Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Walk The Path Of The Chicken Or The Fish Day!

Congratulations. Today is the first day of the rest of your life as a Cater Waiter. You're about to join the ranks of the only truly free class of people.

"But they're like bums that can hold down jobs for four hours at a stretch!" your Dad wll exclaim when you tell him. "Oh please think this through. The cater waiters at your sister Nancy's wedding were like a street gang without the bicycle chains. If you're a cater waiter you're nothing but�"

"Nothing but a drifter in a stolen tux," you'll tell Marty, the veteran cater waiter who'll show you the ropes before the wedding party arrives. Marty is one of the few who've worked events at this hall before. Most cater waiters like to keep three hundred miles between each job. But Marty got caught in a trap.

"I fell in love with a bride's maid," he'll tell you. "Every time word floats down about a convention in Scottsdale or a Bar Mitzvah in Poughkeepsie, I get my tux all packed and I'm just about to climb out the window when I catch sight of her, sleeping in the moonlight. And I just climb right back into bed and snuggle up beside her. Don't let it happen to you kid, if you want to walk the Path Of The Chicken Or The Fish."

That's what they call it, the Path Of The Chicken Or The Fish. The ones who consider it less of a job and more of a lifestyle, they see themselves as unique persons of leisure, choosing the path of least responsibility. It's your life, starting today. You'll show up out of nowhere, with barely your first name as identification, to make a quick hundred bucks shuffling around wedding receptions and business conventions with cold soup and crab-cakes. You'll make friends with the bartender to skim your drinks on shift and you'll eat potatoes off of dinner plates after you leave the kitchen but before you can be seen by the guests. You won't pay taxes and you'll only have sex in unwashed groups, after the wedding party has dispersed and the sidework is complete. You'll all adjourn to the dance floor and lay down in a blanket of naked and writhing underemployment. The only time the bunch of you will bathe is when you find an old swimming hole where you can strip down and dive in from dangerously high cliffsides.

The company of the other cater waiters will be the closest you'll get to being part of a family. You won't see your father or mother again, unless you happen to work an event they're attending. And if you're lucky, you'll never fall in love. Not even with another cater waiter. She'll wanna do a Tech Expo in Seattle but you'll want to work an advertising awards dinner in New York and before you know it you'll be at each other's throats with, "Why don't you ever want to work the events that I wanna work?" Then one of you will have to move out of the car and it's just a scene you don't want any part of.

Walk the path. Serve, collect, then hit the road. You're a cater waiter, and for the six years you have left to live**, you will know what it means to be free.

**(cater waiters average a lifespan of six years following their first event due to the prevalence of contagious disease among catering wait staff and the likelihood of freezing to death in January and February, when meeting halls go dark and the winter grows angry)

Happy Walk The Path Of The Chicken Or The Fish Day!