Assholery, Cajun Style: a Mini-Series

June 11, 2013

Close your eyes.

No, really.

Do it.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and conjure summer.

Don’t think of summer–conjure it.  Conjuring is different than thinking.

Conjuring is alchemy;  what do you smell, taste, feel? Is it the puckery tang of cold lemonade? Is it the buzz of a lawnmower running too early on a Sunday morning? Is it the prickly tickle of grass under your feet?  When you conjure summer, where does it take you?

I’ll tell you if you’ll tell me.

Summer is zinc oxide layered on my nose and fireworks that kapow! and peaches so juicy that it’s almost annoying but you have to forgive because whoa.

Summer is sweet corn and tomatoes that deserve to be eaten and relentless, audacious sun.


Summer is the stench of a long, sweaty, continuous flow of shitty jobs.

Admit it. American Teenager=Shitty Summer Jobs.

List of Shitty Jobs, the Dana Version:

-many, many summers of pumping gas and shilling discount cigarettes (but thanks, Daddy-o for the job! For reals.)

-summer daycamp counselor (apologies, sweet Daddy, because pumping gas ain’t so bad–try removing a tick from a kid’s ear while he kicks and screeches like the Mad Hatter. Pumping gas is aces.)

-yogurt stand drone (manager: fish-lipped total pervy potential sex-offender)

-catering shop employee


That last one doesn’t seem so bad, does it?


The catering world is a dark, damaged, soul-sucking place, people. Trust me on this. You think it’s all royal icing and rainbow sprinkles but it turns out to be a sweltering hellhole where you spend 9 straight hours cutting cantaloupe into rosettes and serving alarmingly dodgy chicken salad.

The catering profession scarred me for life and I vowed never to do it again.

But then I did.


Part Two and Three to Follow.

This bee-yotch needs a nap.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Velva June 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm

It is the idea of catering that is a beautiful thing….It is the unappreciated drudgery of making it really happen that sucks.



Abby June 11, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Any behind-the-scenes food service position is an expose in waiting. Look forward to hearing this one…


elizabeth June 11, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Oh, I can’t wait! I’m dying to hear how a meal for 8-10 ballooned into a 18-person monstrosity. :)

Glad to hear you’re back and that your vacation was mostly vomit and poop free! Lots of hugs to Miss D for having to endure the monthly indignity for the first time on vacation.


elizabeth June 11, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Also, I expect a tale not unlike one in Kitchen Confidential. :)


TKW June 11, 2013 at 6:59 pm

E: The story is nasty, but lacking a sexy, irascible host. Dammit. Can’t I do anything right?


Alison June 11, 2013 at 11:40 pm

I. An. Intrigued.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes June 12, 2013 at 4:13 am

I did a few stints as a waitress for a catering company. But that was easy, my main role was to get customers drunk.
Can’t wait to read it!


TKW June 12, 2013 at 11:13 am


This event was rather similar–I wanted to get the guests drunk as possible because everything else? Freakshow.


Arnebya June 12, 2013 at 5:34 am

Alarmingly dodgy. That shit ain’t right. And I promise when I drop the chicken on my dirty ass floor, I put that piece to the side. For me. I can’t throw it out, but I also can’t serve it to anyone else. Kiss it up to God.


TKW June 12, 2013 at 11:10 am

That’s motherhood for you. You eat the dodgy chicken. You just do.


Biz June 12, 2013 at 7:56 am

Summer for me? The smell of fresh cut cantaloupe, cinnamon toast under the broiler and me in bare feet, sitting at my grandmas kitchen table and the breeze coming through her back door. I spent summers at my grandparents house – some of the best memories! :D

Hope you got your nap in! :D


TKW June 12, 2013 at 11:10 am

Biz, you got me thinking. Why don’t we make cinnamon toast anymore? Mama used to make it for us all the time, and now? I don’t know anyone who makes cinnamon toast. I think cinnamon toast deserves a revival. Shall we lead it?


