NOBODY GETS OUT OF CATERING ALIVE

Ok - to continue on last week’s theme - let’s proceed with an actual case study, ok? We learned last week about catering lifers - the unfortunate souls who realize that the only thing left to do - is to undergo training to be a catering captain. Yes. A catering captain. Of those who do survive this realization, it almost always means the bitter end - albeit with a pay increase. Minds snap with an alarming regularity at this juncture…that is what happened to Toby a while back. I saw it all unfold before my very eyes - and it was not pretty - I can tell you that.

Toby was one of these permanently bitter, large Baby Hughie type queens who was a main captain for one of the catering companies I worked for regularly. He, himself was one of those wide-eyed musical theater aspirants who arrived from Middle America with a pocketful of dreams - but that was 20 years ago. At this one event, for reasons unbeknownst to all, he had taken to wearing these fake plastic black framed glasses. With NO lenses. He reads aloud our assignments from the even sheet. This is the first sign of trouble.

Maybe an hour and a half later, when we have finished setting up for the event, I go up to ask him again what my table number was. He looked very perturbed.

“Oh, Montaperto, I can’t see anything!”

“Where are my damn glasses?”

He fishes about his jacket pocket, finally finding and putting on the said glasses.

‘Ok, Montaperto, you have table 34.”

These are the glasses with no lenses, mind you.

Uh oh.

A while later, we have finished dinner service, and my table wants to know what the desert alternative is. I come up to ask Toby what it is.

“I don’t know ‘nothin’ ‘bout birthin’ no babies!”

“What?’ I ask again, puzzled.

I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout birthin’ no babies!” He exclaims again.

Mind snap!

Over!

i don’t see him again for another year and a half. True story.

Next week we will explore another case study of a waiter who went quite mad.

IT HAPPENS EVERY CATERING SEASON

Yup…about twice a year. That’s when whole new crop of ‘musical theater fairies’ invade ‘The Big City’. A busload of them - at least. Pouring in from all over the globe. Well, mostly from Ohio, for some reason. Fresh faced, spanking new 20 somethings come to New York for their shot at ‘fame and fortune’. Flush with hopeful dreams of starring in the next big Broadway musical! They come to the catering companies to pay the rent while they audition and ‘pay their dues.’

For the first few years, they remain perky, polite and full of energy - always hopeful that their persistence and talent will shine through. The bright lights and diversity of the big city leave them in awe, - causing them to exclaim things like -” I could never imagine living anywhere but New York!’ After all, they do come from Ohio.

The years pass. They begin to see their dreams fade away. Soon, they acquire the dull look of a trapped animal. At this point, they turn to alcohol - hitting the bottle with a fury. Others turn to heroin. Still others develop a deadly chewing tobacco habit. Another six months, a year pass by - and they have become raging alcoholics, heroin addicts, and…well…TOBACCO chewers. It all begins to snowball downhill - at last, they realize they have been in catering too long - they can’t do ANYTHING else! They’ve become catering lifers! Oh, the humanity…Next blog will feature actual case studies.

GOD - DO I DESPISE COMMERCIALS!!

Commercials. I was just recently reminded how much I detest them!! As I have not had a TV for at least 15 years (with good reason!), the only time I do get to watch a little television is when I am at my mother’s place down the Jersey Shore, where I spent the Christmas holiday. Staying there for one week, no less!!

Granted, there are a few pretty decent shows (mostly on ‘cable?’) but, by and large, everything is besieged by these mind-numbing, atrocious waves of repugnant commercials! Mostly, the nauseatingly vapid blitzkrieg of car commercials - followed by the no less repulsive pharmaceutical horrors! I mean, I’m just trying to enjoy Seinfeld reruns, for god sake, when I am aggressively smashed over the head by these putrid nightmares. Maybe the automobile industry should spend less money on their manipulative, thoroughly non-creative advertising budgets, and, instead concentrate on delivering products that don’t have to be recalled for basic violations - and not having to lay off thousands of workers while closing their plants!

When ‘Christmas season’ comes around - that’s their cue to mercilessly pound us with an endless string of these masterpieces of horrific nonsense - five of them in a row. Often, they use Santa Claus (isn’t that so cute?) as a selling point, for some reason, as if that has ANYTHING at all to do with Christmas! Really. As if watching a bunch of entitled Yuppies and spoiled trust fund kids ( are these commercials shot in Hoboken, NJ?) buying Land Rovers, or whatever, for their wives and girlfriends is supposed to fill me with the ‘Christmas spirit?!’ Completely disgusting! And these are the completely mentally incapacitated writers who are making all the money in the business? If you would really like to spread holiday cheer, somebody please lease an imagination to these bumbling fools - that would truly fill us with joy!

CAN I THROW UP NOW?

Ugh! Thank God the bulk of this thoroughly annoying commercial money grab known as ‘Christmas season’ is almost over! Don’t get me wrong - it’s not the actual Christmas Day that I spend with my family that sickens me - I love that - no, it’s everything else that leads up to it! Especially trying to get to a job from where I live, on the outskirts of the ghetto in Jersey City, to the equally mad city of New York. I travel by PATH train, which normally takes 15-20 minutes to get to there…but not in the most annoying time of the year - oh no!

These are my top 5 Christmas season grievances:

  • First, I have to get to the PATH train - which is about a 20 minute walk from my house; but I must initially try to force myself through what I like to refer to as - ‘The 99 cent Shopping Center’ - conveniently located near the Journal Square PATH stop - for all your shopping needs! There, throngs of obese knuckleheads fill the streets, stampeding to the 99 cent stores for those absurdly large, fake aluminum, fake painted gold hoop earrings, and $5 curly blond wigs - that are all the rage for Christmas presents!

  • So, finally I reach the PATH train, somehow manage to squirm unto a seat, and - it’s SHOWTIME! These annoying kids blast some ancient Michael Jackson jam like ‘Billie Jean’, from the 80s - and proceed to somersault and pole dance all over the train - usually kicking somebody in the face in the process. Seen it at least 237 times this year already - NEXT!

  • Happy face tourists who pack the New York subway trains. They are very happy and smiling, believing they are having ‘a REAL New York experience!’ Listen, happy faces - a packed train is NOT fun, ok?! I just want to get to work!

  • Here’s something under the ‘get an imagination’ banner - which I believe Macys is having a BIG Christmas sale on! The senseless blobs who feel compelled to take a cell shot of every tall building, Holiday window display, and Christmas lights in New York City, interminably clogging up the sidewalks for those of us who have to get to work. Second most irritating to the selfie takers - “Oh boy - look gang - I’m here in New York City!'“

  • My pet peeve - which actually verges on the disgusting. The simpletons who stand in endlessly long and hopeless lines in frigid, sub-freezing temperatures, just so they might possibly get a cell shot of themselves smiling in front of Carlos Bakery in Hoboken, NJ. Or of course, the one right in the Port Authority complex. I mean, what can I even say about this?! It’s beyond any type of human verbal expression.

  • Ok everybody - Happy Holidays! I’m looking for a nice quiet place to vomit!