When Ben was a couple of months old, I went back to work as a waitress. I’d waited tables for years before, so I was eagerly hired at the new pizza place that opened up in town. In a sea of newbies, I was a Master of my Trade. Queen of the Kingdom.
The general manager of the restaurant was a guy I’ll call Phil (although, I am stating for the record, this was not his name) and he was a decent guy. For an over-worked underpaid restaurant GM, that’s a huge thing.
He’d show up on the weekends and despite occasionally trying to get us to unsuccessfully have team building meetings at 5PM when the dinner rush was beginning to discuss things like “selling more pizza,” and often telling a server who was so slammed that she was eyeball deep in the weeds to “smile more,” I always liked him. Probably because he called me “efficient” which is a label–unlike ‘stupid bitch’ which I am called quite often–that I had never before heard.
Hokey and corny, yes, but Phil was a good guy. Which meant we’d often mock him behind his back–although, I must add, not unkindly–and try to do our best Phil impression. This often involved frowning a lot and bursting out conspiratorially with the often-heard “I think someone is stealing cheese,” and by far and away the best impersonator was one of the managers, a mexican dude named Cesar.
One Saturday night after close, Cesar, who was the night manager, pulled from the manager’s office this large cloth contraption. Mystified, we all grabbed our smokes and gathered ’round, our piles of tips left on the tables near the halfway rolled up basket of silverware. Cesar was laughing so hard that he was crying. Although this wasn’t uncommon as he was known for his excellent sense of humor, we all clamored to know what the hell was so fucking funny.
Once he’d caught his breath and wiped the tears, he turned around the cloth contraption he was holding. On the back it had been brown but on the front, it was red. With large circles of purple and dots of grey felt and slices of green felt. It took us a moment to realize what we were looking at, but we all saw it at the same time.
“Holy SHIT,” Amy–another server–yelled. “That’s a gigantic fucking pizza suit.”
And it was.
Phil had bought us, for no reason we could ascertain, a gigantic triangle-shaped pizza suit. I can swear to you, The Internet as my witness, that I have never, ever laughed so hard in my entire life. It was a typical Phil thing (it is killing me, I should add, to not tell you his real name not because it’s an exciting name, but because I can’t think outside the effing box) to do: pointless yet hilarious, hokey yet comedic, and one of those things that no one else would think was a good idea.
I mean, sure, I do sometimes see those poor fuckers, dressed up as a taco or a sandwich on the side of the road. We live far enough from stuff that driving from place to place is a necessity, so these people merely stand listlessly on the side of the road, wilting in the heat and freezing in the cold and choking on the exhaust of Escalades and Bentley’s. And I will tell you that I have never, ever, EVER stopped to eat somewhere because they had a person dressed as a chicken sadly standing at the side of the road.
If anything, I keep driving and pretend for both of our sakes that it never happened. I had not seen an actual humiliated person standing there, dressed as a large Chicago hot dog or a milk shake. Seemed healthier that way for all parties.
Anyway, there we were, a cluster of servers, bartenders and delivery drivers, staring slack jaw awash in awe of the possibilities that only a gigantic felt pizza suit would provide.
Part Number B will air on Monday.