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Monday, December 12, 2011

Bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbblack Slacks, or It's So Hard to Get Good Help

A re-post from last June, when the sky was blue, unfrozen birds sat in trees, and Minnesotans ran about half-naked (or half-naked by December's standards, anyway). Saturday's serving job wore me out, hence no writing on Sunday. I'll be back to my "normal" self in no time, I'm sure...



I got the call.

And what do we do when we get the call?

We get Mary on the phone.

“Mary!” I shout.

She likes when I shout into the phone, especially early on a Monday morning.

“Herro,” she says, mildly.

“Herro,” I say. “Hey, you still got those black pants?”

The phone line crackles. I get the impression that Mary answered the phone whilst slouching and has just straightened up.

“Yeeeeees…” she says cautiously.

“They got a crease in ‘em?”

“Yeeeeees…”

“You still got that white button-down shirt?”

“Yeeeees…”

“Are you prepared to button those cuffs? In the bright sunlight? At noon? With no shade in sight, sweat running down your back, and the keen look of a real go–-“

“Pearl! You’re killin’ me!”

“Get the starch out, baby! We got ourselves some servin’ gigs!”

It’s true. The season of working for cash is upon us.



You see the sweating chicks over there in the black pants and white button-down shirts? Yeah. That’s me and Mary, picking up the abandoned dishes at the graduation buffet, running to get your grandparents another cup of coffee, and furtively checking our watches to see how much time is left.

What? Of course I wish the kiddies all the best! Good for you, graduating from high school like that!

Could I get you some more coffee? Another frittata? How about something from the pack-your-own hookah station?

Funny how things change.

What ever happened to the good ol’ fashioned graduation party? The one where your mom put out ham sandwiches and potato salad? The one with the keg in the garage and the cigarettes we stole from your dad?

Oh, wait. I think I may have answered my own question.

When I graduated from high school, the legal drinking age was 18. The very next year the age shifted to 19, and just a couple years later it went to 21.

As Maxwell Smart used to say: Missed me by that much.

I’m sure there are still plenty of rowdy graduation parties around – which is, at least in my mind, a fitting way to finish your formative years. To hear some people speak, though, the idea of an 18-year-old drinking several beers and sitting in a garage with a number of other similarly impaired youngsters is a bad thing.

Which brings us back to the catered graduation banquet.

I don’t mind working summer parties, although I must admit I could do without the black pants. It’s hard to keep a smile on your face when you’re developing swamp-butt, although once your brain reaches a certain temperature and the hallucinations kick in it’s actually easier to keep a smile on your face, so it all works out, when you think about it.

So there you go. Well done, high school graduates. Be well. Drive carefully. Enjoy your fruit smoothies and butlered appetizers.

Mary and I are here to serve.

22 comments:

Belle said...

In 1966 my sister was married in our home and the guests were served food my mom and grandma made. Things were simpler in the 'olden' days.

jenny_o said...

The civilized buffets are for the parents, I think. Around here at least, we have the officially sanctioned grad party with no drinking (LOL) after which the kids go to someplace remote and drink their faces off. The parents need SOMETHING, after all; hence the buffet.

Your posts bear up under repeated readings, not just one or two. Hope you are recovering well from the latest foray into black pants territory.

Leenie said...

I can always use a reminder that temps go above single digits and snot doesn't always freeze on my upper lip. Thanks. No swamp butt in December.

Shelly said...

Graduation banquets- unheard of in my day. Back then (and I think we must have graduated around the same year with the drinking age thing) it was more of a fling-your-hands-in-the-air I'm Getting' Out Of This Town As Fast As I Can kind of happy dance.

Pearl said...

And don't get me wrong -- without the buffets/banquets, I would have no "extra", ha ha, money. :-)And the places/people for whom I work can certainly afford it...

Still. A ham sandwich on one of those awesome little buns and your mom's potato salad sound good in the middle of this Minnesota winter...

