First of all… (to quote one of my favorite comedians from those days)

“Let me make this perfectly clear.”

I support unions. I’m currently a member of a union and I recognize the importance of unions, the right to collective bargaining and the service unions have provided their members throughout the history of the labor movement. Up to and including today.

That said, I also recognize that people are people and human failing has never limited itself only to those not belonging to a union.

In 1978, my nineteen-year-old self knew nothing that would have led me to anything like my above statements. I saw the introduction of Local 21 to the staff at Tinkler’s restaurant as simply a bunch of blather from the posers and whiners in our midst.

Of course I also knew nothing of what it would mean to have Local 21 come in and organize the staff at Tinkler’s and I wouldn’t be around to find out. Ironically, it wouldn’t be long at all, and I would be exposed to some real life union struggle in Topeka, Kansas after being hired as a scab off the streets of Omaha, Nebraska.

But that’s another story.

All I knew in this one, was that a bunch of the Tinkler’s staff were getting their hours cut. They thought it was unfair so they asked the union to come in. My hours were not being cut and so I didn’t know anything about that. I did have to vote.

My adult self can’t remember how I voted, or how anyone else was voting. This is mainly because I can’t remember how Ted was playing the whole thing. If I could remember that, I’d know what I’d thought about it. All I remember clearly is that I would have voted anyway Ted wanted me to.

He was so cool!

However it all went down, as soon as it was done, so was I. This of course doesn’t mean that I voted the same way Ted did (I have no idea how he voted) it only means I voted the way Ted wanted me to vote. So I was out, and I had no idea as to why. I never heard anything about it from Ted again. I was just out.

Well… after I finished out the week anyway.

And how else might a nineteen-year-old “good boy” like me spend my last week working for a bunch of players and posers (translate as “assholes and fools”) I now saw as having lied to my face while stabbing me in the back?

I started stealing stuff.

That’s right folks, little ol’ good boy me was finally learning to steal and feel good about it. Of course I couldn’t have known how pathetic my little thievery was compared to that of the real predators and scammers who’s clutches I was about to be in, in… just a few days.


Kinda blows my mind thinking about it all now. I mean… when I took the job at Tinkler’s, Phil had promised that he’d have Bob train me as a bartender. That’s what I really wanted out of the job. I was naive but I wasn’t stupid. I knew that bartending (and especially at a place like Tinklers’s) would give me job skills I could really use.

Dishwashing was a dead end, good only for kids completely new to having a job at all. I’d been there, done that a few years ago as a teenager who’d worked his way up from busboy to dishwasher at the Perkins Cake ‘n Steak. What a shitty summer job THAT was. (perhaps I’ll write a short piece about that next)

I’d only agreed to take the job at Tinkler’s to get the job skills and some bartending experience at a pretty classy bar. (classy for Roachville anyway) But I was still only eighteen when I interviewed (just a week or so from my birthday) so I believed Phil when he said he needed a good dishwasher to open the place and would hire another one just as soon as the place took off like we all knew it would.

Right! Now who’s the chump?

Anyway, it didn’t matter now. None of it did. Nothing had played out as I’d hoped so I had to shuffle though my last week of this now complete waste of time and labor. So when Mark suggested I bring home something for the house to eat, I thought…. “Hey why the hell not?”

I may have been far from a player… but I was no poser. And rather than whine about how I’d been screwed over by these assholes, I might as well have some lunch and a glass of wine or three.

I just happened to have the means to treat my friends to it then too. For the entire week.

To be continued…