So back on Labor Day I began examining all of the different jobs I have had since I started working back at the tender age of 15. First one was stuffing together the Sunday Editions of the Chicago Tribune.
Tonight let's look at Job #2: Enzo's Pizza
Enzo's was a fabulous pizza joint in Brookfield, Illinois. No longer there, it was tiny, cramped (yet cozy) and very, very clean (proud to say the place always received a 100% on our Health Inspection each year). I began there shortly after walking out of the factory where I stuffed the newspapers and I proceeded to spend the next three years working there. My food service career began in the back of the kitchen washing dishes. Sounds like that sucked, right? Here is the funny thing - I really enjoyed watching dishes. The guys in the kitchen were awesome, we usually had some good music playing in the background, and when we were working we ate like kings.
After about nine months or so I was given a shot to move up to pizza maker. In order to be a good pizza maker you have to be able to do two things: 1) Put on just the right amount of everything and 2) Do it fast. I was wildly successful at step number one but unfortunately I was slow as hell at it. In the time it took me to make a pizza our cook Danny could whip out three or four. So long pizza making days.
But instead of heading straight back to the wash tub my boss asked if I would want to try waiting tables.
Finally, we had found my true restaurant calling. It was the best of everything. I still ate like a king, the music in the kitchen was still enjoyable as I came in and out to place and pick-up orders, my hands no longer looked all wrinkled and withered, and of course most importantly I got tips. Sure some nights were slow, but other nights were great. And the great nights were also busy, which means the time just flew by.
So for about 18 months I waited on tables. I got to know the regulars. Some people even asked for my section. I made my fair share of mistakes, but overall it was really a blast with way too many stories to share...but let me leave you with just one.
It was December 23 and no one, I mean no one, had come into the place. I was the only waiter working since they figured it was going to be slow. We were all set to close up early around 9:30pm when a single gentleman came in and sat at the bar. He ordered a beer and small pizza. We chatted about school, his job and the upcoming holidays. His pizza came and he had another beer or two. By the end of it he was into us for $23. I brought him his tab and he took out a $100 bill and asked if I had been busy that night. I told him he was our first and last customer. I grabbed the tab and his c-note and told him I'd be right back with his change. He told me we were even. "Merry Christmas," he said as he grabbed his coat and headed for the door...leaving be standing behind the bar looking at a $77 dollar tip and thinking this wasn't such a bad night after all.
Job #3: Brookfield Zoo is up next...sometime...when I get around to it. It's worth the wait...trust me.
You might smile because you remember watching it as a kid. You might smile because the outfits are so from the 90s. You might smile because the theme song, sung by Dr. John, is simply not very good and even has made up words in it. Either way, I bet you'll enjoy this:
So here is where I am at right now: I really enjoy watching football. I love playing Fantasy Football against my friends. I like the food and drinks that are involved in tailgating (whether it is at the game or just at home). And I really like going to see it live (both high school, college and the pros).
But every year I can't help but feel guilty when I watch it. Every week these guys go out there and play their hardest for our entertainment. And the risks they face are high. The chance of injury is great, especially to the head. Sure they have helmets, but let's face it, concussions are a huge issue for football players (although steps have been taken in recent years to begin to address the issue).
This is why I feel guilty watching. It has become almost what I would call a true guilty pleasure. Because let's face it...if a sport requires you to wear a helmet, shouldn't you really just stop playing it? Wouldn't that be the smarter thing to do?
However I suppose that no one is making anyone play, especially at the collegiate and professional levels. But does that make it alright to enjoy a watching this sport? Seems like a weak argument, no?
Like most of America though I will continue to tune in and enjoy. The slight feeling of guilt might be hanging out in the back of my mind...but a awesome catch or kick return later, I'll forget all about it for a while.
Chris Thomas is a full-time teacher, part-time freelance writing, father of three, and most importantly, a very, very tired man.
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