Pay Check Friday

Ah, another Paycheck Friday. My favorite day of the bi-weekly cycle. I only wish there could also be a Pay Check Monday through Thursday to go along with it. I’d probably sleep better at night wondering how I’m going to save for my daughter’s college education. But if you stop and think about it, there aren’t too many days that can compete with the day the money is literally in the bank.

Presently, I’ve been a Clinical Systems Analyst for over five years now. Time sure flies doesn’t it?  I love my job and the people I work with. Seriously, I really do. Although some days may be challenging depending on the number of  people who call me with Malware issues they have from perusing the Internet.

By now you also know my love for revisiting the past. So as we celebrate another Paycheck Friday I’d like to share with you the story of my first job.

From April to October of 1986 I was THE biscuit baker at McDonald’s with secondary skill as fry cook. I wouldn’t even categorize me in with any other because quite frankly, there was no comparison. I was in a biscuit league all my own. Light and fluffy. Just the right amount of brown-ness to them every time. You wanted a Sausage, Egg and Cheese Biscuit? You came to The Woodsman. Yeah, my biscuits had them ALL coming back for more.

But my tenure at the golden arches was not all happiness and rainbows. Oh no, there was plenty of tribulation too. Disgruntled customers, pain in the ass managers and even whack job co-workers always made things interesting. One day in particular though I’ll never forget.

I was training a new employee, let’s just call him ‘Dude’ for the sake of argument. And also for the fact that I can’t for the life of me remember what his real name was. Anyway, I had already taught Dude how to make all of other batter dipped and deep-fried goodies on the McDonald’s menu and we were now onto the fine art of making twelve “regs” (as in regular cheeseburgers) and following it up with six macs (Big Macs). You have to learn the language of Mickey Dee if you plan to survive there.

It was the beginning of the lunch rush and the line was literally out the door but Dude and I were really starting to get into the groove. It almost got to the point where Dude was becoming one with the McNugget. But then, disaster struck.

I’m not sure if he did this deliberately or by accident but at one point during the commotion of dropping fries and Quarter Pounders Dude said “Oh, what’s this?” and proceeded to reach over and pull the fire alarm near the grill which caused massive amounts of foaming agent to cover the entire contents of the grill and all fry vats. Enough foam that, had there been an actual fire, would most likely have put it out and possibly saved dozens of lives. But unfortunately, this was not one of those times. Dude just looked at me dumbfounded as customers were informed that effective immediately, the store was closed.

So as I’m in the process of busting ass and helping to clean up the mess the manager starts looking for Dude but Dude is no where to be found. It’s at that point that one of the cashiers informs him that she had just seen Dude walk out the back door with two cases of frozen burgers, put them into his car and drive off. Dude sacrificed his job for a hamburger.

I have to be honest, amidst all the commotion of trying to clean up this huge mess, it did give me a chuckle when I heard the news. Although naturally, I also assumed that with the way management had treated screw ball employees in the past it was quite possible that Dude might wind up coming back next week having been promoted to now be my boss. But alas, they wound up firing Dude instead and I never saw him again. Go figure.

During those six months I did everything at that joint for a measly $3.35 an hour. I heard the torment of laughter from friends because THEY didn’t have to work all summer but I had to go make the biscuits. They’d even say things like “Burger Flipping Biscuit Bakin….Burger Flippin Biscuit Bakin” over and over ad nauseam.

It was a feeling that would break the heart of most working sixteen year olds. But rather than pound my friends into dirt I decided to channel that energy creatively. And it was that inspiration that helped  me invent and perfect the first McDonald’s Triple Cheeseburger. Yes, while most others were at home watching Scooby Doo and listening to Culture Club I was busting ass over the grill creating just the right combination of grease and pickle to make a triple-decker bomb.

Just thinking about it now fills me with pride and even makes me have more respect for Sponge Bob Squarepants.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “There’s no way the manager would let you do that” and you would indeed be right. But you see, most night managers at McDonald’s liked to hang out up in the drive thru window. Quite a distance away from where I stood with my spatula. So I would appoint a lookout, some other of lower intelligence, to stand guard while I perfected my craft and alert me if a manager entered my zone.

Of course, no test would be complete without sampling the creation so frequent trips to take out the “garbage” were made. And on the way out there was also always a need to stop by the Chicken McNugget bin. You never know when those will have to be thrown out. That summer I made $3.35 an hour. I think I also gained 15 pounds.

It was then that my senior year of high school began and I quit my position as head fry cook/biscuit man. I would not have another job until school was out but still think often of Dude and my days at the Golden Arches. Well, actually, no I don’t.

So, as we celebrate the occasion of another direct deposit it’s nice to look back and see where it all began. Just like always, the money deposited is usually in the bank and gone by Monday on silly things as mortgage, food and electricity.

In my effort to eat healthy I’ve tried to minimize my visits to fast food joints.  Truth be told I haven’t made a biscuit since my departure but I’m willing to bet mine would still be the best.

And finally, in closing, just remember the next time you see or hear a commercial for a Triple Cheeseburger at Mickey Dee’s that you know who you can thank for its creation.

And you’re welcome.

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