Lessons Learned

It’s pretty much universally accepted that we all learn valuable lessons at our first job.  I certainly did.

My first real job was at a burger joint in Connecticut called The Big Toppe.  It was modeled around a circus in that there was one picture on the wall of a clown.  And right from the start I learned important things.

That first day, I was guided by a “counter girl” named Barbara, who really took me under her wing in those early days.  And she taught me many of the rules that I’m sure she still lives by.

First, at head counter girl Lisa’s insistence because I was the new girl, Barbara took me out back to show me how to clean the restaurant’s restroom.  Taking the key from the hook, Barbara grabbed the spray bottle of ammonia and water, walked me to the restroom, opened the door and led me in.

“All you have to do is stand here for 2-3 minutes.  Then spray ammonia into the air and leave.  Nobody will ever know the difference.”

Lesson number two was important, but only while I worked there.

“Make sure to talk to Frank (the manager) when you wipe down anything.  That way he’ll think you are a good worker.  Otherwise, don’t bother wiping.”

My next and most important lesson came one day when she wasn’t working but I was.  Barbara stopped by The Big Toppe with her friend Mary to get some (free — if Frank wasn’t looking) carryout to take to the beach.  Barbara’s friend was horribly ugly, and I saw her picking her nose when she was in line.  “Yuck!” I thought.

Unfortunately for them, Frank was around and was making sure that nobody got free food that day.  So, while Barbara chatted with me, Mary went back out to their car to get lunch money.

“She’s really ugly isn’t she?” Barbara said.

I tried to be nice and said “I’m sure she’s really nice.”

“Oh, no,” said Barbara.  “She’s a real jerk.  But I try to always hang around jerks.  They make me look good.”

That was Barbara’s third bit of lifelong advice.  Always hang around assholes so you look good.

I realized last night that Barbara is now working for the GOP.  How else can you explain the fact that House Republicans invited this asshole to the President’s State of the Union Address?

Ted Nugent Crazy Guy

It would be difficult to find a bigger asshole than Ted Nugent

Remind me never to go into restroom on the House controlled side of the U.S. Capitol.


Filed under Elections, Humor, Hypocrisy, Law, Politics, Stupidity

46 responses to “Lessons Learned

  1. Snoring Dog Studio

    I don’t know about Barbara’s advice. Better to remember: “You’re known by the company you keep.” Which means the Republican and Tea parties are doomed at the rate they’re going.


  2. This is great, Elyse! I think I knew a few Barbaras in my day.


  3. Hahahaha! Barbara & Ted…True Love Always.


  4. Well, I hope Barbara gets paid well for hanging out with Assholes.


  5. Elyse, I just tried cleaning my bathroom per Barbara’s instructions. I have to say I’m seriously disappointed. I hope someone else has trained you since then.


  6. It seems most workplaces have a Barbara – I know mine does. There are none so blind as those who will not see, or who are otherwise clouded by ammonia mist.


    • You know that song, Smoke gets in my eyes? I’m sure that there is an ammonia version for these folks. Because you’re right, we all have them! (Actually, I don’t at my current job. But I have had one or two hundred in my career.)


  7. BRILLIANT post! Excellent writing!


  8. Haha–what a great post! Barbara was quite the piece of work (as can be the GOP…). And to think, all that time I cleaned a fast-food restaurant during med school, I could have just been spraying ammonia into the restroom instead of actually donning big rubber gloves and scrubbing disgusting urinals clean. Where was MY Barbara when I needed her?


    • Barbara was a piece of work. I actually email-chatted with my still friend (from 1972!) Lisa who seemed to think that Barbara had other skills that obscured her bathroom cleaning ones.

      So rubber gloves probably served you better than, ummm, other things made of that material.


  9. GOF

    “Always hang around assholes so you look good.”

    And I thought I was just really popular….damn! 😦


  10. I would hire Barbara, and then keep a close eye on her – because I’m pretty sure she did her job well when watched.
    Ted? Not so much…


  11. I don’t know (or necessarily care) about Ted Nugent’s politics, but given the condition of most fast food restroom’s I’ve had the pleasure of visiting, Barbara has trained a LOT of minimum wage people on how to “clean” a bathroom.


  12. I ended up feeling sorry for Frank. It must be hard getting good help (except for you of course!).


    • In all seriousness, Frank was a pretty sad guy. He was in his 50s (which when I was 16 was ancient) and working as a manager in a fast food store. That wasn’t the sad part. I think he had depression. He had a family of teenagers who hassled him at home, the staff at the Big Toppe hassled him at work. Poor guy got no peace in life!


  13. agree with bigsheep… lol… you are so funny, Elyse, love the way you roar xo Safeway lost my interest – paltry though they may have considered it – when they started cutting wages, jobs and benefits from the standards they once upheld… No wonder everyone working there now looks so miserable and unwilling to help you… I’d vanish too if I were on minimum wage sans benefits for standing on my feet all day, trying to mean it when I smile. Oh. I went off topic, didn’t I. Well assholes are assholes whether at the top, middle or in the gutters they carve out for themselves so readily. More rope, I say, give them more rope… lol


  14. LOL – Elyse, I’m pretty glad I never had a Barbara as a trainer, but I have known my share of them in the workplace. I saw through a cousin that some churches were bringing in this nut – not as a religious speaker per se, but as a “draw” to get people to come watch the train wreck.


  15. bigsheepcommunications

    Barbara and Ted would make a lovely couple…


  16. I loved the valuable job advice. Where were you when I started my career, or your friend Barbara at least. My first job was in a supermarket, which I got sacked from after a fortnight


    • That was my son’s first job too and I am still mad at Safeway. The essentially forced him to resign because, when two different customers were 2 and 5 CENTS short, he put the money in the till. Assholes.

      Sorry Barbara wasn’t there to help either of you. But based on the grocery store bathrooms I’ve been in, Barbara worked in some of those, too.


  17. Nugent was on the Simpsons once, so he can’t be all THAT bad.


  18. No need to worry yourself, Elyse. In November of last year, Nugent said “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” Only 8 more months to go….


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