ANOTHER MIND SNAPS IN CATERING

He drops the fuckin’ salad right on the poor lady’s head, man. Miraculously, it just sits there - exactly like it was on the plate - except it’s on her head! Everybody just stops. The whole room goes dead - even the executives just stare in disbelief. Now, Bruce, ( the guy who did this) finds this hilarious! He’s cracking up, and without missing a beat, goes:

“Excuse me madam, but would you like some dressing with that salad?”

He then picks up the little vinaigrette container on the table - and pours it right on her head!

NO WAY! No way, man!

I mean, he is dying laughing now. The nervous wreck of a manager is now practically paralyzed with shock and embarrassment.

Everybody is aghast.

The manager FINALLY pulls him off the floor into the kitchen, holds him there, and calls security. They roughly escort him out of the building. Three huge security guards.

Whoa - now that is one grandiose mind-snap, man.

Now, before you think I’m just making up crazy stories, let me give you a little background, ok? We’re waiters for this hospitality temp agency which does a bunch of corporate dining luncheons and dinners for various companies. It definitely can be fairly uptight and humorless, no doubt.

So this guy, Bruce, works with us - and he’s a bit of a dick…actually he’s a full-time dick, to be honest. Mid 40’s - despises EVERYBODY. An actor who’s had some bit parts in TV shows, maybe a movie, a lot of extra work. Really bitter guy, y’ know? Hates his life, hates that he is still doing this food service stuff - especially with us younger people. Very condescending.

So, this one day, he comes to the gig drunk out of his head; so totally plastered he can hardly walk. Just sucking down breath mints - but we all know what the deal is anyway. It’s this big VIP corporate luncheon at one of the World Trade Center Towers ( this is in the early 90’s - way before 9/11), the resident manager is always a bundle of nerves, but today he is a sweaty mess. His facial tics are out of control - and Bruce comes prancing in wasted.

Seems his agent supposedly got him some big role in a movie in Hollywood, he’s leaving for LA tomorrow, and will never have to work with us mere peons again. That’s the setting for the first course sweep salad to the tables - with salad plates in both hands, inches from the table.

PLOP!

The ironic ending to this story is that I’m walking down a Midtown street about a month later - and who do I see but - Bruce? The thing is - he’s a fuckin’ Good Humor Ice Cream vendor now!

Hahahaha!

Obviously, he pissed off somebody in Hollywood, too.

What an asshole.

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!