1. Tuesday, August 13, 2002

    people often ask me what i do for a living 

    and usually i say something obvious or predictable and that’s because i like my privacy, as im sure that you like yours.

    born to wealthy industrialists my trust fund was busting at its seams by the time that i graduated high school but instead of hanging around the suburbs of chicago, i high tailed it to the beaches of california the day after i received my diploma.

    yes there were friends and family that i left behind, but for all of its values and realness and predictable charms, i felt stifled and oppressed by the underlying conservative overtones of daily life in illinois.

    first thing i did was get a job. i had never had a job so the only place that would hire me was at mcdonald’s. fine.

    since that job i have had dozens, and i tell you right now, that job was the hardest that i ever suffered through.

    three words: you have time to lean, you have time to clean.

    i cleaned the toilets, the floors, the tables, the chairs, the parking lot, the grill, the fryers, the fences.

    when the sun went down i took down the flag.

    a month later they let me in the kitchen.

    when you start in the kitchen you just don’t get to start making big macs immediately. first they put me on the fried goods: the filet o’ fish, french fries, and mcnuggets.

    hard to fuck up dumping a bag of frozen stuff into grease and hitting a huge button. when the incredibly annoying beep starts blasting, hit the button again and lift up the “food”.

    if you were making filet o’ fish, this would be a good time to put the buns in the toaster, when they were toasted, add a shred of lettuce and a squirt of sauce. wrap it up and tell juan you’ve got four filets up. he will say thank you.

    everything was thank you.

    tony, we need a bag of fries and then another bag of fries. thank you.

    thank you, rudy.

    once you got over to the grill they would say, gimme 12 burgers and 6 macs on the turn.

    burgers required you to turn them over.

    if you turned over a row of burgers, that usually meant that you were finished “dressing” the buns, and you were removing meat from the grill that was done.

    which meant that there was now room on the grill which meant you could fill that with 8 quarter pounders with cheese, 12 burgers, or 6 macs.

    i loved that fucking job.

    for about 4 months. then i got burned out big time.

    i did get the phone number of a sassy young mexican girl named jeannie.

    i took her on a date in my cadillac. i had a cadilac that was willed to me from my dead rich industrialist grandmother.

    jeannie was the first girl that i went on a date with in california and i was seventeen driving a caddy working at mcdonalds.

    i cant remember what we did but kroq was playing the smiths “how soon is now” depeche mode’s “master and servant” and wham’s “wake me up before you go-go.”

    mtv played billy idol, bruce springsteen, prince and madonna.

    a few of the fellas at the mcdonalds crew were excellent breakdancers and i told them they were so fucking stupid, but soon i bought some parachute pants, chinese karate shoes and a baggy newwave white muscle shirt, my black leather jacket had many zippers. i might have gone dancing with her at the Odyssey before it burned down.

    i don’t remember that date being bad, but i don’t remember ever going out with her again.

    anyhow i pulled my money out of the market after the first black monday hit in 87 when i was in italy on vacation unable to do a damn thing about anything. i put most of the cash into the innards of a stuffed mule and mailed it to the united negro college fund.

    the rest i kept for myself put it into a savings account at 3%. the banker said bonds were safer and way more profitable for that size of a deposit. i said, at mcdonalds we had a saying that the customer was always right.

    later i would take some of that money out of savings and buy the mcdonald’s that once hired me.

    currently im a substitute teacher for the la school district.

    and i volunteer at the children’s hospital down the street.

    believe it or not, but they need people to hold the newborn babies. nurses used to handle this chore, but nowadays hospitals cannot afford their valuable time for such mundane tasks. so the volunteers sit in rocking chairs with masks and scrubs and little bottles and if ever i have experienced a win win situation its during those hours.

    when im done i get back into my elvis outfit and panhandle out front of the mission.