In the Weeds: Good Day, Sir!
I ended last week’s column with an unintentional cliffhanger. The feedback I received was mostly of the “yeah, uh huh, and then what??” variety. Some even wondered if a technical glitch kept them from reading the end of my story from inside The KC Steinbrenner’s office. I suppose that the scaly server skin I developed during the last several years prevented me from seeing this, because, well, that . . . that feeling of emptiness was exactly the point. I walked out of there feeling the same way that most felt after reading it. Namely: huh?
I’ll do my best to satisfy the shortcomings of my disclosures, but I admit that while I write here with time to sip wine and reflect on my words, I too suffer from the post-intense-conversation regrets. The common torment of thinking of what you should have said 20 minutes after a crucial exchange does not spare even this sassified blogger.
So I propose one more look at the “firing scene” to rectify my dull actual reaction (mostly stoic faced with red eyes . . . shame!) and to satisfy inquiring minds. Only this time, I will insert fake witticisms that I wish I had employed.
Steinbrenner’s first statement after I was seated was actually a classic trapping line. My parents used it on me, and I plan to use it on my kids. It’s ambiguous, effective, and scary. “I think you know what we need to talk about.” This opens up the possibility that you’ll admit to something they actually know nothing about, giving them even more ammunition. I went with wide-eyed ignorance but wish I would have fibbed a shocker like, “You’re undeniably attracted to me, too?” That at least would have delivered an early bolo punch.
Next was the part we’ve been over already. He said he knew about the blog and was “disturbed.” “Quite disturbed” was the actual phrase I think. Again, me, saying “okay” but now with eyebrows slightly lowered and head ever-so-slightly tilted as if I’m really concentrating on what he’s saying. But I wasn’t. And that’s why I don’t remember much of the middle part of the conversation to relay here. I was busy thinking about if I was going to get a lecture or if he was actually going to pull the trigger. When the executive chef somehow pulled a Cirque du Soleil contortionist move and squeezed his way into the office and sat down, I really thought it could be curtains for me. Two managers must be present to fire someone. They both pull a lever at the same time so that they’ll never know which one actually delivered the lethal injection, thereby protecting their spirits from any adverse effects.
Nobody ever said, “You’re fired.” Instead I got the watered down reality show line of, “Unfortunately, this is the end of the road for you here.” I said some super lame stuff about how it was anonymous, how I don’t hate my job – just the opposite – and how it was written in humor and what not. Steinbrenner, never one to turn his back on a good firing, was having none of it. It was somewhere around this time that he mentioned the word . . . integrity. I won’t even say here all zingers that came to mind later. Suffice to say that it was a very jagged little pill to swallow coming from a restaurant manager with decades of experience. It takes a lot of qualities to climb your way into upper-level restaurant management, but integrity is not one of them.
But truly, the best part for sheer entertainment was the last bit. After he leveled me with the news, Steinbrenner did look a little sad. Then he said he had some questions. And this is when he pulled out the list. My head was still spinning as he unfolded the paper and looked at a numbered list. As I said last week, question number one was if I had actually seen anyone’s balls in the pantry. I explained again that “In the Weeds” is written in humor and while we occasionally lift our aprons in jest, we are fully clothed underneath. There were another three or four questions about stories from my column (ex: prom kids with blue drinks, bartenders serving servers, hot dogs in salads) and I wish I would have said, “These are your questions?” Then I wish I would have jumped up and shouted that had I studied the company Internet/Blogging policy and was certain I was all good. But he probably would have gone all Willy Wonka on me. And that would have been the perfect ending.
KC Steinbrenner: Wrong, sir! Wrong! Under section 37B of the contract signed by you, it states quite clearly that all offers shall become null and void if – and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy:
“I, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained,” et cetera, et cetera…”Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum,” et cetera, et cetera…”Memo bis punitor delicatum!”
KC Steinbrenner: It’s all there, black and white, clear as crystal! You stole fizzy lifting drinks! You bumped into the ceiling which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get NOTHING! You lose! Good day, sir!
Me: I’ll get even with him if it’s the last thing I’ll ever do. If Slugworth wants a gobstopper, he’ll get one.