to These American Servers as some of the others are. Maybe you could see what Chinese Google has to offer.
     Whatever alcohol you imbibe when playing These American Servers is up to you. Perhaps the Chili's crew in cooler-than-you-probably-think Tulsa, Oklahoma—where a popular search engine query is "Tulsa OK weather"— enjoy the game with 40 ounce jugs of Schlitz® Malt Liquor after work and you might have a good time with those. Watch out though. That shit is way more powerful than the weak-ass  "light"  beers that so many people are into these days.
     Please don't operate a motor vehicle if you've been playing These American Servers or while you're playing These American Servers. If you run across any rumors that poor, allegedly talented, yet troubled, entertainer Cory Monteith  was playing These American Servers this past July 13, please disregard them because, while Cory (God bless his soul) was an enormous devotee of the fun drinking game based on my struggling internet column, he was kind of superstitious and never played it on the 13th of any month and it was something else that unfortunately took him from us.
     "But Joe," I might be asked if anyone actually read this, "I really want to play These American Servers, but ever since I read your excellent post from December of 2010 entitled "A Righteous Proposal," where you advocate a boycott of adult beverages until America ends its fucktarded "War on Drugs," I've given up drinking. Is there anything that I can do?"
     Well thanks for joining me, my hypothetical brother or sister. Just so you know, I haven't consumed any alcohol since that post went up either and I applaud you for being part of the solution instead of the problem. Together, we can make a difference. As a matter of fact, I do have a couple of suggestions about that. Instead of using Colt 45® say, or bourbon, you could substitute dankity-dank bong hits! Or maybe swap the booze for Caffeiene-Free Diet Pepsi®. Of course, if you go with that last one, you and your friends are probably some irredeemable wussies.

     Oh, yeah: if anybody cares, I got my three comments (and some awesome new LIKES on Facebook!) so here ya go. I bought Sweetie a phone. I kept asking her if she wanted me to or not and she never gave me a yes or no-type answer. Since my policy is if I ask a question and don't get a comprehensible answer (or an answer at all) then the answer is whatever I want it to be, I bought her a phone. I went by myself. I activated it in my name (I felt creepy activating it in her name without her direct consent so I didn't) and paid for the phone, activation and first month's phone bill. One of her passwords is my birthday, one is her birthday. I was assured she can change any of that shit if she wants. The nice guy I dealt with at the store threw in a free song download. I have NO IDEA what she likes musically (since she never would even go drink coffee with me and I've been shut out (like the Montreal Expos will be tonight in Saint Louis!) on my opportunity to converse about such things with her), so I went with a favorite of mine, Bruce Springsteen's best record, "Prove it All Night" which, if Sweetie would be my girlfriend, would get my vote to be our song. What's in it for her (besides me)? Why, a gold ring and a pretty dress of blue, natch, and I'll even throw in a long white bow she can tie her hair back with!

     I keep feeling so compelled to update this thing that I should of just done some all-new material instead. O well. Sweetie is super hella good-looking. She's in NO WAY a gold-digger AT ALL and she's an AWESOME waitress AND she's never asked me for ANYTHING and she's VERY INTELLIGENT, easily enough so to be WELL aware that she's had it within her power to TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ME BIG-TIME (I practically begged her to) yet she never did any of that. The only three drawbacks she has in my eyes are that she doesn't seem to care about me (good or bad) to any significant degree and that she's geeked out on that shit most of the time and she seems to have a really tough time telling people stuff that might hurt their feelings but really needs to be said and I could easily get past those last two. This disclaimer  is being presented because I don't want y'all to get a bad, wrong idea about someone that I think is magically awesome!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I Think I'm in Trouble c2013 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     Just to let you know, I live in the Yom Kippur apartments and you are often on the ballot when I early vote at the Colorado Flooding branch library. If you've been the Democratic nominee in a general election since about 2004 when I moved here, then I voted for you and even though I'm a blue collar-type 43-year old white man from this second- (or third)-rank state I'm a very reliable Democratic voter. I'm WAY more lefty than you are or at least can say in public.
    I have an issue that I believe is medical in nature, probably. It may be psychiatric. It's not too major or dangerous to anyone but I'm a little concerned.
Since we don't live in a real country like Canada where there's health care, I was wondering if I can avail myself of some kind of public deal where I can maybe talk to someone about it. I don't mind paying something (although I'd rather not), I just don't want to go nuts with the checkbook and then be told that's merely the registration fee and if I need anything else it'll be another C-note or something like that (I'm very well aware of how cut-throat and mercenary the private sector is). I'd be happy to drop $25 or $50 for 15 minutes of convo with someone who could maybe say, "Mr. Sixtop, what you need is an endocrinologist (or whatever). Unfortunately the governor just gutted our funding for that so we can't help you but here's a list of very good private ones that won't sexually assault your wallet too much AND here's a list of instructions on how to find one on the internet."
If you can tell me anything about something like this OR give me advice on how to maybe find something out it would be greatly appreciated.
And I'm sure you'd treat this communication the same even if I didn't claim to favor your political party but it's all true so I thought I'd mention it.
     The preceding was an email I sent to my state rep and state senator, the ones I haven't heard back from. I'm not looking for charity. I'm not looking for sympathy. I'm not looking for kindness. I just wouldn't mind a little help in the form of advice from someone whom I've been led to believe is getting taxpayer dollars to "represent" me. Anyway. I've got to talk to someone and I'm counting on the one person who usually gets me out of trouble to come through for me again: me. And that statement is only mildly accurate at best; I've been much more blessed with friends and family than I deserve to be. BUT in this case I think the statement is true.
     I got fired a week ago but I still work there. I feel kind of as though I was manipulated (by people with nothing but kindness (and probably pity) and good intentions in their hearts) although manipulated isn't nearly the same as having a gun pulled on me. Anyway, I regret I even showed up for that meeting. I should have just been grateful for the time and started healing. Plus I could have bailed on them with probably a shred of imagined self-dignity.
     And what would be the difference, when I plan to march my ass in there Monday morning and give two week's notice? I doubt I'll chicken out but I might bother GM Brenda B (whom I feel I'm letting down) tomorrow on a day that she's off and I am too with a text or phone call about me leaving 'cause I don't want to wait til Monday.
     I guess I'm a little burned out by the restaurant business and that restaurant in particular and that's what I'm going to tell Brenda, but the real reason I have to get the fuck out there is this super-attractive, intelligent, awesome co-worker named Sweetie (and my fondness for her still wouldn't let me tell you this unless it was true and it is:), she's a truly GREAT waitress.
    I really like Sweetie; I can't help it. I ask her to go out with me ALL THE TIME and she NEVER does, although she doesn't seem to MIND me asking, and I guess at least she kind of likes the attention. She's been sad lately because her Smartphone broke and she's having trouble buying a new one even though she's somehow managed to finagle her way into working, like, 60 hours a week there. Of course, she needs a lot of money because she's a single mom. Or is she? I'm totally convinced about the mom part but less so about the single, even though when I asked her about her singleness and freedom to be dating and stuff, she assured me  she was single and free. Anyway, she's never asked me for shit but tonight I practically begged her to let me take her to some phone store early next week and buy her one. I'm interested to see if she bites.
My smart brain knows that I don't have any realistic chance with her but my big heart (and other anatomy, I guess) wants her so bad I can't give up. If I quit working there I won't have to see her any more and my ardor will surely cool off after awhile and I can start to focus on my REAL problem, which is trying to find out WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME (even though I actually feel pretty good, mostly)
     It's late. I worked hard and very late tonight. Since I no longer sleep, I just figured that I'd throw out another episode of These American Servers™ at ya. This is my most stream-of-consciousness installment ever. I'm just typing right now. I hope everyone's OK with that and I'm gonna at least TRY to proofread this thing.
      If Brenda has any sympathy in her heart AT ALL (and I believe her to be a very kind person) she WON'T try to talk me into staying. If I have ANY idea of what needs to happen, I won't be talked out of leaving.

