If you were logged in, you could vote for this story!
|Boy howdy, was it the wrong goddamn day for Gramps to get all up in my motherfucking grill (literally).
|So -- I should note at this point that I've been actively trying to stop starting sentences with the word "So," because it makes you sound like you come from South Jersey, which is where I happen to live this summer, but I'll be god damned if I want to pick up the freakin' dialect from these Pabst-drinkin' derelicts.
So I've been having problems with my, uh... let's see, what can I call her? Not girlfriend, surely, she's made that perfectly clear. Not lover, 'cause we sure haven't had any phone sex going on for the duration of this stupid nonsense of an argument -- but I'm getting ahead of myself, and if I say any more I'm gonna have to change the section this goes in.
So I've been having problems with my 'significant other' for a good four days now, and it's totally draining me. Yesterday I had only four hours of sleep after arguing all night with her, and then we argued some more when i got up in the morning. Yeah, I know lots of couples go through this on a regular basis, but not when half of the couple is on the opposite coast and you only talk to them over instant messanger and the phone.
Needless to say, I did not feel like going to work, but I had used up any leeway time I had acquired since taking a job as short order cook at a local deli, so I had to go. Even so, tired and pissy, I knew if I just went in and got my shit knocked out that no one would screw with me and I could sulk in the relative privacy of the flattop grill.
But no, not today! Today I get to deal with Gramps.
Gramps is the boss's father. He's approximately 743 octillion years old, and his apparent occupation is getting in the way and being crotchety. Generally I don't mind humoring him, because he's a real character and he amuses the shit out of me when i'm in a good mood. I was not, however, in a good mood; I was in an extremely pissy mood, and I wanted to rip off the head and shit down the neck of the next person who fucked with me.
Gramps was that person.
From the second I walk in he gets ALL UP IN MY SHIT, literally butting in front of me and yanking dishes away from me and yelling, "NO, DO IT THIS WAY! JESUS, DON'T YOU KNOW ANYTHING?" Generally speaking, I am not an active advocate of beating the elderly. However, with every word this man spoke, with every cucumber and spatula he snatched out of my hand, I could slowly feel the fingers of my right hand clinching like an organic shop vice, the tendons tightening up my forearm and into my shoulder and all the way down my back. After fifteen minutes I was so tense that, had I hit him, I would have been using muscles in my sphincter to do it; my body had become a living, personified punch in the mouth.
So then he tells me to cut some red onions. I should note that if there is one thing I hate doing more than anything else in the kitchen it is cutting onions. With a passion and blackness so vile Asmodeus would take pause, do I hate this task. It was during prep work at the East End Cafe, cutting red onions on a slicer, that I severed a nerve in my left hand that never grew back. Also, my eyes are extremely sensitive to airborne agents, and cutting onions renders me wholly incapacitated for several minutes. Once, at my last job, they made me puree 30 pounds of onions in a buffalo chopper. I didn't cry that much at the movie "Magnolia".
So I get six onions and start to chop them, wanting to get through it as quickly as possible to reduce contact. And of course, Gramps gets up in my face. "NO NO NO! Shit, you're fucking it up again. Gimme that. Do it this way." He pulls out a mandolin slicer and sets it down with no further instruction.
"I could do it much quicker by hand, dawg."
"DO IT THIS WAY."
Okay, chief. I start doing it as he tells me, but of course, since I am not him, I don't do it EXACTLY the way he tells me, and he jumps on me again. "you have to leave the roots on or they fall apart! No, not that root -- THAT root." This happens about 4 times, until the onions have been rendered a tortured heap of purply-soaked rough shards, and a job which would have taken me five minutes to do, had the octogenarian bastard left me the fuck alone, has now taken fifteen and is done wholly wrong.
"God damn it," he yells, "Do it right the first time and this shit wouldn't happen."
My incredible rage is beginning to reach boiling point. "Look, do you want to do it, chief? Since you seem to be the resident expert on onion cutting and shit."
He looks stunned, obviously not having been previously introduced to the concept of resistance. "Well, shit, if I do it what the fuck do i need you here for?"
"I don't know, Gramps, you tell me. You've been up in my shit since I walked through the door. I would have had these done by now if not for you getting in my way."
He thrusts one of the empty buckets at me angrily. "Okay, smart guy -- go get six more onions and do it your way!"
"Damn skippy I will, Lincoln." says I, and retrieves six more red onions. This moment is notable as it was the invention of the insult 'Lincoln,' which both Nintari Man and my roommate Derek Harper have agreed is now the new 'Jackson'.
So I bring the onions up and, because I have worked in kitchens for six years and actually know what the fuck i'm doing, proceed to fly through them rapidly with a seraded knife. Gramps watches with pained silence, in that sort of manner that old men do when they are watching someone about to prove themselves wrong, waiting to say "I told you so." This lasts about three minutes, at which point he realizes that in fact, *I* am about to prove *him* wrong. He snatches the remaining onions away and insists, "No! You HAVE to do them on the slicer, not with a knife!" -- even though I have sufficiently proven that the opposite is true.
Gramps, however, is a curmudgeonly fucker and is not easily swayed by such nonsense as 'empirical data.' He starts running the onions over the slicer -- except, they've been prepped for hand-cutting with a knife, so they once again fall apart into pathetic fragments.
He holds up an oniony failure in my face. "THERE! You see THIS? This is what happens when you don't leave the root on, you fucking idiot!"
Oh, that tears it. With the ninja precision of Bruce Lee I swing my left hand at his face, pinky side flying at his bifocals in a karate chop. He flinches in terror, only to have me stop two inches short of his face and point to the inch-long scar on the side of my hand. "THERE! YOU SEE THIS? THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU CUT RED ONIONS ON A SLICER! IT TAKES FOUR STICHES TO HEAL AND YOU LOSE THE FEELING ON THE SIDE OF YOUR FUCKING HAND!"
Miraculously, he shut the fuck up.
For the rest of the day, Gramps was very nice to me, more congenial than I had ever seen him before. I suppose being presented with war wounds humbles a man into proper respect.