All They Wanted was the Fish!
Due to a lack of profoundly interesting things to write on this blog at the present time, I've decided to pull out the old "History of Troy" volume 1 (1976-1995). We'll start with some stories from my high school job at a local pizza eatery.
It was a Friday night and I toiled behind the garbage-truck sized oven making "roll-outs". This involved me getting very hot (in the temperature sense) and shoving ball after fist-sized ball of dough through the roller. Once deemed flat enough (a precise measurement taking into consideration the type of crust and how much more rolling I felt like), it would be smoothed into a pan and handed to the cook who would fill it up with sauce, cheese, and other toppings.
Friday evening was the second worst pizza night in the week since high school football games were ending all over town, and nothing makes the mouth water for pizza like high school football apparently. The absolute worst evening is Sunday, but we'll get to that in another blog.
A typical Friday evening is made up of a fairly heavy dinner crowd, followed by a deceptive lull. A lull in which you think you should hustle about cleaning up the restaurant with the misguided hopes that you might get to go home early. A lull that lasts just long enough for you to finish your cleaning. The lull ends with the second loudest, second messiest, second most obnoxious crowd ever imagined barging in the door looking like a cabal of peasants on their way to burn a witch. It is perhaps the second most depressing thing in the world. (Remember, the worst night is Sunday. This is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg).
The customers (henceforth referred to as "the enemy") take up positions throughout the restaurant and then proceeds to launch an all out barrage of orders consisting of the cheapest combination of items possible.
I met this attack by the enemy with anger, or some might say shock, followed by awe. Then, one night, I decided that mayhaps a festival of humor would not only rally the troops, but calm the school spirit junkies outside as well. The idea came to me in a vision, or perhaps it was steam from the noodle cooker. At any rate, an idea materialized out of the smoky cloud that was or was not part of my imagination. A fish! A large dough fish! At the time (again, it was hot back there), it was the most brilliant idea ever conceived by man.
I set about the creation of my fish in much the same was as Michelangelo probably set about the painting of the Sistine chapel. While my work was decidedly more short lived, and never made it into any art books, I'm soundly positive that it was at least revered in equal merit by the mob of teenagers present that night. Some of them will tell stories of that night to their sleepy grandchildren.
I constructed a 5 foot long fish out of dough, carved a criss-cross pattern in its hide with a knife (scales!) and shoved him into the fiery inferno called the freaking hot oven. Then, I waited. 7.5 minutes later, it was born. A golden brown pizza crust fish! Brilliant!
I burned my hands on the darn thing, then let it sit to cool for a while. The culmination of my plan began with me sticking the front part of the fish out of the door that swings back and forth and moving him up and down in a general fish-like motion. I did this for about 15 seconds, and then pulled him back in, out of the view of the hungry mass outside.
Giggles and laughs and confused "What are you looking at?"s seeped their way back behind the counter to the kitchen, where the fish lay in wait for another sortie. I repeated what must have been the strangest thing anyone has ever seen at a pizza eatery several times that night. Then, during the busiest part of the evening, something amazing happened. Total validation of my scheme arrived at the moment the P1 (the register) girl came running back. The crowd was becoming unruly... "They want the fish!" she said. "They want the fish!"
I was never angry at the crowd again, after all, all they wanted was the fish.