By; Speaker Gerald A. Polley

Managers weren't the only ones I seemed to irritate at the workplace. Sometimes cooks didn't appreciate my efforts, either. In the same restaurant that I had problems with the manager there was also a cook that didn't last too long with me. I'd been working with him for about a week when all of a sudden one morning I heard CRASH! CRASH! CRASH! I rushed into the cook station and was immediately joined by the boss. The cook was hauling pots and pans off the rack and the shelf and throwing them all over.
"Victor! Victor! What's the matter?" the boss answered. "Take it easy!"
"It's him!" the cook commented, pointing at me, "I can't stand him! He's like a machine, the same thing over and over again! Everything back in the same, precise place. He never does anything different. It drives me crazy! A man can't be a machine. He's got to do something DIFFERENT once and a while!"
The boss and I stared at each other in bewilderment. Finally the boss managed to speak. "But we WANT everything organized, Victor. We WANT people to put things back where they're supposed to be. We're trying to get the other dishwashers to follow Gerald's example so people can find stuff when they want it. Then you'll just have to get used to it. No more of this foolishness!"
Vic stared at the boss for a couple of moments and then grunted. "If that's what you want!" and went back to work.
The boss and I again stared at each other for several moments then he grinned, shook his head and walked off.
The pots and pans in that place had been neglected for so long the buildup on them was terrible! I had been attacking them with every type of tool I could find, but it was slow going. Then I suggested to the boss I'd bring in my drill and get some buffing wheels. It would kind of be like a motorized steel wool. The boss said "Sure!" He'd pay for the wheels. I got what I needed and went to work.
I only had a couple of hours a morning I could work until the customers started coming in and had been making quite a bit of progress when one morning Vic charged out of the kitchen.
"Stop doing that!" he screamed, "Stop making so damned much noise! What in the hell is the matter with you? Why do you make so damned much noise?
"I'm working!" I told him. "I've gotta get this stuff done! Don't worry about it."
"Stop it, NOW!" Vic screamed. "I don't care! You're making too much noise!"
The boss came out the back door. "What's the matter?" he asked, "What's the problem?
"He's making too much noise!" Vic screamed. "This used to be a nice quiet place to work 'til HE came here. The other dishwasher NEVER made so much NOISE! Why does he have to?"
"The other dishwashers never made any noise," the boss answered, "because they never DID anything. Gerald works. Leave him alone! Get in there and WORK!"
Vic stormed back in the kitchen. Again the boss and I exchanged humorous glances, and I went back to work. A few days later the boss came to me with another problem.
"Gerald," he asked, "you got any idea why this steam table isn't keeping the food warm enough?"
I examined the steam table. It seemed to be working fine. Then, I noticed some of the inserts and put one in.
"Here's the problem!" I remarked. "The corners of all the inserts are bent down. They're not fitting snugly in the steam table so the heat is escaping. I'll lay you odds if I straignten out these corners so the pans set in them right, the food will stay nice and warm."
"Go for it!" the boss instructed.
I got some pliers and spent several hours bending the inserts back into shape. I was just about done when I heard "BANG! BANG! BANG!" in the kitchen. I looked in and here was Vic with one of the inserts I had just straightened, bending up the corners again, banging them on the counter. I stuck my head in the office door and told the boss what was happening. He went in the kitchen and argued with Vic for several minutes, then came back.
"They don't want the pans to fit so snugly," he remarked, "they can't get them out without the steam burning their fingers."
I told him to leave the inserts alone, and to pull them up with a spoon to let out the steam before taking them out. He got a disgusted look, shook his head, and went back in the office. I continued straightening the inserts.
The next day when I came in, I noticed several of them had been bent up again, so I got out the pliers and started straightening them again. After a while I became aware of someone standing at the end of the counter. I looked up to see Vic glaring at me. He never said a word, just shook his head and walked off. A few minutes later one of the waitresses came in.
"I've got an order," she remarked, "where's the cook?"
I went into the kitchen. Vic's apron was laying on the counter by the back door and his car
was gone!
"I'll do what I can," I told the waitress, "til the boss gets here."
We had some very understanding customers that morning 'til the boss got in, and was able to take over. I'm not the world's best cook!
We never saw or heard of Vic again! He was owed three day's pay, he never came back to pick it up. The boss went to his room but he'd moved out the same day he'd left work.
I'll admit I've irritated some people over the years, but that was the first time I'd ever irritated so much that he left without ever coming back for his pay!


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