I've contributed to perhaps the best humor compilation I've ever read. Available now on Amazon!

My second chapbook, "The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats" is now available as either a paper chapbook or as a downloadable item. See below for the Pay Pal link or click on its cover just to the right of the newest blog post to download to your Kindle, iPad, or Nook. Just $3.99 for inspired tales of gin, gambling addiction and inter-feline betrayal.

My first chapbook, I Was Raised to be A Lert is in its third printing and is available both via the PayPal link below and on smashwords! Order one? Download one? It's all for you, baby!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I Can’t Believe You Don’t Know That

I am what is euphemistically known as a job-hopper. In other words, while you may hire me, you can’t count on that sticking.

Dull work; difficult, patronizing people; ridiculous commutes? Time to go!

The job before this one was a poor fit for a number of reasons, including vocal homophobia, boisterous and confrontational political righteousness, and small-town cronyism.

Located in a small town and employing people from surrounding and much smaller towns, many of the employees had known each other since kindergarten; and they saw no reason to meet anyone new: they knew everything they needed to know, knew all the people they’d ever need to meet…

One daily aspect of my job was to post, on the corporate “intra-web”, the lunch special at the diner across the street from the warehouse (30-some miles away from the corporate headquarters). Every morning I called the diner and asked them what the specials were.

The warehouse people appreciated being able to know what lunch was without actually crossing the street.

I never cared much for the woman who answered the phone at the diner. Have you seen the movie Fargo? That is the accent you should be hearing in your head for the following dialogue.

“Small Town Feed Seed and Mercantile.”

“Hi, Cheryl. It’s Pearl. What are the specials today?”

“We’ve got a hot ham-and-cheese sandwich with chips and a pickle; we’ve got chicken and wild rice soup with a roll, and we’ve got a hot beef commercial.”

Until she mentioned the “hot beef commercial” I had been typing furiously. This made me stop. A hot beef what?

“What?” I said. “What’s a hot beef commercial?”

An explosive puff of air escaped her lips. Obviously, poor Cheryl was dealing with an idiot.

She didn’t bother trying to hide it in the tone of her voice.

A hot beef commercial*,” she explained, exacerbated, “is the same as the hot turkey commercial, only beef.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what ya get for asking what passes, in some circles, as a stupid question.



*OK. I’ll tell you. According to Kim in Accounting, the “commercial” is regional-truck-stop-speak for an open-faced hot beef sandwich and a side of mashed potatoes, all smothered in beef gravy (commonly known as a Hot Beef Sandwich).

Personally, having been a truck-stop waitress in Minnesota, I have never heard anyone, ever, refer to a hot beef sandwich as a “commercial”. I have yet to meet one single person who, after hearing me tell this story, said, “Oh, my God, that’s what we call them back in Insert Your Town Here.” If you’ve heard of this term would you please, please tell me about it? It’s killing me.

36 comments:

FrankandMary said...

I had a conversation in the workplace with a sighing, blinking, "Why doesn't she understand my obvious point?" person as well. She was talking about inside children. ? This went on for a good while with me trying to figure out what it meant by the other things she was saying. When she had to explain it I thought she was joking. EVERYONE else seemed to just "know." Inside children were the children she had once she married, her outside child was the one she had when she was a teen. I wanted to stop working there too. ~Mary

The Retired One said...

Good lord, No!!
But would she have known what a pasty is? (No, it really is a food, not those twirly things!)... The Retirement Chronicles

Mandy's Kidding said...

I have never heard this expression before. But now I'm going to use it, in a lewd sense.

"I need a hot beef commercial."

*Waggles eyebrows*

Blue Eyes said...

I am surprised by your use of the word "chips". Don't you call them fries? Chips is the English word!!

lisa said...

All that food sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen....Hey, Joe, I think we've got a Cardiac Commercial stat!

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

Ah've nevah heard of it in ma laff.

underOvr (aka The U) said...

I can't help this time Pearl,

Beef, turkey, tunafish, veggie, egg salad or whatever; I got no clue.

Someone uses the suffix word "commercial" and my first thought is a TV Ad; but that's just me.

U

Warty Mammal said...

Well, gosh. I guess that lady is CEO material fer sure.

nsiyer said...

Commercial to me is something dealing with transactions or at the best an ad.
Pl. do visit my blog.

Prefers Her Fantasy Life said...

If those small townies are going to live in our country, they should at least speak proper English.

powdergirl said...

Never heard of it.
Horrid name for a meal, not a bad name for an all male porn site advertisement.

Under the Influence said...

We just call that an Open Faced Beef Roast Sandwich here in Ohio.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Not just you, U.

Pearl, if you were to ask for a hot beef commercial in Manchester it would almost certainly involve a trip to the Gay Village.

(adds another entry to the list of phrases he will never say out loud on a bus...)

The Jules said...

Does randomly adding words onto the end of dishes result in culinary colloquialisms?

I'll have a hot beef commercial, a duck a l'orange spreadsheet with a side order of chipped spanners please. Oh, and a caffeine free cola speakerphone.

Douglas said...

Everywhere I have lived it's been called a Hot Roast Beef Sandwich (usually pronounced "sammitch". Often shortened to "Hot Roast Beef". As in "Gimme a Hot Roast Beef".

