I had recorded a silly little song in the living room of my crappy two bedroom duplex apartment. It was made with poor quality equipment and techniques but it would consistently make people laugh, which is the only thing a comedian really wants to do. It was uploaded on soundclick.com, a little known website that lets musicians let other musicians hear their projects, so that a friend of mine could hear it.
The warm reception I got from it led me to write some other songs and material geared specifically towards people in the restaurant business. I started working on Basura!, a song about the smoke breaks which are generally taken during the trash run at most places, and Alley Rally/Acts of Love, a skit/song about pre-shift meetings held every day and the urban legend dirty sex acts that you hear about a lot when you work in a restaurant (like the blumpkin, the dirty Sanchez, the Alabama Hot Pocket, etc.), and of course-Orientation. Making fun of how terrible it all was, I put them together on a rough draft demo called No One Should Ever Have To Listen To This. Friends, associates, very regular regulars, and various other cool people got copies.
Backtrack: remember the whiny pissbucket that wanted to bartend so much? She eventually stabbed enough people in the back and blackmailed and coerced her way into getting a bar position, and SHE WAS TERRIBLE. She stole money from the tip bucket, she stole money from the drawer, she wouldn’t make drinks, she wouldn’t do any sidework, and then she would snitch on me for that same shit. She was a terrible coworker. Then one day an old friend of mine that I used to work with and play poker with came in and sat at the bar. He asked for a CD and I gave him one. Krazee Krusty Kunt McGhee saw it and found out what it was and went to management with it.
A couple of weeks later the crackhead GM pulled me into the office and tried to interrogate me for half an hour by asking me repeatedly ‘Do you have anything you want to tell me? Do you have anything to say?’ He never elaborated on that or told me what he wanted to talk about so I eventually started to enumerate on the shortcomings of my fellow bartenders who didn’t show up to work, didn’t do their jobs when they did and who stole money all the time. He didn’t want to hear about any real problems that actually affected his business so he ended the conversation abruptly.
In the meantime there was a memo posted on the board in the back. It was a reprint of an email sent in to corporate about me. I used to have this lady come in and sit at the bar and have a glass of wine and dinner before she would go to the hospital to be with her husband. I never found out what was wrong with her husband but I don’t think he ever got better. Apparently having me wait on her and joke around with her was the highlight of her days during that trying time in her life. She had written that email that said how awesome I was and how my sense of humor was the best part of coming to the OG and how much she appreciated my level of service. In addition to all the nice words the customer wrote, when the bar manager posted it on the board she wrote things like ‘Way to be a ROCKSTAR!’ and ‘This is what we expect ALL of our [garden hos] to be like’. Ahh the irony. The sweet, buttery irony.
The day before I was supposed to take a few days off so that me and Mrs. Bear could go looking for a house so that we could get out of that dumpy apartment I walked in the door and clocked in and the GM and the newest rookie New Sheriff manager sat me down to talk about my extracurricular activities. Line by line, word by word they asked me to explain everything on the CD they had. And they mocked me for it when I referred to it as my art. Darden’s tech guys tracked down the soundclick upload but they didn’t know if it had gotten ten hits or ten thousand, so I didn’t tell them. When they asked me what should they do about the situation I said ‘Nothing. As long as I’m a bartender writing stupid songs that nobody is going to listen to then I’m not really a problem.’ What I didn’t say was that if they fired me for this I would become a bigger pain in their ass than they could possibly imagine.
They suspended me with pay (a first for me in this business) until they decided how to best fuck everything up as much as possible. A week later they told me I was fired.
We are almost through with this tale, kids. See the next installment Birth of a Restaurant Industry Advocate Episode VI: Return of The JerBear