     OK. If I cave again, I WON'T share that with y'all unless it's just a really awesome story or something. This paragraph is about 12 hours or so more recent than the rest of today's installment. I went to one of those "walk-in clinic" ordeals at Walgreens today and fucking HATED the experience. I plan to have a brief convo with Brenda B tomorrow if she's not too busy but don't think I'll actually give notice at least until I speak to a medical professional about my situation where I feel just a little too good most of the time and I think I can get an appointment with a real MD tomorrow after my day shift.  So that's what's up with me at the moment. What's up in your life?

     OK, ONE MORE little addition to the currently current episode and then I'll chill. I was at the laundry. While washing clothes I penned an installment of my little project here. It was about awesome co-worker Sweetie. I'm tired of stressing about her for now so that story may never be told on here. Anyway, I'm taking (funzies) bets on if she takes me up on the phone offer. It has to be me and her and no one else go buy it and I told her the offer expires when Wednesday, September 18, 2013 does. Since no actual betting money's on the line here, I'm going to say she DOES NOT accept my offer but if it was real money I'd try not to bet a lot. Even though this phone'll run me about $150 or so, I kind of hope she lets me carry her to go get it. Yeah, I want to spend time with her that bad and please don't judge me until you've worked a closing shift in my black slip-resistant moccasins from SR Max, OK?
     And I'll tell what happens with the phone IF I get at least three comments after this here post right here. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Poor Self-Opinion ©2013 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     I've got Low Self-Esteem. Was it circumstances growing up or DNA? Probably some of both but really, it doesn't matter. I won't get all psychological on y'all except to say that I believe it was something subconscious that made me stumble into a "career" where a big chunk of my income derives from how much some strangers like me.
     And it's got it's good side too, believe it or don't. There're actually like three, I think. benefits to LS-E but I can only think of one right now. When I walk, I tend to hang my head and look at the ground before me instead of facing the world straight-on and I find way more money than you.
     So just call me a big wuss I guess. I went to the meeting. I signed a write-up, my only one in nine years there. I asked to take a piss test (in the hope of finding out why I feel so fucking good all the time) but was declined. I'm aware that someone nice went out on a limb for me. And, while I wish she wouldn't have done it, for a man with Low Self-Esteem it's virtually impossible to pay back that sort of intended kindness with anything resembling scorn. I'm almost able to delude myself that my really good GM Brenda—no homo—(and if that's offensive please let me know and I'll remove it) might actually like that I work there instead of just feeling sorry for an employee she inherited from a previous administration.
     Our Area Director (GM Brenda's immediate boss, for those who don't wear an apron at work) Shane is a good guy. I've known him for years, before his impressive and deserved rise to his  coveted gig in the organization. So I wasn't expecting anything less than cordiality. But what I got was a veritable smorgasbord (that's what those of us from Ohio call a buffet) of high-calorie treats for the person who has everything except self-worth. "Asset to the organization" was mentioned. So was "Never had a problem out of you (which I believe to be technically untrue but close enough)." I was already reeled in but just in case I wasn't "Model Employee" was dusted off and put on the showroom floor for a minute. I would have felt like a horrible, ungrateful, despicable shitty excuse for a human being (you know, the usual) had I not leapt at the opportunity to stay on. Even though I swear that I meant every word of yesterday's post  when I was typing it, I caved at crunch time. I kind of feel as though I've let you down somehow. I'd be hoping I didn't lower anybody's good opinion of me if I could imagine anybody having one in the first place.