Suldog said...

The drinking age thing worked the same way for me, more or less. My brother-in-law, a bit younger, wasn't quite so lucky. It changed just before each of his birthdays, so he ended up waiting another three years (supposedly.)

Denise said...

The year I turned 18 the legal was kicked up to 19. The following year just before I turned 19 it was kicked up to 21.

Back then graduation parties were hamburgers on the grill and the keg on the back lawn.

Pearl said...

Sul, I'm sure he waited the three years, aren't you? :-)

Denise, you shoulda called me or Sully there. :-)

darlin said...

Pearl I can sooooo relate! And what ever happened to the family gathering to cook up the feast for the bride and groom? There was always the one aunt looking for the beer, children bravely dashing through the kitchen, the pregnant cousin advising the bride-to-be what to do, and what not to do. Ahhh yes, the good old days. You know, the days when we didn't need to work the catering jobs for the $100 gift for the newlyweds because we were a part of preparing the meal, that was gift enough. I miss those days.... sigh.

Simply Suthern said...

I cant serve. I no longer have black slacks. I think the moth ate holes in them when he graduated from caterpillar school.

When I was younger, not only could you drink at 18, you could drink while driving.

bill lisleman said...

(I thought I left a comment but don't see it)
My memory tells me I read this before but you know when the hallucinations kick in - well.
pack-your-own hookah station - latest must have gift?

Eva Gallant said...

Are pants supposed to have creases????

Pearl said...

darlin, I am sincerely hoping that we return to those days.

Simply, oh, I hear you. I have distinct memories of a being in the car as a child with a certain uncle who liked to get drunk and drive with his lights off. No, I'm not kidding...

bill, can I get you something from the kitchen while I'm up? :-)

Eva, to hear the bosses tell it, yes. :-)

Jocelyn said...

The clever college graduate should be stuffing her backpack with strawberries and frittata, loading up a snack snack to get her through the next year of unemployment.

After that year? You'll see her next to you, black pants and all, serving scrambled eggs out of a warming pan.

Camille said...

The drinking aged dropped to 18 during my Senior year of high school. We were (legally)celebrating graduation a full five months before they actually struck up "Pomp and Circumstance" in the gym. I'm still amazed that any of us managed to pass our final exams...or stay out of the ditches.

Pearl said...

Joce, send the ones with brains my way. :-)

Camille, those 18 year-olds are sturdy little things, aren't they? Oh, man but I miss my 18 year old ability to party. (Never really was a heavy drinker, but stay up all night? Oh, yeah.)

Kelley said...

It's fun imagining you like that! I bet you look hot in your black pants and white shirt!

Sioux said...

"Swamp butt" is still one of my favorite phrases. It says it all.

Gigi said...

I remember being seventeen when the legal drinking age being bumped up....and then having to do a project on it in Government(?) that involved a poll...99% of the adults around me thought it was crazy. They were all of the same opinion....the kids would get it somehow. And we did.

Val Thevictorian said...

I suppose that old-fashioned graduation party fell by the wayside, where it lays in a tangled heap with kids dangling their bare feet off pickup-truck tailgates barreling down the interstate at 75 mph, and white shoes never worn after Labor Day, and peanut butter sandwiches served alongside chili in school cafeterias.

Crystal Pistol said...

Every time I stay up all night (I suffer from Red Bull induced insomnia... it's a terrible condition that can't be helped) ... everytime I stay up all night I wake up with a nasty cold. I remain sick for no less than 10 days. That'll teach me.

I remember this black pants post... Have we been friends THIS long? I would seem so.

I hate when I am too tired to write. Tonight is one of those nights for me. Yawn.

Seriously Though said...

I'm actually thinking of high school graduations in December. I'm feeling anxiety over the whole affair--I'm thinking of just giving my son a check for the amount I'd spend on a party and be done with it. Or, maybe just skip the check altogether.