Monday, March 14, 2005

Ding dong

This New York Times article about delivery guys brought back mostly fond memories of one of my earliest jobs: the summer after my first year in college, I was a pizza delivery boy at a Mr. Gatti's restaurant in Hermitage, Tenn. I learned a few things.
  • The pay is crap. You knew that already, of course, and so did I. But I was still very much living at home, so it didn't matter in the least.
  • The wealthy don't tip. The area had modest old houses, as well as nice new ones occupied by rich people who intended to stay that way, even if it meant stiffing pizza boys. Of course, they were forgetting a useful life lesson: be excellent to the people who handle your food. Not that I did anything inappropriate. I'm just saying.
  • There's not a lot of room for advancement. I pitied a fellow driver named Tim, who it seemed to me tried his hardest to be obsequious to management and thereby open doors. But there just weren't that many doors at Mr. Gatti's, except for the one that led to the dumpsters out back. But even more memorable was my boss, Rick, who liked me because I was a college boy; we frequently talked about books. Rick was in a military reserve unit, which was significant because toward the end of that summer Iraq invaded Kuwait, and President G.H.W. Bush began mobilizing forces in the Persian Gulf region. I was 19 and scared shitless of getting drafted. But when I asked Rick if he worried about being sent to war, he looked around the dismal interior of Mr. Gatti's and replied, "I can't wait."

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