     This typing on the fly internet columnist shizzle is the bidniss! Why kill myself a couple of times a month trying to come up with something that had a lot of effort behind it when I can just think about  my Sixtopics for a few minutes, maybe take a couple notes, hop on the internet and there ya go? Shit Hell Damn, I might just compose me another episode tomorrow!


A (Former?) Waiter's Prayer ©2013 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     It'll probably be a good thing. I'm particularly happy for (now-former) co-worker Sweetie, who I have been, OK, I admit it, BEGGING to go out with me. She's way too nice to tell me to fuck off and now she won't have to. I didn't ask to like her but I may as well have. I'm also embarrassed to tell ya that not ever seeing her again is BY FAR my biggest regret about losing this job. I hope her life goes great and she manages to stop being geeked out on that shit all the time. Oh well, not my business or my problem, hunh?  O yeah. This here episode is the first-ever one where there was no rough draft or anything and I'm just thinking it and typing. You thought previous installments were lame? Stick around for this one!

     The age mentioned and the (in actuality non-Mexican) restaurant named are inaccurate. The rest is true.

     Here's a joke for ya: What was the old definition of a pathetic loser?
     A 53-year old man who's been a waiter at El Chico for nine years.
     What's the new definition of a pathetic loser?
     A 53-year old man who used to be a waiter at El Chico for nine years until yesterday when he got fired!
     Not bad, hunh? No brag, just fact: I made that up! Although it is based on true events.
     I'm trying to tell the story correctly and succinctly. I'm sure I'll fail miserably on both counts but here goes: I felt like shit all the time for years and it sucked. After lots of trial and error and research and a little effort on my part,  I finally have a handle on that. I consume only healthy foods. If it's something I like, I can't have it. Plus I get a lot of exercise, mostly jogging and lifting some weights. They're not that heavy but if you lift 'em a lot, it feels like they are. It seems to be working pretty well too, 'cause right now I've never felt better.
     I've always been a kind of a high-stress server (only because I care so much!) and that's how I roll but here lately it's gotten a little out of hand. I smile out front at the clients but I've been kind of a (seemingly but not actually) speed-addled dickhead to work with here lately. Like, I rang up something with honey mustard on the side the other day. It was run to the table by someone without the honey mustard. The table was a young couple who were very nice. They politely asked me for some honey mustard as though they'd just now thought of it instead of like we'd fucked up and God bless them for that. I freaked and SCREAMED at the kitchen crew something about thanks for ruining my goddam life and if I didn't get my honey mustard immediately I was going to come back there and skullfuck somebody. Recently I totally went off on my nice co-workers because of some very minor procedural disagreement about how they were rolling their silverware. I apologized later and they were all kind enough to forgive me and I'm very grateful for that. I've been freaking out in the BOH but managing to seem pretty chill in the FOH. Except the other night at the service well, I'm about to have a heart attack because some beverages have taken too long when the bartender informs  me that some crucial ingredient is unavailable. "Ya know," I told her in a voice just a little too loud for such convo and that may have been heard by some of the bar regulars, "I used to think I was a pretty good waiter but now I realize I suck and it's all because I work at El Chico!"
     So last night I was special guest fill-in bartender. I'd been on shift for about two hours and things were going well (I've been REALLY TRYING to chill and I believe I was finally getting somewhere with that) when GM Brenda B (a great manager and a better person) called me aside. "It's been alleged that you were observed huffing from a whip cream container last night. Would you please write your version of events on this here piece of paper please?"
     My version of events was, and I wrote, "Thank you for a great nine years! Good-bye," and signed my name. I told Brenda B I was truly sorry for putting her in the unpleasant situation and told her so long. I obviously have been very hyper lately and I promised her I was not on any recreational intoxicants and, while I swear to God that's true, if you'd of seen my recent behavior, you might have a hard time believing me. I really don't know what's wrong. I mostly feel great but work stresses me out more than ever. Could kale and store-brand V-8 juice from a blender really be that powerful?
    Brenda advised me that I wasn't fired yet. I was to show up for a meeting the following afternoon with the (Area Director) Shane, a good guy I've known for years. "Don't be so pessimistic," Brenda said. She's smart but she doesn't get it. I'll show up this afternoon as a courtesy but I feel as though I'm being treated shabbily and can't imagine a scenario where I'd ever condescend to work for that lousy company ever again.
     Oh yeah. Did I woof N²o out of an empty (I'd never do it if the can still contained saleable product; that would be theft!) whip cream can? Between you and me, yes. Usually I'm very discreet about such things but I was kind of showing off for a pretty girl. I can't remember who. I also told Brenda the truth. I don't know what I'll tell Shane this afternoon but I absolutely won't cop to the charges. The shit that charges the whip cream can will get you pretty fucked up but it goes away in like two minutes. It's not like I was smoking blunts on the back dock or doing lines off of Sweetie's ass in the parking lot (Sweetie and her lovely ass and me in the parking lot?! Hell yeah! If I got all that going on, I can personally do without the coke! ). I have a lot of regret and guilt about my life but not about some lousy whip cream deal, the only recreational intoxicant I've allowed myself for years. I want to thank my erstwhile co-workers ( who I pray to God never read this) for their patience, kindness and friendship. Whether or not this is the last installment of These American Servers™ ( and it probably isn't) I want to thank everybody who ever commented, LIKED, followed, read or just accidentally clicked to this cause they thought "servers" was computer-related, thank you so much and God bless you.   
                                 Cheers, ______-Joe


