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“Only the strong survive.”

By February 18, 2004employment, las vegas

As a reward for landing a money job at the House of Blues today, I had the privilege of obtaining my Clark County Health Card and my TAM Card (an alcohol awareness card). You can forget about working in Nevada without the two. If you work on the casino floor, you also have to get a gaming card and a sheriff’s card, but luckily, I didn’t have to deal with that.

Getting my health card involved getting a shot. I’m sure we’re all extremely clear on how I feel about getting shots. Granted, I have gotten through several Novocaine shots in the past few months sans tears, but this was a real shot. However, thanks to my new t-shirt that reads “New Jersey: Only the strong survive” and an intimidating, yet fairly humorous, crowd of Army personnel getting their shots to be able to serve food at the NASCAR Cafe this weekend for a fundraising event, I roused up enough inner strength to refrain from causing a scene while being poked in the arm with a vaccination I’m told will most likely cause me to be feverish and nauseous for the rest of the week. I think we can rule out doing any push-ups for a few days, too. I was good though — didn’t shed a tear. I even held back from shouting the F-word until I got back in the car.

After that, I got to pay $25 in cash to sit through a four-hour alcohol class that was given by a speed-talker. The guy was insane. The first thing he said was, “I’m takin yo’ picture, so fix yo’ hair. Don’t ask me what you look like cuz I’m bald and I don’t care.” Rhyming wacko.

The class went something like this:

First, we watched a video narrated by a talking Jim Beam bottle. It was about how to use SIR to decide whether or not to serve customers alcohol or not. SIR stands for Size up, Interview, and Rate. (Decide how much alcohol they can handle by their body size, talk to them to make sure they’re not trashed, and rate them as “green” for okay, “yellow” for watch them, or “red” for cut the bastards off.) The Jim Beam bottle suggested keeping a diary of these ratings throughout the time the customer is in the establishment. Right. Because when I’m running up and down stairs at the speed of light with six plates on my arm worrying about spilling salad dressing on my shoe, what I forgot to add to the last order I sent to the kitchen, and whether or not my table of obnoxious bachelorettes with fake boobs got their appetizers, I’m going to drop everything and whip out the old diary to write down, “Yellow light, fat woman in the turquoise dress, seat 3, table 14.” Dream on.

We then learned that two things we previously knew about alcohol were totally wrong. First, if a pregnant lady demands a cocktail, you must serve it to her or you will be charged with discrimination. Second, when a person is drinking, bread and starchy foods will break down into sugars opening up the pyloric valve from the stomach to the small intestine causing the person to become drunk faster, not slower. Instead, the drunken customer should be given fatty fried foods, vegetables, or proteins in order to keep the alcohol in the stomach where it will be absorbed at a slower rate.

Next, we learned some common-sense-type things. First, don’t send drunk people down escalators — they will fall, causing a pile-up at the bottom that will result in someone’s skin getting ripped off by the jammed stairs. Second, put drunks in booths, not on barstools — they will topple over and bleed on your garnish tray. Third, you should not attempt to break up bar fights with guns, and fourth, there is a difference between an ID with a “butt curve” from being in someone’s back pocket and one with a crease conveniently placed where the last two digits of the date of birth are located.

At about nine o’clock, he gave us our final test and all the answers to it. He handed out our cards with our pictures on them — of course I left my damn sunglasses on my head. On the way out the door, everyone but me lit up a cigarette and I sighed knowing that I’m going to be the only one not getting a break every twenty minutes at my new job due to my lack of a nicotine addiction/desire for lung cancer.

Bottom line — I’d better make some damn good mon-ay at this new job because my arm hurts and my head is spinning from the overabundance of words that have been spoken to me by that speed-demon in the past four hours.

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