Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The 13th Grade... (( part three )) Odd Jobs





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And here's the final installment

of my DeVry Technical
school days.


Click on part one & part two if you wanna catch up on the silliness before you read on.


At some point we've all worked at a job that didn't quit agree with us. And well, here's just a couple of my own nightmares.






The 13th Grade
(( part three ))

Odd Jobs



Okay, this is gonna be a pretty funny episode of Tommy Mondello... cheap labor for hire!


Hey, you do what you have to, right?


Well, things were moving along nicely in my life at this point. I had slipped back into civilian life after my short, but frustrating three year run with the Navy.


DeVry hasn't been a picnic thus far. But the grades were there, along with a ton of laughs.


But hey, just because I was goin’ to school, that didn’t mean that I wasn’t working.


At first I hooked up with a friend of mine, Dominick, from the restaurant days. I mentioned him in the Dishwasher Diaries story
from earlier in the blog.


He and his brother Tommy, had transformed their old apartment into a small restaurant/pizzeria.
It was called Bella Mama’s.

Bella mama's restaurant Elm Park, Staten Island, NY
This is how it looked after Dom & Tommy renovated and expanded the
pizzeria / restaurant into a full out amazing top notch restaurant.
It's been changed over once again along with the it's ownership
in the years to follow.


And, I was on hand working in the kitchen when the doors opened for the very first time.
I’ll never forget it.


Tommy was working the front counter, and Dominick was doing all the cooking in the back. I was preparing the salad area, as Dom was stirring this tiny pot of sauce. It was maybe the same size pot as most people used to make their Sunday sauce at home.


He turned to me and said
What’ta ya think, Tom?
Ya think this is gonna be enough?


Well, it was enough for about an hour.


For that little pot of sauce, blossomed into one of the top-rated restaurants on Staten Island! And just think, it all started with one little pot
of sauce, and a few pizza pies.


Both Dominick & Tommy were very very generous to me during my stint there. Although I busted my ass, I also took advantage of their friendship at times. I'm such a douche. But I’ll be talking about that later in the blog.


So, where was I?
Oh, yeah, me working, and goin’ to school. The restaurant kept me busy, but there were a couple other nightmares on the horizon.


Take for instance, my career pumping gas. Well, this adventure didn’t last too long.


You see, one of my classmates worked at a Hess gas station not too far from the school to earn a couple extra bucks on the side. And, he approached me with the same idea. I thought for a second, and actually said yes. What the fuck was I smokin’? Anyway, I agreed to work there and give it a shot.

Hess gas station route 9 south Woodbridge, New Jersey
Here's the station I worked at. Obviously this photo was not taken
back in 1985 when I worked there as you can tell by those gas prices!
There is an identical station across route 9 on the northbound side.
But I was right in the shadow's of the Hess corporate building you see there.
That's the building you see from the Garden Sate Parkway and
by exit 11 of the New jersey Turnpike.


My first day was filled with squeegees, waterlogged shoes, and the taste of gasoline in my mouth. Yep, this was the life for me! Not!


It sucked tremendously!


Now this was a Wednesday.
I wasn’t scheduled to work again until Friday which would’ve been my second day
of gargling gasoline.


Well, Friday came. School was hard. And, we all went to T.G.I.F.'s (Friday's) like always to unwind. The whole time there I was checking the clock. Didn’t wanna be late for work, ya know.


And, after about two or three hours of partying, it was time to leave the gang and head off to the pumps. So, I said my goodbyes, and started out to the car. My friend Mike walked out with me, and got in the car.


That's right, this is the very same Mike, the wordsmith, from part two of this saga...


We sat there and laughed about a few things, and then he said...


Tom, what the fuck are you doin’ pumpin’ gas? We bust our ass too hard to be doin’ that shit! Lets go back inside, and have some fun!


I followed with...
Nah, I can’t.
I said that I would be there


He quickly pummeled my loyalty by saying...
Fuck them!
You don’t owe that gas station anything.
C’mon, let’s get back inside.


And like the spineless jellyfish that I was, I gladly caved in. LoL


Okay. Sounds like a plan!


Oh man, it didn’t take much to sway me, huh? I just might’ve jumped from that bridge that my mother was always talkin’ about
when I was a kid!


So, back inside we went, where we were both greeted with a standing ovation from the gang. Me, for shirking my duties, and Mike, for talking me into shirking my duties!


I ordered another round, threw my credit card on the bar, and then headed over to the phone
to call the job.


Uh… hello. This is the new guy, Tommy.

Where the fuck are you? You’re late!

Uh, well, uh, ya see

Are you comin’, or what?

Well, I gotta say no to that question!
In fact, I think I quit!
No, no, that’s a definite. I quit! See ya!


And that was it.
I’ve gargled gasoline for the last time! The party hit new heights just as my gas pumping career went up in flames!


