Monday, February 28, 2005

Grease Pit of Despair 

Do you ever see middle-aged people working in fast food restaurants? Does it make you sad? It does me. I'm much more comfortable seeing a homeless middle-aged person than one working in fast food.

Mostly younger people work in fast food joints. Guys still in high school, or perhaps working their way through college. And there's nothing really wrong with that. It's just a temporary thing. Maybe college money, maybe spending money, maybe work experience. They'll be there a few months before they get canned by the faceless bureaucracy of managers, heads, and the store owner. And they'll probably get canned for something normal, like taking a sick day when they're sick, or get caught sitting down after they've been standing for four hours. Big deal. It's fast food. They pride themselves on a high employee turnout rate, and some of those kids have their whole lives ahead of them. Some are destined to be losers, but not all. One of them might even own the store one day.

Likewise, it doesn't bother me much to see older people in the industry either. They're probably retirees making ends meet. They've already lived, now it's time for them to settle for what little social security they have left after the guys in Washington are finished fiddle-fucking around with it. And in order to afford things that old people buy, like diapers and cat food and eggs and 19 large bottles of prune juice (I still mad at that old bastard), they have to take up a job that pays a little money for them to do a job that a monkey could do, provided it's a monkey with sufficient training. Hello Burger King.

But people between 30 and 50...that bothers me. These are the people who can actually feel their lives slipping away from them, but can't do anything about it. They have to kiss ass and try desperately not to offend their "superiors" by leaving grease on the fry hopper. After all, if they lose their job, they'll have to spend 6 months or more attempting to find a new job. Who wants to hire a 40 year old with no education, fresh from Steak & Shake?

I spend a few months in high school working at a fast food joint (I won't name it, but it rhymes with "WcZonald's"), and found the whole thing to be a negative yet worthwhile experience. It taught me valuable life experience, and proved to be a metaphor for the passing of time. No, really.

Birth is the moment of hiring. You're brought forth into a brave new world, slapped on the ass, and given a ball cap. You immediately go to school, also known as one night of on-the-job training, where you are repeatedly told how the Steak Dildofucker Lobster wrap is prepared. Try not to wince when that fat woman comes in and orders 20 of them.

Marriage is your ten minute break. You don't really want to do it, but it's expected of you. After a while you come to terms with it and even come to appreciate it, but you have another one every day and all of them are too short.

What is product of marriage? Children, usually. What is the product of your ten minute break? Trash, usually. Trash from all the free food you consume waiting for the ten minutes to be up. Therefore, when you have to take the trash out, you're driving your children to school. You don't want to, but no one else will. Buncha lazy deadbeats.

Any unexpected yet benign turn of events is the announcement of a new sandwhich. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but you'll have to learn to deal with it. Likewise any breakdowns in communication between you and those you depend on is the Coke machine on the fritz. That'll happen pretty often, trust me.

All the negative things in your life is the Grease Pit. Now, depending on where you work, that could be an actual pit in the ground, or it could be a big watertight above-ground container which looks not unlike a dumpster. You walk out into the bitter, probably rainy night and wheel along with a little container full of grease and old eggs that were stuck in the grill's grease channels all day, and then open up that pit and start pumping the grease in with the big handle, trying the whole time not to vomit at the sickeningly vile stench of the old grease rising from the murky depth (I just referenced my own blog - go me!). Taxes, dead-end jobs, and your own impending death can be likened to draining the grease. It's awful, but it must be. It will be.

Finally, there's your inevitable death. That's when they suddenly stop scheduling you to come in, then tell you a week later when you pick up your latest paycheck: "Oh, by the way, you're dead".


You know what? Maybe all this is a bad analogy. More likely, this was just a sucky job that I did and lots of other people do. And it depresses me that people who aren't old yet aren't young either are often stuck doing it.

That's all. See you next entry.

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