The problem with being indispensable is knowing you’re indispensable. You can act with impunity without regard for repercussions. You can do the crime and not do the time. And it is intoxicating. It’s the social equivalent of saying “I’m Rick James, bitch!” and meaning it. My best friend “Duke” and I had such indispensability one summer.

We worked at a restaurant in the middle of a busy mall. This restaurant was divided into 3 units: the fast food unit, the ice cream unit, and the frozen yogurt unit. Duke and I were the only workers there who knew how to run every job in every unit, and that included the manager, Kake. She was an idiotic, insane woman who resented the fact the Duke and I went to college, and were way fucking smarter than her, but she needed us to be relatively happy so we wouldn’t just quit. Her body-building husband was dumber than a George W. Bush / Pauly Shore sandwich. He loved coming by work in his Body By Jake tank top and coaches shorts. He was one of these hyper-aggressive, testosterone-fueled, steroid-popping alpha males that bonded with you by punching you in the arm. Hard. We hated it, but tolerated it because (a) we were so very much smarter than him; (b) our futures were ahead of us; and (c) our johnsons were bigger than his. Touche, bastard.

Extra Onions
Whenever it rained, the mall was PACKED. We worked in Myrtle Beach, a major tourist spot, so rain drove folks off the beach and into the malls. We absolutely HATED rain days. Rain days meant we got called in early, had to stay late, and had to work our asses off non-stop, without breaks. It was a major bitch, but it put money in our pockets. This one particular day, the line in front of the restaurant was about 25 people deep – and there were 3 rows of this nonsense. We’d been at it for about 5 hours, and we were exhausted. This guy comes up to the window, and places a large order for himself and his family. He must’ve ordered 15 hot dogs, all with slightly different condiments. We hussled to get him everything he needed, and we sent him on his way.

About 4 minutes later, this asshole comes back to the restaurant, cuts through the line, and stands there, red as hell. Our cashier eventually notices him (like I said, we were slammed, so he had to wait) and goes over to see what his problem is.

Cash: “Yes sir, can I help you?”
Cust: “Yes, you CAN help me. You can give me the extra onions I asked for on my damn hot dog.”
Cash: “I’m sorry?”
Cust: “I CAME HERE AND SPENT $50 ON FOOD, AND I WANT MY EXTRA ONIONS NOW!!!”

Duke and I were in the kitchen, overhearing this. See, we remembered this dude. He stood there, indecisive, for about 5 minutes before even ordering. So long, in fact, the cashier went around him and filled 2 other orders while he was dicking around. Then, when he finally did order, he changed his mind about 2 million times before settling on an order. So as you can imagine, we were displeased to hear his dissatisfaction.

Me: “Duke, do you hear this bullshit?”
Duke: “Hell yeah, I hear him. Fuck him! I’d like to see how many orders HE’D get right after being back here all damn day!”
Me: “Yeah man, that’s bullshit. He sees how busy we are.” This is me instigating Duke into doing something outlandish.
From the cashier, as if we hadn’t heard: “Duke, Damian, this customer needs his extra onions!”
Duke: “I got this one, man.”

Duke pulls out a big-ass vidalia onion from the cooler, and removes the biggest chef blade from the cutlery tray. Then he absolutely ASSAULTS the onion, all the while cursing the man and his heritage. This onion never had a chance. Duke was OJ, and this onion was Nicole. I swear, if a cop had walked through, he woulda arrested Duke for malicious mischief. He doesn’t dice the onion, like we would normally do for condiments. He hacks this poor veggie into huge, misshapen hunks of eye-burning misery. It looked like hash browns when he was finished. He piles about half the onion into a tray we usually used for french fry orders, walks around to the counter, and slides the tray down to the now-stunned customer like a bartender slides beers down a bar. Then he looks at the guy and says, “There’s your damn extra onions. Anything else? Huh?” I think he flinched his shoulders at the dude. The guy says nothing, grabs the onion mess, and scampers away. Needless to say, we didn’t have any more trouble that day.

The customer’s always right? My ass.

Wet Floor
Among the numerous responsibilities we had at that place was an evil chore known as “Floors”. We had a guy, Tommy, whose sole job was to walk around, sweep up the trash, take out the trash, clean the tables, and mop the floors. On Mondays, Tommy’s night off, this task went to the most unlucky bastard working that night. Sometimes Kake would schedule someone to come in and only do that job. We’re talking about 3500 square feet of floor that had to be mopped, and we could only do it between 7 and 10pm. It could be brutal.

One night I drew the short straw. So I’m out there, waiting for some fat family of tourists to finish their burgers and fries, so they could deposit the remains on the floor. Finally they leave, and I clear all the tables in that section and begin mopping. We had lots of those Wet Floor signs you see everywhere, and it was policy that we put those out whenever we mopped. I, being a forward-thinking man, thought it would be a better idea to put the signs on the tables, where they’d be at eye level for anyone walking through. Well, that’s what I get for thinking. While I’m busily mopping, this woman comes walking out of Gitano with 3 or 4 bags, moving at a brisk pace. She steps over my mop bucket, walks right by 2 tables with those signs, and promptly slips and falls. Oh, she fell. She fell like people do on TV, man. Her feet went up, she threw the bags in the air, and she went down on her ass like a sack of mud. I was concerned; did I put those signs where she could see them? I charted her path, and realized that she indeed could’ve seen the signs. Gotta consider liability, you know? Then I did what came naturally.

I laughed my black ass off.

I was doubled over, laughing so hard I could barely breathe. She was alright – she was already on her feet again. My laughter did little to ease her embarrassment. She took out her frustrations on me, the most convenient target.

Wetass: “You need to put some Wet Floor signs in this area!”
Me (between fits of laughter): “Ma’am, there ARE Wet Floor signs in this area! There’s 1, 2, 3… I count 5.”
Wetass: “They’re on the tables! How am I supposed to know the floor is wet if the signs are on the tables?”
Me: “Well ma’am, they say “Wet FLOOR”, not “Wet TABLE!”
Wetass: “I want to see your manager immediately!”
Me: “Sure thing, follow me.”
Recall what I said earlier about indispensability. I am unafraid.

I take her to Kake, and she tells Kake all about how horrible I am, and how I didn’t have the signs up. We all walk to the area in question.

Kake: “Ma’am, I hate to disagree, but I see Wet Floor signs in this area.”
Wetass: “Yes, but they’re on the tables!”
Kake (I swear she said this, I’m not making it up): “Well ma’am, they do say “Wet Floor”, and not “Wet Table”, so I’m not sure I see the problem.”

I laughed even harder. So much that I strained a rib muscle, no shit. Wetass walked away in a huff, her wet ass looking like she pissed herself while sitting in a lecture. Kake looked at me, opened her mouth to say something, closed it again, and walked away. I was a demigod, and Kake had just laid a sacrifice at my altar.

Indispensability is intoxicating.

Peace.

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