Friday, August 30, 2013

To Buy You a Gold Ring and a Pretty Dress of Blue ©2013 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     We don't see my work-friend Ray the cook more than three nights a week at most. He has a day job, something janitorial I think. When he does work with us, he talks about golf a lot. Raymond claims (and I believe him) to be a scratch golfer. In real sports, scratches don't get to participate, but in golf a scratch is a real badass, so in Ray's lexicon a scratch is a fine thing to be indeed. Ray-Ray never utters the word "golf," actually. "My hobby," he says, "my little hobby."
     "Joe." wondered absolutely no one, "do you have any hobbies?"
     "Why yes," I would've answered, "yes I do." Even though I don't think of it as one, what else is These American Servers™ but a hobby? It sure hasn't ever made me any money, nor do I ever expect it to. No boss makes me compose this drivel; no supervisor tells me when, how or even if to present it. Therefore, hobby. But I've also got this other kind-of fun activity that consumes most of my waking moments and has for over two decades now. I started out so shitty at it that I can't believe I didn't just give up but now I'm so good at it I've almost got it mastered. My hobby is trying to quit smoking.
     We had a kind of shitty night at work this evening. A couple of brutal pops were interspersed with some big-time slowness. Plus we were a little shorthanded  on both sides of the expo line. I got kind of stressed during one of the pops. So when it slowed I asked our hostess to not seat me for at least three minutes. I (literally) ran to the nearby ShittyMart™ and bought a pack of Newport 100's.
     I can't recall if I've ever mentioned it to y'all but long-time readers may know that my go-to brand is Marlboro Reds. The Newports weren't for me. I gave them to my totally awesome, incredibly gorgeous co-worker, Sweetie, so that maybe she'll like me. That's not really why I gave her the cigarettes, although if they had that effect I guess I'd have to step up like I'm a man and accept the consequences of my actions.
     Anyway, I wasn't sure how many smokes I'd want; a half-dozen, max. A whole pack  of tasty 'Boros would either go to waste or be consumed by me. I gave Sweetie the entire 20, with the understanding that I could have a few of them back (during that shift) upon request, an arrangement she was totally cool with. I got to smoke a few cigarettes and ease my stress without being a bum or throwing a bunch of product away. Plus it helped Sweetie out a little, something I'm always looking for opportunities to do. We snuck out back for our nicotine fix. As we lit up, I looked into her pretty face. The most beautiful brown eyes I've ever seen sparkled and she flashed me her lovely smile.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Breakfast in America © 2013 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     My fellow Americans, welcome and thank you for checking out today's press conference. Can I get ya started with a top-shelf margarita, Diet Pepsi, or a large draft beer? Wups! Flashback from old job, sorry about that. Anyway, I feel I can honestly say, without fear of contradiction, that "No Net Loss of Freedom" is more than a campaign slogan; it's the cornerstone of my administration. Remember "Stop & Frisk?" We stopped it. We've ended America's fucktarded "War on Drugs," repealed the RICO Act, revoked the government's civil forfeiture privileges—check out the United States website, a lot of you have money and cars coming back!—removed all the red light cameras and, while I strongly urge everyone to continue wearing your seat belts &/or brain buckets, there are no longer any laws saying you have to. You're welcome and, unless you're pulling down over a quarter-mil a year, there's lots more good news on the way for everybody!
     But I'm afraid that now I've got to urinate on the Froot Loops—sorry, I messed up and used the old name, of course I meant LGBT Circles™—of a troublesome few of you. I'm talking to the johnson skulls who go to a grocery store and grab some ice cream, say, or hot dogs, whatever, and then abandon that shit in a non-refrigerated part of the store, like by the tampons or light bulbs. That's messed up. I've asked Vice President Paul Krugman and Attorney General Tony LaRussa to craft legislation addressing this problem. We're thinking, first offense, ten dollar fine. A little steep? Hit me up on Twitter @JoeSixtop and let us know what you think, OK?
     I know I'm supposed to answer some questions from the public and the media now. But me and the First Girlfriend have to get on Air Force One and haul ass down to Saint Louis so I can throw out the game ball at tonight's World Series game. Tell ya what: I'll get CIA Director Ed Snowden to pinch hit for me. Unless you need to know about auto-grat or separate checks or something I'm sure he can answer most of your questions as well as I can. Anyway, thank you, God bless and I'll talk to y'all later.

