clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:


New, 535 comments


Florida v Missouri
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images
  1. The time we worked at a Rio Bravo up in Kennesaw for a summer with this guy we’ll call Matt. We were both bus boys. I spent my free time that summer reading Raymond Chandler and buying liquor to take back to Florida. He spent his summer listening to White Zombie and working on his car. It was, like, a Fiero with an engine so over tweaked it sounded like it was on the verge of exploding at idle.
  2. Matt was obviously three hundred times cooler than me.
  3. That summer had this stretch where the heat got up over 100 for something like two weeks straight in Atlanta. The kitchen had no ventilation to begin with, but with the heatwave it became unbearable. Being in there for ten minutes soaked a shirt through. Line cooks had to spend whole shifts in there, and even with fans blowing at full blast it turned into a outright hellpit by 10 a.m.
  4. Line cooks passed out a few times. In a rare display of concern about a line cook actually fainting face-first onto a grill (and the gigantic lawsuit to follow), they let the staff hand almost all the shifts to a Kenyan dude named George who swore the heat did not bother him. George worked the whole time over open flames, occasionally drinking water that didn’t even have ice in it. I hope he made all the overtime that week.
  5. George did this in a place full of people from the humid, steaming armpits of America. He pulled off the hardest act of weather-stunting over people I have ever seen, or ever will. George would barely sweat through a shirt. He did it easily. I hope he lives somewhere where he’s comfortable now, like on the surface of the sun or in Columbia, South Carolina.
  6. In the middle of that stank-ass stretch of the summer Matt and I were working together when he had a question: Could I take a shift for him? Having no life whatsoever at the time, I said that was fine. Matt had just gotten tickets for a White Zombie show. Did I like White Zombie? Well, they seemed fine, I said—which was sort of the truth. White Zombie seemed like a horrorcore kind of deal, which required boots and heavier clothing than I was willing to wear for a lifestyle choice.
  7. Like Goth: I respected it for the commitment, but rejected it because heavy fabrics and eyeliner seemed like a lot to ask of someone who lived in a subtropical climate. Deepest of respect to those who answer that call, and to all hot weather Goths in general.
  8. Matt almost got pissed: White Zombie fucking RULES, dude. He then leaned against the tortilla machine while plates piled up on tables behind him and for five solid minutes tried to explain White Zombie’s greatness to me.
  9. Only a co-worker saved me. He was another bus boy, a Mexican dude named Alejandro who pulled up, assessed the situation instantly, and broke in by saying: “Hey, that all sounds great. But you know what a really good song is? ‘Sleepwalk’ by Santo and Johnny.” Matt, too confused to continue, simply grabbed his bus tub and went back out onto the floor.
  10. Alejandro was right: “Sleepwalk” is a really good song.
  11. Fast-forward a day to what I think was a Thursday. The concert was on a Saturday night. Giving your boss two days notice that your switching shifts isn’t great form, but when that employee has taken care of the shift by transferring it, it doesn’t seem like the worst thing to do in the world. Add in being the most and least necessary person in a restaurant—a bus boy, an automaton shoveling other people’s dishes and garbage into the right holes in the kitchen while sometimes fighting the ice machine when it breaks—and it didn’t seem like a big deal. I thought it was done, and had already cancelled by plans to sit at home and watch Goodfellas for the 57th time.
  12. The manager disagreed. I found them arguing by the dumpster dock during the dinner rush. The dumpster dock was this hallway leading to a gate you could open to throw garbage right into the dumpster, where a truck could drive right up to it and take it away. The gate was open; Matt stood by it with an overfilled bus tub at his feet. It was packed with fajita irons, plates, half-eaten food, napkins, utensils, and knowing the people who frequented the Kennesaw Rio Bravo, at least two empty packs of Marlboros.
  13. The manager was like every restaurant manager. He was probably arguing because fuck this kid, and fuck my job, and fuck how I just stayed awake for most of three days working and drinking and blowing the money I should have saved instead of plowing it into a fishing boat I get to use once a week. He was tired, and this buttwad of a bus boy wanted to go to a concert, and you know what? That manager probably wanted to go to a concert, too, but he had to work the night shift, close the place, and probably wake up the next morning to take all the soon-to-spoil food in the restaurant and turn it into brunch for the Baptists the next morning. He had no reason to say no to Matt—but he had reasons.
  14. So when the manager said “I didn’t put you in this spot. You did. That’s your problem. I just have a restaurant to run. The rest is your problem”? That’s when I saw Matt get the deadest look on his face, pick up the bus tub, and say “No, that sounds like your problem now, dude.” Matt then dumped the entire bus tub into the dumpster, iron fajita plates and all, and walked out of the restaurant.
  15. I know they were in the dumpster, because I was one of the ones to fish them out later. In my head, I also hear Matt walking out to Rob Zombie yelling YEAHHH from “Thunderkiss 65”. That didn’t happen, but it should have.
  16. Anyway, Matt quit and went to his White Zombie concert. Florida lost this weekend to Mizzou 42-16, and falls to a dismal 3-5 on the year.
  17. The part where the two stories converge: After making a business decision and theatrically quitting on management he had no investment in, Matt had to come back to the restaurant to pick up his last check a week later, because inevitably, when someone quits something, they usually have to come back a week later for something. Florida did that, and has to come back to the same locker room, with the same coaches and players, all after doing that, and all with the knowledge that no one the players are playing for will be there next year.
  18. It’s grim comedy to do it once, but it gets worse here. Florida has to do it three more times. That’s time for it to get funny, then sad, then funny again, and then sad, and then funny, and then maybe sad again. That’s a lot of bus tubs, man. Just so many sad bus tubs thrown into the dumpsters, and so much stuff for someone else to pick out of the garbage when it’s done.
  19. I thought 2014 was the worst. But the other lesson here: rock bottom is just another name for the ceiling of a future basement.
  20. At least Randy Shannon has no chance of pulling an Orgeron and getting the interim job? There’s a silver lining somewhere in this dumpster and we’re going to find it.