Monday, January 21, 2008
February Crushes Us in its Soul-Sucking Grip
February is upon us once more. The shortest of months. If February was an NBA player it would be the retired Spud Webb. If it was a dictator, it would have a Napoleon complex. If it was a straw and you drew it you would be in serious danger of being eaten to keep your compatriots alive. Just twenty eight short days hath February, plus one in the event of some sort of cosmic disturbance that reeks of the sulfurous stench of blasphemous scientific interference (or as you may call it, a leap year - hey I am being paid by the word here). A woeful time for those of us who live month to month, using our tips to pay the rent and the bills. Three less days of earning available to make the c-notes necessary to keep a roof over our heads and to pay for that Wii, without which our existence would be as pointless and uncentered as a chocolate doughnut missing the all important hole. So toil we must for the majority of that soul-crushing month, knowing that March and its new stack of bills lies over the ever-approaching horizon, a set of hungry sharks waiting for a chance to feed upon your corpse, bloated in hunger from endless meals of Ramen. And how is the weather? Cold and bitter, with few hours of sun, many days it seems until the flowering warmth of Spring. Only the fire of your cigarettes can keep you going in such blizzard-like conditions (this article originally written for residents of Minnesota).
What is there, then, to keep us going during this month, a time that tries men's souls (and women's on occasion too, but they are generally much tougher than you pansies, gentlemen)? We all deserve something to take our minds off of the Sisyphusian struggle that is the everyday grind. Usually I would suggest alcohol as a panacea to all ills, but I think in this case it would be a misdiagnosis. IMHO you should never ingest the good stuff when depressed. If the horrors of February are not enough to get you down than you are made of pretty stern stuff my man/woman. So how about a holiday? Its a chance to celebrate, with or without alcohol, a great opportunity to get your mind off of all of your problems and worries, whether it be money concerns or your various venereal diseases. The Super Bowl would be perfect for our use. Most of us get the day off already. Unfortunately it falls too early in the month, with 25 days of desolate desert and depression due to dip us into deep despair directly afterwards. Plus there is genearl mass quantities of booze involved and that does not jive with my earlier statement warning against its use during such troublesome times. So what else ya got? Well February does have one real holiday - it is called Valentine's Day. It falls right in the middle of the month, what perfect timing! A chance for us to emerse ourselves in the one we love the most, to fall into their arms and forget all our cares and just float away with our most cherished companion into a sea, a sea of love!
We now interrupt this cheese-ridden moment to remind you that, as a member of the industry, your ass is working on Valentine's Day. Not only that, it is one of the busiest, if not the busiest day of the year at your establishment. Plus (drumroll please), unless you work in the most upscale of establishments, you get to serve the absolute dregs your working year. Yes, there is nothing like slaving over the needs of a couple for an hour or two in exchange for the chance to be either stiffed or damn near close to it. You will put in twice the effort and be rewarded with half the tips. Quite a holiday, isn't it?
So, you might be saying to yourself, Allister or Al or Alastair or whoever the hell is writing this article sure is negative, but he, she, or it (what kind of a fucked up name is Alastair) does not seem to have any solution to the sticky problem that is February. Now calm down, I am sure to have one but I haven't thought of it yet so think of this article thus far as a delaying tactic. Surely dear reader, if it has taken you this long to take a shit you can hold on a minute longer. So what should we do about February? How about eliminating taxes on our tips - we could elect a president who would do that for us. Those previously lost tips would probably gain us the extra green needed to get us through these tough times, defeating the financially burdening albatross that is the second month. That seems like a good idea until you realize that waiters vote about as often as Pigpen uses soap or Wilt Chamberlain chooses abstinence (he is dead but I imagine he is still getting laid in heaven, otherwise what is the point of the place). During the 2004 national election the presidential race at my restaurant ended in a 1-1 tie - we had a staff of fifty (granted the kitchen workers were all unable to vote due to small legal issues such as lack of legal residency). So with all due respect to Ron Paul (good luck there guy) we are not likely to bring our unstoppable voting coalition out in the numbers required to change the system. Besides, this idea ignores the members of the industry who do not earn the majority of their pay through tips. Not that you care about them anyway ass hole.
So what is the answer to the February quandary? Maybe if we stopped smoking so much pot...... but anyway I need to quit dreaming (my favorite three dream related tunes: "Dreams" by TV on the Radio, "Dream all Day" by the Posies, and "In a Daydream" by the Freddy Johnston Band) and come up with an effective solution that is realistic and workable. My current plan is to ignore all bills and take the whole month off. No reason to have a damned heart attack over a little thing like money. What did you expect, some sort of pat answer? I'm an umemployed waiter, not Dear Abby.