And now, the amazing, the talented, the sometimes badly employed Comedian Abbi Crutchfield provides a story from the third circle of hell: pizza ovens. (Circles, pies, reminds me of a math joke: Pi R squared? No, pie are round. Ha! Ha! Math humor.)
Few work experiences are as memorable as the time I was 15 and slung hash at Donato’s Pizza in Indianapolis, Indiana. It wasn’t really hash—it was dough, and we couldn’t really sling it, as it came in rigid, frozen discs. We systematically counted and distributed toppings to achieve that “edge-to-edge” taste that the training video kept bragging about. Instead of a sense of accomplishment, however, all I got was fingers that smelled like onions.
This was my first non-babysitting gig, and I was proud to wear a uniform and work along side my older sister. She was Employee of the Month for several consecutive months, and I longed to relieve her of her title.
But I was not wall of employee fame material. For example, I once knocked a giant tower of pans to the floor, terrifying nearby diners. Or the time I was exhausted and fainted in front of the oven, “a high-traffic zone,” my 27-year old boss and AA devotee, Carl, reminded me. Or when I raced assistant manager Chris to answer a call and instead of picking up the phone, I poked him in the eye. The caller never got to order because I couldn’t stop laughing.
My true failing, however, turned out to be an unplanned physical shortcoming. In answering whether I was as hard of a worker as my sister, Carl pondered thoughtfully, “Well…everything about you two is the same…except her boobs are bigger.” The same man never hesitated to recount the time he was caught on the couch with his underage girlfriend. All this fun led me to decide to leave restaurant hell, but as I made my plans to escape by flinging pizza dough like death stars, Carl informed me that I was fired. I had no problem dropping my apron in the trash, and I instantly erased the memory of how to make a Hawaiian in 30 seconds. But it took weeks for my fingers to stop smelling like onions.