Thank goodness for Mike.
Pumping gas just blew chunks. But, I could always say that I wasn’t too good to do a job like that. Even when I become rich and famous from this blog. Oh stop it will ya. I'm kidding!


At least I’ll have one of those sad sack stories about starting at the bottom, when Entertainment Tonight comes to interview me!


Hey, crazier things have happened dude.
Just roll with the delusions people...
just fuckin' roll baby roll!


Okay, so pumpin’ gas only lasted a day but my next odd job lasted a bit longer. Not much longer mind you, but at least more than one day! So okay... two! Hey, it's still longer than one!


The motivating factor behind this next endeavor turned out to be The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. Lemme explain.


You see, another guy in my class was selling soda at Giants Stadium for some extra cash. And, he asked me if I wanted a job.

Old Giants stadium New Jersey
This is the old Giants stadium.
They now have a brand new one called Met Life stadium.


Well, my thinking was this. Springsteen was going to play Giants stadium in the very near future, and I couldn’t get my hands on any tickets. So, I thought that if I worked at the stadium, I would maybe meet someone who had connections, and could hook me up
with a few tickets.


Oh, silly, silly naive me, still!


Bottom line...
I worked two events. I got drunk at both of them, had a ball, made no money, and worst of all, couldn’t find anyone with Springsteen tickets. The Boss would be going on stage
without any help from me!


Remember now, this was before I ever knew what a ticket broker was. And, even if I had known, who had "ticket broker cash" to shell out for a stupid concert ticket anyway?

Bruce Springsteen tickets Giants Stadium 1985
The tickets or show... I would not see... LoL


Okay, so maybe I didn’t see the silly concert. But, I ended up having two of the craziest days of work that I’ve ever experienced in my life. Like I said, I worked two events. The first was a game between two local college football teams. And the second was a Jet/Giant pre-season game.


Man, one was worse than the other!


My first event was the college game. I remember pulling up to the stadium, and having trouble finding the employee parking lot.
Oh, man, what a nightmare!


The place was packed with drunken tailgaters who were practically daring me to run them over. I weaved my way through the debauchery, and eventually stumbled upon the employee’s lot. And, lemme tell ya, it was out there!


I could hardly see the stadium from where I was parked. Crap, I could’ve walked from home
and gotten there just as fast.
It was nearly the same distance.
Fuck!


Anyway, I donned my stadium wear, and had suddenly transformed into a complete geek. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind,
that I was a jerk.
A soda jerk, that is!


Blue shirt and blue hat with white lettering that read Harry M. Stevens. His company ran

all of the concession's at the time.


Well, I started on my journey towards the stadium. Now, to make it to the pearly gates, I had to walk through several other,
completely packed parking lots.
And these things weren’t small, either.


When, a funny thing began to happen. The drunken tailgater’s suddenly began yelling out all sorts of things at me as I was walking by, like
"Hey beer here!
Hey soda here!
Hey beer man!
"Hey hot dog here!"


Ya know, shit like that. But as they were acknowledging my stadium status, they were also tossing me beers at the same time. It was a beautiful thing! Yeah, baby, free beers.



Well, I just couldn’t disappoint my fans.
I gladly accepted every one of them
with open arms.


Oh dude, was I ever fucked up by the time I made it to the gates. I quickly banged out a six pack plus by then and was feelin’ no pain. That’s how long of a walk it was! And I also left

a bunch of cans behind.


Well, I was plastered at this point because I drank them so fast! And, I didn’t even know where I was supposed to report to yet. I remember scrambling around

to locate the employee’s entrance.


I finally found it, and then bumped into my friend. He just broke out into hysterical laughter when he saw the condition that I was in. Once he regained his composure, he gave me a quick rundown of how the operation worked. And man, it was a surefire recipe for disaster.



Imagine 80,000 drunken a-holes, 20,000 fuckin' steps, a rack of something heavy, and me,

3 sheets to the wind. Oh boy!


I was assigned to sell soda.

And listen to how this operation ran.


You had to pay the stadium for the entire rack of soda’s out of your own pocket, BEFORE you sold any. And then, go out and sell them. And with luck, if you didn’t drop any, and if no one stole any while your back was turned, you’d have made that money back, plus some profit. Then, you went back, and did it all over again.

It was truly a nightmare.


I guess if you really wanted to bust your ass, and hustle, that you could make a decent buck. But then again, look who we’re talkin’ about here. A one-day gas pumper, with a belly full'a beer sloshing around inside of him. Believe me, there would be no money made this night!



It was finally time for my debut. I bought my rack 'o soda, and headed out into the stands.



Man, it was really weird. I’ve always gone to stadiums to sit in the seats, and face the event. Now, I had’ta stand there, facing the crowd, while getting yelled at to get the fuck outta the way. It was just too crazy. Really a Twilight Zone episode come to life.