     For about the last couple years, I've been slowly trying to healthy-up my lifestyle. Like, I haven't consumed any alcohol since 2010. Plus, I've been persuaded that it's a good idea to eat breakfast, so I try to, even though it's something I'm not naturally inclined to do.
     My first choice of AM repast is bourbon—but I gave up alcohol, remember?—so I have a heaping bowl of LGBT Circles™ doused in Nestlé's Quik! Not really. Usually I have an orange or apple or something like that. On other days, I have yogurt. I get Chobani or Dannon Oikos. They're pretty tasty and claim to be nutritious and maybe they are. Plus, they're Greek yogurts and since the economy over there is sucking so bad, it makes me feel good to help those people out a little.
     The other night after work, I went to the 24-hour grocery store for that evening's dinner, some salad, and the morrow's breakfast, a thing of pomegranite Chobani. I ate my lettuce, seriously considered lifting some weights for a minute, checked out a  little Coast to Coast AM  and sacked on out. The next morning, I was a little chagrined to realize that I'd neglected to put my intended breakfast in the fridge. It had sat out all night and become room temperature. As I headed out the door to my lunch shift, I threw the compromised yogurt away.
     Upon reflection, I think I made a mistake. I should of put the shit back in the refrigerator and had it later. Grocery customers pull stuff from the cold dairy case all the time and then abandon it wherever they might be in the store when they change their minds. It happens everywhere, from the swankiest Publix in Buckhead to the shittiest ghetto Jitney Jungle in Hattiesburg. Do you think that stuff gets thrown away? I don't. It gets restocked. I'm sure I've consumed yogurt that's spent several hours warming up next to the toilet paper and then been chilled back down. And if you ever eat yogurt, so have you.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lonesome Joe Sixtop ©2013 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     Thank you for visiting These American Servers™, America's premier restaurant-centric internet column (OK, server blog) to be presented by a guy named Joe, at least as far as I'm aware. And as to the afore-mentioned internet, the search engine terms (SETs) for today's installment include: Tim Hudson injury—and even after this weekend's disappointing series in Atlanta, I hate that happened—Gold Cup Final, Cyclospora, 孫旗 (a subject I'm not conversant on but that a lot of Chinese people seem to be interested in), rock's all-time greatest frontman Mick Jagger and Siohvaughn Funches. I'm not keeping up with the dispute she's having with NBA standout Dwayne Wade 'cause I don't care and it's none of my business and according to Google Trends she's dropped off their charts, yet remains in our hearts. Well, mine anyway. Whatever else Ms. Funches may be about—and I'm being serious here—she deserves mad props for having that world-class great name!
     And speaking (or more accurately, typing) of restaurant-centric internet columns, if you work as a server in North America, you probably have one and it's better than These American Servers. If you work with servers and bartenders but aren't one, you're a dishwasher, say, or a cook, door whore, manager or barback, you probably don't have one. What's up with that?
     Now where was I trying to go there? Oh, yeah. If you have a server blog, do you ever get any weird little synchronicities with it? It's happened with me, more than twice. Like one time, I was in the early stages of composing something about working with a lot of people from south of the United States and before I was finished there was a bit of labor unrest involving most of my Latino co-workers ("Four Guys from Guatemala," January, 2011) from that job.
     Another time, I was a mere couple of days away from trying to entertain y'all with some of my thoughts on the subject of auto-grat ("Mandatory Gratuicide," January, 2011) when some unpleasantness arose at work concerning that policy ("A Tanya Fiasco," January, 2011, a month where I was really ballin' with my little project here apparently). I could go on with more examples but that's enough for the present.
     Right now I want to see if I can maybe harness the theoretical power of these perceived coincidences by mentioning some things I'd like to have happen.(and yes, I'm totally aware that even in the very unlikely event that these are anything more than just some random coincidences that it probably doesn't work like that). For example, I'm kind of lonesome here lately and I'd like to get myself a righteous new girlfriend. Also, I want to win some insanely fat lottery prizes and I can't help but feel like the latter could definitely facilitate the former. Plus, I think I should  go and get myself another night job, something kinda awesome this time, please! Least likely of all—but what the hey, I'm kind of on a roll here—a substantial increase  in traffic for These American Servers would probably cheer me up some. Please stick around with my struggling internet column and I'll try and keep ya updated with any good news.
     Anyway and as always, thanks for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts on these or any other sixtopics in the comments section, via email, on Facebook or, if those lousy California bastards ever remove the totally unjustified (I swear!) cock-block they done put on me (yeah, really), Twitter @JoeSixtop.

