Shortly thereafter, I remembered that I put myself through college as a busboy, waiter, and bartender. So, obviously, not every career choice makes sense.
As I continued to mow the lawn, which can seem like an endless chore at times, the deep thoughts continued to flow.
How in the world did I, a guy who hates taking orders and wants to be his own boss, end up with a job that was literally taking orders?
That one falls on my stepmother. She decided I needed a job for the summer, an old friend had recently bought a restaurant in the neighborhood, and she arranged for me to work there as a busboy.
Ambitious as I was, I worked my way up through the ranks to be a waiter and a bartender, jobs which paid much better, but were very reliant on tips.
Now I wonder how much better off I’d be financially if I’d been more of a people person when I was in college.
What if I’d been as charming and outgoing back then as I am now?
I could have made millions in tips. I might have pulled in enough to buy NYU, and then allow myself to attend college for free.
Oh, what could have been…
If you think picturing college me as a waiter is impossible, try to form a mental image of me working behind the bar.
To this day, despite how stressful life has been through the decades, I am miraculously not a drinker. So imagine what it must have been like for me to deal with the endless barrage of drink requests.
I used to tell my customers that if they didn’t want a beer, they’d better order either a shot, or a drink that had its ingredients in the name like a rum and Coke.
Sex on the Beach? Baybreeze? Harvey Wallbanger?
Sorry. I think we’re out of those. Would you like to try what we have on tap?
Why did I continue to work jobs that I had no business holding? Well that’s easy. I hate change, the hours worked with my school schedule, and they paid in cash. Generally, there was lots of cash, which came in handy since I was putting myself through NYU without any help from my family.
Back in those days, politicians weren’t clamoring to forgive student loan debt. If you wanted to go to one of the best Film Schools in the country, then you had to either pony up the exorbitant tuition, or find yourself a nice community college.
So I kept taking orders, screwing up drink requests, and walking around smelling like fried food all week. Because every night that I walked into that restaurant, my mind was dreaming about the Academy Award I was going to win some day. And debating whether or not to mention the establishment in my acceptance speech.
I’m still undecided on that one, by the way.
Thanks to all the customers who put up with my horrible food and drink service skills for four years while I chased my dream.
I appreciate your patience, but do wish you had been better tippers…