A Slice Of Life (from Zen And The Art f Culinary Maintenance)

 

J.T. Hilltop
I was seriously depressed, spent 33 days as an unwilling guest at a South Carolina correction facility on my way to Arizona, and I never made it any further west then freaking Georgia. I played around in Atlanta, Columbia, and Myrtle Beach, and finally realized it was time to get back home to Long Island where I could at least waste my life away with some friends.

After two wasted years and a week of senseless sporadic hitchhiking in the south I finally made it back home to Centerlawn. It had only been two years yet as I quickly learned it’s a strange new world around here. Nearly everyone I hung out with has either gotten married, moved, or joined the “Establishment” and are doing their nine to fives. As for me I‘m officially unemployed and living at home with my Dad of all people. My next tattoo way just as well be a large “L” on my forehead so everyone can see what a loser I’ve become. What a cruel world. I had to do something, I was relented to the ultimate embarrassment of getting cash from my old man for doing menial tasks around the house, which had been seriously neglected as of late. A twenty three year old earning a teenage allowance. I needed to move out on my own again really bad but jobs were scarce, and I have zero money let alone security and rent for a month. Then my old friend Universe created its mysterious cosmic connection and the answer appeared in front of me. My cosmic companion placed fates ironic ad in the classified section of the local paper, “Looking for line cook for six day week. Room and board included. Inquire at Glen City Country Club.” “Fore!”

Thank you destiny! It opened up a whole new world to me. Long Island has tons of country clubs and most of them offer room and board as part of a compensation package. I could bounce from club to club until I get back up on my feet. Hey its not like Maggs Garden Apartment but it’s a room with a bed. I went to GCCC the very next day in my best clothes wearing my best attitude and charm. I got the job on the spot thanks to all my previous restaurant experience. Zen and the Art Of Culinary maintenance is back in the house.

The country club circuit is different from restaurants. For one thing it means split shifts. The members get breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Sunday, and dinner Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday which meant a break from 3-6 on those days. Mondays the kitchen was closed so we all had a day off. The hours were very mixed up but the work was steady and the pay was decent. A great staff, quality food, lots of waitresses, and we all got along and had fun. The room and board left a bit to be desired, the staff referred to it as “The Monkey House.” A small room with a cheap bed and dresser with showers down the end of the hall but what the Hell man, it was still better than having to see Dads face everyday.

Alas, I’ve learned that anytime anything good happens to me something has to come along and fuck it up. After losing at love three times in a row I opted to not get caught up in any serious relationship but that didn’t mean I would stop flirting. As I have also learned I have a pension for flirting with disaster, this time disaster being the General Managers daughter. Eight years younger than me but she was just too hot to let pass without making a pass. I put my flirtatious charm into overdrive and soon their was a very thick air of sexually charged tension. As the Rabbi said before the Bris, “It won’t be long now”

I was employed at Glen City Country Club for just under a year when the ill advised flirting with the bosses daughter teamed up with that old practical joker JT‘s fate and raised the level from disaster to catastrophic cacophony. An accident that would send me to the hospital would set off the next series of unfortunate events in my life.

The members of the clubs get a lot of perks and have a lot of all day golfing tournaments. On most big outings we had to set up two refreshment stations serving soda, beer, water, a hamburger grill and cold sandwiches. We loaded up a golf cart with folded tables, food and drink, and ice buckets to keep stuff cold. The tournament was over and one of the other cooks, Jose, was driving the cart we had just loaded with all the tables and leftovers from the refreshment stand at the 9th hole. He was driving the loaded cart along an elevated tee, a two foot incline, when he noticed something fell out of the cart and jumped out to get it. The cart kept moving towards the edge of the incline so I reached my foot over to hit the brake. Unfortunately the gas pedal bore a striking resemblance to the brake pedal so instead of coming to a stop the cart, full loaded with me in the passenger seat picked up speed. Or it’s quite possibly the beer I snuck or the two Valiums I washed down with the beer an hour ago, but either way I put the pedal to the medal and the golf Cart took off. Literally. Not enough speed to break any golf cart speed records but enough to send the cart full speed ahead to the edge of the elevated women’s tee into a triple one and a half twist gainer with a perfect swan dive straight into the ground. … I remember seeing a bunch of things rolling around with me but don’t remember any pain. In fact I was shocked when I saw the amount of blood coming from my arm.

Jose freaked of course and in his broken English I believe he said “Jesus and crackers JT, you losing focking blood”. Indeed I was, I grabbed one of the table cloths and wrapped my arm as Jose took off towards the main house screaming “help, help, help” That’s when I passed out. I awoke in and ambulance but I was seriously disoriented. The medic told me to relax and I told him I was in considerable pain.Next thing I knew a familiar feeling of warmth spread across my body. My old friend morphine was entering my bloodstream for a reunion. I closed my eyes, smiled, asked the medic to throw away the pill box in my pocket and drifted off into a different state.

I woke up about one or two days later, my arm was tied up top a pole with this huge sock that would be too big for Shaquile O’Neil, and sitting across from me smiling was the managers daughter. I knew instinctively that nothing good could come from this, so naturally, I asked her out which was extremely awkward considering when I got out of bed I realized the tied on hospital robe I was wearing exposed my big white hairy ass….. Was tha a good thing? Or a bad thing? Time and fate would tell….
TBC

 

I

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