     From a few of weeks later: Twitter removed the totally unjustified cock-block just a couple of days after they hit me with it. @JoeSixtop. Thank you.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Cory O Story O ©2013 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     Of all my co-workers ever, present and past, there's this dude named Cory O that's definitely one of them. He's a nice guy and a good waiter. As near as I can tell, none of his managers, customers or fellow employees have a problem with him and that includes me. Pretty much.
     Cory O's about 30 and newly married. I don't know for sure, but I bet they didn't have a pre-nup or anything like that. I've met his wife, she's fairly attractive and real nice. They're both very religious. In fact, Cory O is an ordained (by what or whom I don't know) minister. Supposedly he's on track to someday be lead pastor of his own congregation and then it'll be bye-bye waiting tables, although that's probably a few years away. Cory O's been observed typing up sermons on his iPad® between shifts. Due to his church obligations, he's off from the restaurant Wednesday nights and all day Sundays.
     I've never heard Cory O utter even the tamest of cuss words. Cory O likes to make fun of me. I say "Hell yeah!" a lot. Cory O does a pretty dead-on impersonation of me saying that but he changes it to "Heck yeah!" I try to never cross the line into actual verbal cruelty--except with people I dislike and maybe not even then--but I make fun of people all the time so I have little room to be upset with Cory O for his mockery. Except for sometimes when I'm kind of weeded, he'll fuck with me a little (he'd never call it that, of course) and I don't like that shit at all. It's at the very least unhelpful and can easily be counter-productive. But I think it's not done mean-spiritedly and I try and not let it bother me much.
     One evening about three weeks ago I was at work and Cory O was off. He called me on the company phone to ask if he could borrow 20 bucks from me 'til the next day. That's all he needed to say but he tacked on a convoluted yarn about how he had money but his ATM card was acting up and so on and whatever that, had it come from a less upstanding citizen than Cory O, I'd have thought was the bullshit story of a jive artist with a substance-abuse problem. I didn't get my money back the next day; I wound up being first cut that night and Cory O hadn't received any cash payments by the time I left but I did get it back within a day or two, no biggie.
     Then one afternoon about a week later, Cory O asked me if I had a debit card with any money on it. That struck me as an odd question, yet I answered that I did. He wanted to know if it was Visa® or Mastercard®. I hardly ever use the thing so I had to think a minute before I answered. "Visa." Cory O told me he was paying off a fine on the installment plan that he owed to some governmental jurisdiction, the state I think. He wanted to pay over the phone and save himself a trip downtown. Cory O has a Mastercard debit card and the entity getting his money will only take Visa. Cory O didn't want a loan. He would (and did) pay me the $25 coming off my card immediately. "(A co-worker) usually does it for me but her purse was stolen," he said. I let Cory O pay his ordeal with my card, but reluctantly. I'm mostly a cash, check and money order guy and keep my plastical purchases to a bare minimum. I believed Cory O and didn't think he was scamming or anything. But I have no idea who--besides just the spying-ass NSA--may have garnered my information that was transmitted via cellphone. Cory O paid me cash right then. That was a little over a week ago and I haven't detected any suspicious activity on my bank account.
     This past Saturday night, Cory O and I were on the same shift again. When I got to work as scheduled at 5:00 PM, I was very happy to note that I was in the station that's customarily first cut. Cory O'd arrived at 4:30 and was in a later-cut, though non-closing, section. As purely a station, I prefer the one Cory O got assigned to that evening and I'm sure he does too. But since I'd be cut earlier, I was cool. I worked my section and Cory O worked his. When cuts were made, Cory O got cut and I didn't! WTF? I asked him what was up and he mumbled something about him having to be at work a little earlier than me. Big fucking deal. At least two other employees were scheduled even earlier than Cory O was and had to close. Cory O had used his 30-minute arrival advantage to finagle the new rookie manager into fucking me over.

     What do Emmy Nominations, Behati Prinsloo, British Open, Rolling Stone cover, Honky Boo Boo, Rachel Jeantel, Detroit and Talia Castellano have in common? I'm guessing that they all have Twitter. Well, guess what? I've got Twitter too! @JoeSixtop . If I'm doing the math right, as of last time I checked my next follower on there will increase my Twitter crew by a whopping 100%! Plus I'm trying to work out a deal with the New England Candy Company to supply free Clark® Bars to my next 600 Twitter followers, but those people wouldn't know a great promotional opportunity if it kicked them in their ass, so don't hold your breath waiting for that one, OK?

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Absorbent Strings c2011 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved (repost)

      It's Canada Day and I wish a happy one to you and yours. Speaking of Canada, I've only got one Twitter follower and they're from Canada. So if you want to be the first from the United States to join me on there, that'd be great! @JoeSixtop. Anyway, I've been trying to get a new installment of These American Servers up here for ya but I can't seem to come up with anything that even rises to the low standards already set for my struggling internet column here. Therefore, I'm rerunning an episode that I kind of like from back in March of 2011. If you haven't read it (and you probably haven't) it's new to you, right? Enjoy!
  It was Margarita Monday, our busiest night of the week. I guess Smurf, our badass barback, had requested off because they had me taking his place that evening. I'd wash glasses, run bustubs back to dish, change out beer kegs, shit like that. They also had me helping the cocktail servers in the bar area. The bar was where it was at nighttimes but we had a fairly busy, separated, dining room. Like most nights, the buser in there was a young man named JimBop.
     CRASH! Colleen, the usually sure-footed cocktail waitress, had dropped a trayful of drinks and appetizers. "Joe? Can ya help me take care of this? Thanks, sweetie!" she told me, not really meaning the "help me" part of her request. I cleaned as best I could with a dustpan, a broom and my hands. Then I got the mop and finished the chore.
     A couple hours later, most of the bar clients began noisily fixating on Table 113. You would have thought it was a sudden-death cage match between musical entertainer Colin Meloy and a reanimated L. Ron Hubbard but no; just a couple of fat guys arm-wrestling. BAM! One of the combatants suddenly emerged victorious but in so doing managed to knock over a shitload of brewski. I went and got the mop.
     On my way out the kitchen, I saw JimBop. "How's it goin', dude?" I asked him.
     "Pretty good," he replied, "I'm not as busy down here as y'all are. You doin' OK up there?"
     "Yea, not bad. But dude. This is, like, the third time tonight I've had to mop some shit up," I exaggerated, "next time's your turn." JimBop agreed to wield the O-Cedar® product if it was needed again and we went back to work.
     At last it was getting near closing time and had slowed down considerably. A middle-aged redhead in a white coat was sitting at the bar. She had a margarita and some chips and salsa. I noticed that she wasn't using the chips very much but was mostly scooping up and eating her picante with a fork. Maybe it's a crucial tenet of Scientology or just some weird diet ordeal. Who knows? Oh well, not my business or my problem.
     And then she threw up. She managed to step away from the bar and hurl onto the floor. Poor lady, she wasn't drunk—she'd only had part of one 'rita—and she didn't puke on purpose. She was pretty embarrassed, hurriedly paid and left. I knew what was expected and who it was expected of. "I'll go get the mop," I lied.
     Of course I didn't go looking for the absorbent strings. I went looking for JimBop. I found him in the employee smoke hole, standing there with Colleen, about to spark up a Newport 100. "Dude," I told him, there's some kind of spill up there in the bar and it is your turn..."
     "I got it, no prob," said JimBop, postponing his nicotine fix, "where's the mop?" I told him where it was and took my own trip to Marlboro Country. I told Colleen about the contents of the bar spill JimBop was attending to. We laughed and smoked our cigarettes until JimBop returned.
     "What was up with that?" I asked him innocently.
     "Aw, it wasn't nothin'," JimBop told us, "Barney (the bartender) said there was some throw-up but really somebody'd just spilled some sour mix and some salsa."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Blunder from Down Under ©2013 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved


