I Am Part of the Resistance at TGIFriday’s

TGIFriday’s is facing the biggest test of its long and illustrious existence. The penultimate crisis that has been decades in the making.

I’m not just talking about the health inspector shutting us down after finding half a ton of raw hamburger meat in the dumpster out back or the fact that we have so many rats that they’ve formed a union and taken our newest hostess, KLissa (pronounced “Stacey”), as a hostage.

No, they have become so blinded by the shimmer of their own flair that they they can’t see what’s been coming even if it’s written at the top of the appetizers’ portion of the menu in an extremely oversized yet reassuring font. Can’t… or won’t.

My name is, well, let’s just say I can’t reveal who I am without facing serious repercussions (permanent temporary suspension from weekends or being forced to negotiate with the rats to safely secure KLissa’s release). For now, you can just refer to me as, “Deep Fried.”

I’ve worked at this hallowed institution for as long as I can remember (since last Halloween) and I am an intregal part of its workings.

I’ve worked at too many chain restaurants to name. I’ve got a bucket filled with name tags that’s overflowing higher than the Twin Towers (Rest In Peace). Sure, they all serve subpar food and a DUI you can drink for $12, but that’s what’s always made them so great. And yes, the workforce is comprised almost entirely of teenagers that are too dumb to know they’re being permanently pushed into the maw of giant corporations and burnouts that are too smart to know they haven’t got any other options. But that’s also what makes them great.

Shitty, overpriced food, watered down, bottom-shelf Bahama Mamas, an underpaid, overexploited work force: what the hell is more American than that?

But then they hired Bruce Bruce.

Bruce Bruce has been the manager at my TGIFriday’s for as long as I can remember (last Valentine’s Day), after our previous manager, Shelly, had one too many Ultimate Long Island Iced Teas and took a bowling pin off one of the walls and started pleasuring herself with it (in her defense the bowling pin looked like it was just happy someone was finally paying attention to it).

Bruce Bruce thinks he’s above the rest of us lowly workers. I hate everything about him. His stupid face is as tan as our mozzarella sticks but the rest of his body is as pale as, well, the inside of our mozzarella sticks. He’s got two left hands and he wears a suit with a custom-made name tag (“Bruce Bruce, Boss Boss”).

He’s destroying everything I love about this place: he’s banned “Margaritaville” from our playlist, he knows customers by name, he paid for all the menus to be re-laminated out of his own pocket after the rats chewed through ‘em, and worst of all: the walls.

The walls at TGIFriday’s have been a quiet salute to all things American since the company’s inception. “Hoarder’s Paradise”, “Garage Sale Afterbirth”, call it whatever you want but it was a sacred and hallowed hodge-podge of knick knacks and doo-dads that had no place being together; a framed poster of JFK next to a Teddy Ruxpin wearing a tiny sombrero next to a “WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?” police scanner next to a toaster, its slots filled with iPods. They had no sense being next together, BUT THEY MADE IT WORK. And isn’t that America?

Bruce Bruce decided of his own volition to start making every room have a theme. He took everything off the main dining room walls and replaced it with Lady Gaga memorabilia. What kind of monster would do that??

But, what Bruce Bruce doesn’t know know is that I am the deep-fryer that has already set in motion a bubbling brew that will ignite the grease fire that will free us all.

I am a part of the Hash browns Resistance (we don’t serve hash browns but it’s got a nice ring to it).

Every night I take one of his fresh menus and I slit a smiley face in its back.

Every morning I put half a ton of fresh, raw hamburger meat in the dumpster out back, especially when I know the health inspector is coming.

And the rats? Guess who told them about their rights to equitable pay and paid time off? That’s right, me. I also made them tiny straw hats, (they’re so cute I could eat ‘em!)!

Now, a lot of you are saying, Pete, why don’t you just write a letter to the CEO or set the place on fire or hell, just quit? Heroes don’t quit. They’ve put out the two fires I’ve started really fast, and I’m too busy resisting to do anything truly meaningful that would have a lasting impact. If I helped permanently fix things eventually there’d be nothing left to fix.

But…

I will continue to steal papers off Bruce Bruce’s desk and eat them in shame in the walk-in cooler.

I will continue my nightly tradition of playing Russian Roulette with the line cooks after hours and try to enlist them.

I will do everything in my power to stop him, no matter what it takes, for as long as it takes, so long as it doesn’t jeopardize my serving career.

I would take a bullet for this country. I would fuck Old Glory again and not just for the YouTube hits. If the Statue of Liberty asked me to be her midwife, I would put on my birthing blindfold and help deliver that red, white, and goo.

I will literally die, if that’s what it takes, just so long as my resume stays intact.

You never know when Red Lobster might be hiring.