Friday, September 22, 2006

Wally's World Of Work Part 3

The recap: I’m telling stories about my varied job experiences over the years. We’re up to my third job: Mazzio’s Pizza (Fall 1985 to Fall 1987). A quick summary would include “lots of beer, lots of girls, lots of cursing, and a .22 automatic on my person.” Well, those words are from “Paul Revere” by the Beastie Boys but take out the .22 automatic and it’s a match. The 2 years I spent flinging dough there were tumultuous ones filled with hangovers and spite.

I’ve been grappling with what and how to write about those years and just as those years were filled with conflict I’ve been at war with myself over this entry. How best to capture those times? I fear that if I stick to narrative it would take years to properly record. I toyed with an outline format that I would later expand upon:

The people: a mix of high school and college kids. Some were cool, some were not, and some were just this side of retarded. I might have fit all three of those.

The owners: were a bit silly to say the least.

The job: making pizzas, running a register, taking delivery orders, sometimes delivering a pizza, and the usual cleaning chores.

But this would not do. That method would be too sterile and trite. So what you’re going to get is what I’m dubbing spontaneousiary – a fancy word smash that means I’m just going to jot down some memories about the place for a few thousand words and then call it a day. So this will be very incomplete and leap back and forth through time with paragraph breaks becoming arbitrary unfilled spaces just so your eyes can rest.

I felt like I could never rest at that joint. It was full time labor followed up with full time partying with my co-workers. Shotgun beers, liquor, other substances; the party never ended. I’d come to work hung over and bent. There were a few times I made it as far as the parking lot across the street where I’d crawl to the payphone to tell them I was sick and wouldn’t be in that day. I’d crawl back to my car and fall asleep.

I was listening to lots of Suicidal Tendencies and Sex Pistols at the time. Repeatedly; just one after the other all morning long when I had a night shift and all evening when I worked the day shift. The Mazzio’s uniform was a blue polo shirt with a matching trucker cap. The pizza sauce stains were almost impossible to get out. Nobody liked dealing with the sauce kettle. The sauce would splash out when you poured it in the pan. Later you’d have to clean the kettle and the sauce would burn and stick to it.

We started selling spaghetti so I promptly spilled the water in the maker on my left hand. I got 2nd degree burns, a trip to the emergency room, and a month or so on workmen’s compensation. It was a blessing in disguise because I started hanging out with the Gonz again instead of spending all of my time getting wasted. Burning my hand is probably what led me into forming The Dislocated.

I threw my shoes one night in the parking lot. It sounds stupid and mundane on paper, but it was dynamic the night it happened. I was supposed to go running around with all of old high school crew so they were waiting for me to get off the clock at 9 pm. The restaurant was packed with people ordering crap like large taco pizzas with diet cokes and the owners wouldn’t let me leave. My buds waited for me and when I emerged a good 45 minutes late I was pissed. I had bought some new Converse earlier that day so the old shoes had to go. It was a marvelous feeling slinging those old worn out shoes into the humid night air.

I wrote my first punk song about the place. It was called “Work Sucks” and the song was pure comedic genius. It was mean, puerile, and was so simple I could play it on guitar. When we played our first gig I heard that everybody really liked us except for our one original. If they’d worked at Mazzio’s they might have thought different.

If a Mazzio’s reunion was held; who would I want to see? I wouldn’t want to run into the two owners collectively known as Richbob (that’s who we really worked for: Richbob Corporation). I would like to run into Doug Camp even if he was the dude that dubbed me “Bonehead” one night. Sure I put a hot nachos plate up for a customer at the counter forgetting to put it in its carrying tray. I was probably still hung over or something. Camp was a cool dude and a helluva artist. He could draw anything. We spent many, many nights drinking, listening to heavy metal, and talking about nothing with his favorite topic being the Bell Witch since he was from Adams, Tennessee. We even got together a few times to go spelunking in nearby caves, but we never made it up to the Bell Witch cave.

Were there ladies I crushed on? There were a few, but I was too goofy to make a play on any of them. Sometimes we’d convince a few to come over after work where we’d get drunk watching The Song Remains The Same and they would just sit perplexed. There was the one girl named Tammy that I talked out of going into real estate because I thought she was too nice. I wouldn’t mind finding out what she did with her life. Then there was a girl named Wonderling that I once got to kiss. We were playing Pass Out so it didn’t really count. She was engaged to some guy I thought was a total dork. He managed the pet department of the local Wal-Mart and I despised him. I’d be curious as to how they turned out.

I think I’ve turned out okay. I know I’m very happy with my wife and kids. Would all of the Mazzio’s crew be able to say the same? Odds are good that some of them are even dead, but I hope not. No matter how much I hated going into work every day I still had some good times. They didn’t always involve the Arkanoid machine either. The years after high school and before you turn 21 are tumultuous ones where most of your free time is spent wondering just who the hell you are. By the time I hit 21 I knew enough about myself that I didn’t want to work at Mazzio’s anymore.

I felt sick one morning and told the boss I needed to leave. He told me that if I left I was quitting. Since I had a Mojo Nixon show to attend later I couldn’t risk getting any sicker so I left. Mojo Nixon put on a great show at the Cannery that night. The next day I walked into Ace’s Pizza and got a job with them. Which is where Part 4 of Wally’s World Of Work will begin.

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