At this first event, I think I only bought like 5 racks of soda. Everyone else was up to like 20 or so, by the end of the night. I pretty much just sat down a lot, and more or less

let the people come to me.


The parking lot brews were taking their toll. I didn’t exactly have that go-getter attitude I needed to perform this job. But, that didn’t really matter though. These college fans were strictly beer drinkers. I mean, I had to step over more people that had passed out drunk, and landed in the middle of the stairs here, at this event, than at any other time or event in my life.

I shit you not!


And, no one even attempted to push them to the side. They just layed there. Some of them in their own vomit. It was a crazy night to say the least.



But I did do a little better when I worked the Jet/Giant pre-season game. Oh, I didn’t make any money mind you. Come to think of it I think I lost money overall somehow... LoL But I was at least a little more coherent this time around,

and had a blast.


No longer a rookie, I didn’t let the walk through the parking lot overwhelm me, as I learned to pace myself with those incoming gifts. This time I only drank about 4 beers or so on the way in. So, I was just buzzed enough to have that big dumb smirk on my face that I always get

at about 4 beers in.


I think at this game, I sold like ten racks of soda. Still, well below the rest of the guys, but more than enough for me. I had a great time

with all the fans.


You saw nothing but Jet green,

and Giant blue, in the crowd.


Joe Namath New York Jets jersey number 12
Phil Simms New York Giants jersey number 11


I would walk up and down the stairs yelling out...

Hey soda here.

Giant fans pay half price!
Jet fans pay double!


It was just so hilarious. I had the power! And I also had the fans screaming at one another

in the stands.


A giant fan would come up, and just like I said, I gave him the soda for half price. Then a green Jet fan would walk up, and get all pissed off, because I charged him full price. Of course, I couldn’t charge him double. But, making him pay full price really got him good and mad, nonetheless.



All of the Giant fans around him would just lower the boom of insults onto his head, after he purchased the full priced soda. The crowd came close to fist-o-cuffs several times during the night around me. It was beautiful dude. Shit, maybe I did have the power!



I started chants ofLet’s go Giants andJets suck! The crowd just ate it up. It was a regular love fest, except when they were yelling at me to get the fuck outta the way of course!



I was in my glory, man. Oh shit... could this have been my 15 minutes of fame?



Oh man, I hope not. Image that. I wasted my 15 minutes of fame in front of 80,000 drunken losers, who called me the beer man.
Idiots!
I was the soda guy,
you dumb muthafucka’s.
Get your head outta your ass!


Man, those drunken grown adults were just crazy when that alcohol kicked in.

Some of them were horrible.


But, worse yet, were the little kids. At least the adults had the money to pay. But these little fucks would come up to me with a dollar in their hand, and ask for a soda. Fuck! A dollar! You couldn’t get the fuckin’ ice cubes

for a dollar in this stadium.


But, man the pressure was really on. Everyone sitting close by would start to yell out

Aarr, give it to the kid will ya! Look at him! Give him the soda dude!


And so I usually caved, and did.
Now, these things were being sold for like 4 bucks a cup. They're probably paying 6
or more nowadays.


Those watered-down, half-warm, cups of bat piss, were actually being sold for 4 fuckin’ dollars. Unbelievable. Harry M. was certainly

in the right business!


Well, what was I gonna to do?

Of course, I gave the little bastard the soda. But, I took that dollar didn’t I! You bet'chor ass I did!


I mean, this went on all night long. I think the fathers caught on that I was an easy mark, and were sending their little prick kids up to me with no money on purpose. Them scumbags!



I even ran into an old friend of mine, Paul,

from my grammar school days.
You remember P.S.22, right?


I haven’t seen him in like ten years or more. And here we were meeting at Giants stadium. So, I sat down and pretty much watched the entire third quarter of the game with him.



And, at the end of the night, instead of making some money, I think I actually owed them money, somehow like I alluded to earlier. It's all a fuckin' blurrrrrrrr really... loL



It didn’t look good for me as a steady. And, good thing. Who the fuck wants to do this shit for a living? Hey soda here, my ass!


I never did return to work any future events, and I never even made any contacts for the Bruce tickets. So, I took a beaten all around!



But, I chalk it up to yet another wacky experience in my life. And, isn’t that the whole reason for being here anyway.



(((Oh, c’mon!

Get the fuck outta here with that last sentence. Who the fuck am I… that Kung Fu guy, or what? Suddenly I'm overflowing with profound wisdom?? Next I'll be asking you to try and snatch the pebble from my hand... LoL)))


*** I am humble... like the dust! ***



And, so my life pushes on. And yes, my hands may be sticky, from sugared-water, and my clothes may reek of gasoline, but I gotta believe that I was a better person for it! LoL


Oh fuck...

go snatch another fuckin' pebble will ya!