     Some of y'all might know that besides waiting tables, et cetera, at a couple of restaurants, I'm also a beer vendor at the local football team's home games. I stroll around the stadium, toting a big-ass tub of ice and brewskis. And I'm versatile, too; sometimes I'll work other events, like concerts or different sports. My beer-vending supervisor called me last week to ask if I could work an upcoming show at the local shed, Tampax® Amphitheatre. I said I'd try. I wound up being scheduled at the regular gig that evening but a co-worker asked if she could pick up. So I took the vending opportunity. The show was last night.
    Every venue has its own rules, beyond what you might expect. These edicts can even be more, or less, stringent within the same building for different events. This show, headlined by a C&W-tinged pop act, was expected to draw plenty of folks under 30. Therefore a lot of strict rules and the promise of more enforcement and spying than usual were in effect.
    One of the rules was ID everyone every time. I've dealt with that one a lot. Another, imposed sometimes but not always, was that driving licenses from outside the US and Canada weren't to be accepted. And by the way hockey fans, welcome and thanks for visiting but don't flash that sweet CHT Card at me. I can't accept it for ID and it'll just make me jealous.
     Anyway, at one point during my pretty lucrative night, a 35-year-oldish-looking dude ordered a beer from me and passed along a driving license from Australia. He didn't seem at all intoxicated and I'm sure he's well over 21. In other situations, I'd have been at least tempted to sell him a brew anyway. But for that show, the bosses seemed very serious that surveillance and enforcement were at the max, so I shut the guy out. "I'm sorry sir. I'm afraid I can't use that. Did ya bring your passport?" He didn't.
     I felt bad and hoped he hadn't come all that way just for this one lame (to me) show. I was trying to think of a way I could help him out. Maybe I could make a legit sale to another patron with the instruction to not pass it to dude until I'd walked away or something like that. Before I'd decided what, if anything, I could do for the tourist—and just to be nice too; one measly sale's not going to make or break my night—he got a little pleady and a lot argumentative, which withered my sympathy considerably. I thought about fucking with him back a little. It even briefly crossed my mind to get security into the mix—under venue protocol, his verbal hostility had given me that option—but I didn't. His words didn't hurt my feelings or anything. I try to not give a shit about something somebody has said and in this instance was successful. I shrugged and told him, "I just work here," or, "My kids gotta eat," or whatever, and walked away.
     He probably got suds later if he half-assed tried. I'm easily imagining one of my dumbass fellow vendors thinking Queensland's a province or a state. It'd be cool if he told another vendor what a dick I was and the story making them realize they couldn't sell him anything either.
     I like my vending gig OK, especially when it's as profitable as last night, but it's pretty physical and always wears me out. I cheerfully eschewed the Outback Steakhouse® I passed on the way home—take that, Australia!—and instead got to the crib and microwaved some Campbell's Chunky®, 'cause it's the soup that eats like a meal and I was pretty fucking hungry.

     Oh yeah, I almost forgot: I've got Twitter now. @JoeSixtop. I haven't checked it in a couple of days but as far as I know, my next follower on there will be my first and I want it to be you!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dagney's Voice Became Shrill ©2013 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     What was my problem last time? Oh yeah; I was whining about some folks I feel like should of been a little more thoughty ("Fucktarded Whims," May, 2013). And the time before that? I was pretty unhappy about work wanting us to solicit charitable donations from our clients. That's what this here installment right here is about, too. Then it'll be time to give that particular Sixtopic a rest. I think.