Chips in the US are potato chips, not fries. Most sandwiches come with chips unless you ask for fries. I wonder if that confuses newly arrived Brits?

Pretty Things said...

I would have had trouble participating in that phone conversation without snorting coffee out my nose!

SweetPeaSurry said...

Sorry girl ... those peeps just be WHACK!

Sweet Cheeks said...

Waving hand furiously!!!!

No...it is never referred to as a commercial...ever.

And I live in a SMALL town.

She was secretly yanking you chain Peggles...

:)

Incidentally...at work we get a fax every week from a small eatery across town...it's pretty funny...Always makes me laugh when I get it because it is marked 'Urgent'...

Beth said...

Yipes! I seriously thought there was something wrong with me at first because I didn't *get* the commercial part of the comment. Never heard that before.

And southerners are used to hearing crazy talk.

♥ Braja said...

Phew, thank God I did a "bless the cows" post today, all this beef talk would upset their little pure hearts :)

Well, my cow babies have pure cow hearts, anyhooo....

xx

Ms Sparrow said...

Pearl, I've lived in southern MN, northwestern MN and east central MN and I ain't never heard of no
"beef commercial". Methinks the wench was a ditz!

Eskimo Bob said...

Perhaps she meant an 'advertisement beef sandwich'. Or maybe the ever-famous 'Marketable Hot Turkey'. Maybe even the 'Salable Sandwich'?

Any of those bong the pavement? (ring a bell)

Suzy said...

A HOT BEEF COMMERCIAL????? No, never heard of it EVER.

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

hmmph! I bet she wouldn't have used that tone if it had been a customer asking.

Ankit said...

Well, its still fine that they atleast give you the sandwich and just call it a commercial.

Think about if you get to see the commercial with no sandwich. In this case it would be a veggie lunch.

:)

Bevie said...

Hot Beef Sandwich. And I've lived in rural Minnesota a good portion of my life. I didn't know what a Commercial Sandwich was until I read it just now on your blog.

troutay said...

On what planet was this?
I have lived in Minnesota - urban or city. all of my life and I have never heard this. Especially since I have a friend who is on a life long mission to find the perfect hot roast beef sandwich (we don't call it sammich, only G W. Bush calls it that). So, I know hot roast beef sandwiches and cafes here in MN. And if something was labeled as a "commercial", I do not think I would order that.

Completely Alienne said...

And I thought you spoke English over there! What an odd expression.

NB Douglas, in England we call potato chips 'crisps'.

kris said...

Excellent blog, nice presentation and contents. I am so proud to Vote and just now I voted for your blog in blogger choice awards. Keep it up and write more please. I invite your valuable visit and suggestions about my blog, http://businessvartha.blogspot.com
Please check your account in bloggerchoice awards to see my vote. I hope you are so kind to vote for my blog also

Lisa said...

hilarious- a hot beef commercial........sounds like an add for a porn movie xx

Pearl said...

Such lovely comments from everyone!

I have a pile of work waiting for me but had to post quickly.

She was quite serious about the Hot Beef Commercial. The child in me SO wants to drive back down there (central, southern Minnesota) and point out to her that she's the only one using that expression and it's time to stop now...

Mary -- I've never heard of the "inside" children either. Would've thought it was the kids she didn't let out of the house!

Crisps/chips, chips/fries, tater tots/???. I can't say more about that without getting hungry, and I'm hours away from lunch...

I do agree that a Hot Beef Commercial sounds like something in the porn industry; and while I briefly considered a career in WRITING porn, I think I'm gonna let that go. (What?! I could use the money -- but perhaps not at the price it may cost my mind...)

And as a quick aside, troutay, you mentioned the pursuit of the perfect Hot Beef Sandwich. I, too, am on that quest! Be sure to let me know which ones are best. My father had a truckstop in Anoka in the early- mid-80s and they made the best HBS on the planet: beef from the roast, real gravy, real mashed potatoes. Gulp. I have to stop talking about this now.

Jess said...

No. I have no idea what you are talking about at all. I know ham and I know turkey though! AND I know how to properly order my food at Waffle House. Scattered, smothered, covered and peppered. Sometimes capped, but mostly just the above. Ohhh I am hungry for some Waffle House now!

Scrappy Doo said...

ok give me the # to the greasy spoon and I will call her and ask her just WTF is up with that made up kinda name.
I would have had to have said something not so sweet when she shot back at me like I was the idiot!
JEEZZZ
small town folk!
hehe
Scrappy

Blue Eyes said...

A sandwich comes with crisps? If you got that in England you would complain. A sandwich is either on its own or with chips (fries) as a side. You would never get a sandwich and crisps (chips), let alone a hot commercial with chips (crisps). But that is not to say that people would not buy a pre-made sandwich in a plastic box and also buy a packet of crisps (chips) in a shop (commercial premises).

Ugh now I'm confused.

Kellie said...

I was actually just in rural MN and there WERE commercials on the menu - a hot beef or a turkey commercial to be preicse. Bread Roast beef, potatos and gravy...Yummy, yummy.
But I did not get at first what they were talking about - it refers to the grade of beef that was used to make these samitches when they were first made......Commercial is a lower grade of beef. I would not be a believer but I had one my own self just this weekend

R. Jacob said...

is it lunch time yet? If you are buying I am driving!
wait, that was for a beer run...