March 4th

By employment One Comment

March 4th is the only day of the year that is also a command.

Today I began to realize why I discontinued my career in restaurants after last summer – this realization occured right around the time I waited on some people from Michigan who did not know what time zone they reside in.

If you order the Buttermilk Chicken w/Country Gravy at the House of Blues, expect to weigh at least four pounds more in the morning. I have decided that Country Gravy is simply cellulite in a sauce form, however, I doubt this is what the managers meant when they said we needed to be prepared to provide guests with “descriptive phrases” about the menu items.

Ketchup is a disgusting condiment.

“Only the strong survive.”

By employment, las vegas 8 Comments

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.

Four of Clubs

By employment, las vegas 4 Comments

Yesterday, I got out of the car in the Mandalay Bay parking garage and tripped over a speed bump to find a card (the four of clubs with a ‘Q’ drawn on it in black marker) at my feet. I proceeded to the elevator where there was a sort of scary-looking individual waiting to board. I opted to turn back and retrieve the dirty four of clubs off the ground and then returned to the elevator after the smelly short man in a cowboy hat was gone.

I went to the House of Blues and filled out a job application, and I received a call to go back this morning at 10:30 for an interview. Starting Monday, I’ll be a server at the House of Blues Las Vegas in the Mandalay Bay. The four of clubs is my new good luck charm. Score. (I wonder if any four of clubs would work, or do I need to continue to walk around with the dirty folded one I found in the parking garage?)

An Update On Stephen Getting A Job

By conversations, employment, technological enigmas 3 Comments

Stephen ambles into my room pre-shower this morning, hair tousled, no shirt, and states, “I’m going out to get a job.”  I give him one of those raised-eyebrow, yeah-okay-why-are-you-telling-me kind of looks before returning to what I was doing on my computer.  “Don’t tell mommy,” he says.

“What?” I begin to wonder why he’s out of bed before noon.

“Don’t tell mommy.”

“Whatever, Stephen, I don’t care.  Get out.”

“No, really, don’t tell her.”

“Where are you going to get a job?”

“I’m going to go get the graveyard shift at FoodTown from midnight to 5 a.m.”

Another raised-eyebrow look — this time of the you’re-so-stupid-and-you-don’t-even-know-it sort.

“Chris Lee is gonna do it, too.  It’s gonna be freaking awesome.”


“I’m not gonna tell mommy.  When she asks you where I am, you just tell her I’m out with my friends.”

“What is the point of this?”&nbsp It crosses my mind that I don’t recall FoodTown becoming a 24-hour establishment.

“She won’t know I have a job, but I’ll be out all night until 5:00, and I’ll have money in my pocket.”

I look up at him and he’s got this satisfied expression on his face like this is the most intelligent scheme he’s ever thought up.  “Stephen,” I say.

“Just promise you won’t tell her I have a job.  Shake on it.”  He extends his hand.

I start to extend mine in return and hesitate.

“Come on.  Shake my hand.”


“Shake my hand, and promise you won’t tell her. Shake on it.”

“Fine, I won’t tell her, but I don’t want to shake your hand.”

“Just, would you just shake my hand?”

“Did you wash it?”


“I’m not shaking on this stupidity.”

He puts his hand out and I reluctantly shake it, wondering why my VT Webmail page still hasn’t popped up.  This whole wireless Internet thing baffles me.

Stephen laughs and mumbles something like, “Yesssss,” before exiting the room.

Stephen’s Views On Getting A Job

By conversations, employment 7 Comments

After watching two rather dramatic episodes of JAG (one from Season 1 and one from Season 3), Stephen made a snide remark about my checklist. (If you do not know about the checklist – you’ll have to ask. It’s somewhat embarassing.) He told me the checklist was pathetic. I told him I had no life and nothing to do and that I made the checklist out of boredom. He then said, “I can’t believe that I already signed up for the Coast Guard and I have a job lined up and you don’t and they’re making me either get a job or pay rent and you don’t have to.”

“Stephen,” I replied, “your job doesn’t start until July. I have no job because I’m moving to Las Vegas in 12 days.”

“Yeah, but even if you didn’t go, they wouldn’t make you get a job.”

“Stephen,” I said, “if I weren’t moving to Las Vegas, I’d be moving to Richmond, and if I weren’t moving to Richmond, I’d stay here, and either way, I’d need a job. I have no money, I have nothing productive to do. I need a job, and I plan on getting one. You should get a job.” To which he intelligently replied that he can’t get a job because no one will hire him to work only two days a week.

“Two days a week? Who the hell works two days a week?”

“Well, maybe three.”

“Well, just tell the managers that you have to work around school.” (Which he doesn’t since he gave up Brookdale after half a semester back in October.)

“They’ll make me show them my schedule.”

“So write up a damn schedule and give it to them.”

“Huh.” (A short pause.) “I want to work three nights a week from like 5:00 to 8:00.”

“Are you joking?”

“My social life doesn’t really start until eight. I guess I could work until nine.”

“So, find a restaurant that closes by 10:00 every night and get a job bussing tables.”

“I said NINE, not ten. That’s too late.”

“So, find a restaurant that’s only open for breakfast and lunch–”

“I can’t get up that early. I can’t really be ready for work until like four.”

“Stephen. Get a grip.”

“No. I still don’t understand why I need a job. They should just give me $10 a week. I could live on that.”

“$10? A week? Why should mommy and daddy give you $10 a week?”


“Because what?”


“You’re ridiculous.”