     You've seem 'em, mostly in retail establishments like Eckerd's® and Family Dollar®, but restaurants have 'em too sometimes: Smartphone-sized pieces of construction paper, shaped and printed like big, stylized aortas, flogging The American Heart Association, stars for Make-A-Wish and the popular shamrocks, benefiting, uh, The Lucky Charms® Foundation for Magical Deliciousness. Merchants sell these decals, usually for a buck, with proceeds (allegedly) going to the designated worthy cause. If you spring for one, you're emcouraged to write your name, or whatever, on it. The personalized pieces of colorful paper are then taped to the cash registers and walls throughout the property. When asked, I'll usually get a charity sticker. I tend to write something smartass (but not dirty) on mine. Until the disappointing CD was finally released in 2008, I'd buy a decal and scribble "Chinese Democracy?" and sign it W. Axl Rose, which I (and probably no one else) thought was hilarious.
     All through March, our store was selling paper Easter eggs to benefit The Osgood-Schlatter Syndrome Awareness Center. We have a similar campaign, helping whatever, every couple of years or so. This time, our managers were really adamant that we move a lot of stickers. Obviously, their bosses were pressing them for our store to sell a lot of paper Easter eggs.
     I work Curvesideto-go—where you can phone or fax in your order and I'll bring it out to your ride—on weekday lunches. I've got a lot of regulars and I do all right with it. One of my most frequent regulars is a nice white lady named Dagney, who I'm accustomed to seeing five times a month, easy. She always orders just one lunch, with few or zero special mods. She always receives her chow in a timely manner, without any problems. She always tips me either one dollar or two dollars, five if it's right before Christmas. Dagney's in her early 60's, dresses well and conservatively, seems to get her hair done a lot and drives a sharp, late-model Mercedes®. She works for a non-profit organization, I don't know which one. I'm aware that she's married to a prominent local physician. Together, they've got to be pulling down some pretty nice coin.
     Early in March, when the Osgood-Schlatter push was just getting underway, Dagney pulled up to get an order she'd called in. Everything went as usual until I asked her to buy an Easter egg. Dagney's voice became shrill and she got pretty flustered. She began stammering about how she has a substantial charity budget and it's all earmarked for her church and the non-profit she works for and she just couldn't do anything about Osgood-Schlatter, which I construed as a no. Oh well. I smiled, thanked Dagney (she tipped me as always) and told her I'd see her soon.
     But I didn't see her soon. She didn't show up again for over a month. When I thought about the situation later, I was a little irritated with Dagney for being weird—not too much, because otherwise she's always been real cool and nice—but mostly I was pissed off at work itself for setting me up to be in a situation so redolent of awkwardness. Plus I didn't like that it looked as though the company and I were set to lose out on some nice potential future revenue.
     About mid-April, Dagney returned. I mentioned how we'd missed her and she said something about having been real busy. It looks like she's back to being my easy, good, regular customer again and the whole ordeal seems to have been forgotten. By everyone save me.
     I'm particularly reminded of my friend D right now. Happy Birthday and Rest In Peace bro'.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Fucktarded Whims ©2013 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     Jakey G stayed in the same apartments as me, that's how we met. Last summer, he moved far away. His whole plan—really, more like a fucktarded whim that kind of metastasized—was pretty weak and vague and he didn't have nearly enough funds saved up to relocate. In one of the very few instances where I hated to be right, he moved back soon after he left.
     Not back here exactly, but to a small city about 60 miles away where he has some relatives. He shacked up with them for a couple of months and resumed working for the same fast food chain he'd been at when he lived here. He recently got his own apartment. Jakey G is really struggling financially.
     As long as we've been acquainted, Jake's had some sorry-ass pay-as-you-go phone plan, so he's always real stressed about his "minutes." Now his phone company, I think it's something called SafeLink®, wants some kind of expensive reregistration fee, just for the privelige of continuing to purchase their services, that he's very reluctant to pay. Yeah, I offered to help but he declined.
     So a couple of Tuesdays ago, I got a call from my friend. He needed to come into town here soon for something, probably the following Thursday. Was I off that night and how about us checking out the local Minor League Baseball team that evening? Since he had to burn some expensive gasoline that he can ill afford in order to make the 100+-mile round trip anyway, he wanted to hang out and do something cool while he was here. Plus, admission to the old ballyard is very reasonable on Thursdays. Unfortunately, I was scheduled a rare, special guest rockstar nighttime appearance at what's usually just my day job that Thursday PM. I texted back that I'd try and get someone to pick up but being as how they were kind of short-staffed at the time (new servers have since been hired), I wasn't too optimistic.
     I wrote a note on a cocktail napkin offering my shift and put it next to the schedule. No bites that day,Tuesday, nor the next. On Thursday lunch, my current least-favorite co-worker ever, Tanya G ("A Tanya Fiasco," January, 2011 and no relation to Jakey G), approached me unbidden and expressed an interest. She'd just lost her recent, part-time, other job and was maybe kind of looking for shifts. She wanted to know if I was closing. I wasn't. Was I early out? I didn't know but our very cool GM, Brenda, was going to be that night's closing manager, therefore probably. I was so sure that I'd be first cut that I truthfully told Tanya to just go ahead and pick up and everything would be all right. But no. She told me she'd contact Brenda for confirmation of early-outness. I told her OK but please to call me and let me know either way, it was kind of important, as soon as possible and she promised she would.
     I went home and waited to hear from Tanya. Nothing. At about a quarter 'til four, the latest I could tell Jakey G the situation in time for him to leave there, get here, do whatever he had to do and still make the game, I called work. Brenda answered. Tanya was a lunch closer, so I asked for her. "Tanya's gone," Brenda told me. Tanya'd gotten someone to close lunch for her; she does that a lot.
     "Did she say anything about picking up my shift tonight?"
     "Nope," said Brenda, "She never called or texted me and was gone when I got here."

     I'm pretty sure Tanya wasn't on purpose trying to mess with me. She's just an inconsiderate, uncool person who saw my sign and then me and thoughtlessly ran her mouth. Anyway, I went to work that night as scheduled. It started out slow, built to a brief crescendo of busyness, then got slow again. As expected, I was first cut. One of the hostesses that evening, Corazon, whom, in contrast to Tanya is a good co-worker I like, asked me for a ride home. I told her sure, but since my sidework would take a little longer than hers, to please find me and let me know if she scored some other transportation in the meantime and she assured me she would.
     I finished my tasks, checked out, hit the clock and went looking for Corazon, who was nowhere to be found. It took me a few minutes but I reached the inescapable conclusion that she'd left without telling me. My very mild irritation had totally dissipated by the time I got to the crib and I forgot all about it. So I was momentarily (albeit pleasantly) surprised when Corazon greeted me with a nice hug the next morning instead of her usual "Hey" and cheerful smile. "I'm so sorry!" she said, "My friend was in the neighborhood and stopped in to see if I needed a ride and I just left with her."
     I told her it was no big deal (it wasn't) and to not worry about it. Tanya hasn't apologized, nor even mentioned, her discourtesy while Corazon was pretty contrite and I immediately forgave both of them. Well, Corazon anyway.