Jennifer June 13, 2013 at 11:48 am

Cinnamon toast is a winter time thing for me. With lots of butter and hot chocolate on the side. So yum.


Contemporary Troubadour June 12, 2013 at 3:52 pm

I love me some cinnamon toast. Ever since I found a gluten-free bread recipe that actually makes GOOD BREAD, I’ve had the joy of this treat back. Yum.

But catering horror stories … oh man, I can’t wait for parts 2 and 3. I’ve been working my way through Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares on Netflix during the overnight pumping sessions and the terrifying condition of some of those food prep stations rivets as much as it repulses one’s gaze. I can’t help looking. (But it’s still not putting off my appetite for chocolate at 3 a.m., dammit!)

Teenage summer job experience I should have noted as indicative that I shouldn’t pursue premed in first year of college: patient transport worker at local hospital. It was heartbreaking. And also alarming that they’d pay minimum wage to have me move someone with a chest tube and oxygen rig all by myself! What if something had come loose …


TKW June 13, 2013 at 9:19 am

CT: You know, that IS scary when you think about it. Yikes! And yes, the food industry can be really, really, wrong…


SuziCate June 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm

I am probably the only person in the world who never had a summer job…not because I didn’t want moolah but because my daddy refused to let me work because he said I’d be working the rest of my life. Secretly, I think he wanted my sister and I home to work in his garden and my mom wanted us to do the housework…so we worked but we didn’t get paid! Still, all in all, summers were were for wading the creek or splashing our legs in the quarry beneath the sweltering sun.


TKW June 13, 2013 at 9:19 am


That sounds pretty wonderful.


TKW's Dad June 13, 2013 at 5:51 am

When we grow up, we realize that the world isn’t all strawberry’s and cream. As a depression baby I had to work summers to realize the value of honest, hard work and learn how the rest of my life, after school was probably going to be like. I just had to expose my daughters to some good, old fashioned real life experiences. I think it rather sad that a lot of our current youth won’t have them growing up, and come to a shocking realization later in life.


TKW June 13, 2013 at 9:20 am

Daddy-o, you are right. I learned a lot from those shitty summer jobs. I did!


Rob June 13, 2013 at 9:23 am

I got hired to waitress the breakfast service at a restaurant once, but quit before the first day. It meant getting up at the crack of dawn to be at work a few minutes after that.

Pervert boss – That would be my first job in a corner store – a news agency with hand-dipped ice cream, dirty books, a few canned goods and a card section. It was an odd mix. Pervert boss drove a purple Gremlin. He liked to back 16-year-old girls up against the counter face to face and place both hands on the counter on either side of you – and get real close! I heard one of the girls actually did things with him in the back room. Not judging, but not for me. I grabbed my first pack of cigarettes ever and quit!

I can’t wait to hear the rest of your catering story. Here’s my catering story: The venue where our daughter got married was a historic home. The woman who was supposed to manage everything stood around all day. The caterers worked their butts off, and they did it with a smile, so I gave them their tip and then I gave them the manager’s tip. They were very happy caterers. I am a good tipper.


Papa Guy June 13, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Ahh, June 11…My 61st Birthday. and you made me laugh when I did not feel like laughing. This gettin’ old shit ain’t for sissys, but You “sweetheart” made me laugh. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.
And catering is just hard work. I am so glad when big family feeds are over and everything is cleaned up. My better half and I are done and can sit and drink rye whiskey and relax. Bless you my dear, bless you.


E June 17, 2013 at 12:00 pm

You must watch the Party Down tv series, if you haven’t already. So funny! It’s on netflix.


Tiffany June 20, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Summer jobs galore…worst was cashiering at grocery store from 7-3 and the waitressing from 4-1…every single day. Of course I fell in love with Matt that summer…sooooo…. ;)


M K Countryman June 21, 2013 at 7:48 am

I forgot how much you crack me up. I have been out of touch for a while but this reminds me I need to figure out what to do with my google reader info so I don’t lose touch with these fave sites….ugh. Thanks for the laughs.


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