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Day 8: Grease-sliding

Last night was a productive night. I brought home $68 – a new record by $3. I went on 17 deliveries, also a new record. It beat the previous one by 6. ROE INTENSE, BABY. Going to KILL THE DEBT. Also, I wish to note: I appreciate the daylights out of the people I work with and the environment I work in.

“Shiftmanager #1, I need a till,” I asked her in Spanish. I used the word “till” in English for lack of a Spanish word.

“It’s not called a till, it’s called a bank. You need a bank.”

“Oh, right, well I need a bank.”

“There’s one right over there,” She said as she pointed her finger towards the First National on the corner of our strip mall.

We laughed. She more so. She got me.

The cash register chimed and she reached for some bills.

“Ay, I don’t have any money!” she said.

“Good thing you’re employed,” I said.

We laughed. Her turn to laugh less.

“Now you got me,” she said as she handed me my change for the evening.

New jobs always bring a new set of experiences. I’m developing aptitudes I never thought possible: fast-food pizza prep, dish washing, grease sliding, conversation avoidance and pizza-fog management. The latter is the art of tweaking air conditioning and heating controls in your car to minimize the delicious-smelling film that forms on the inside of your windows while on delivery.

“But RI,” you may be saying, “what on Earth is grease sliding?”

I’m so glad you asked. I’m happy to explain.

The most cost-effective flooring for food preparation is a solid, hard-surface medium. (Think six-inch ceramic tiling with sealed grout.) Why is it the most cost effective? Because it is the easiest to clean. The floors are difficult to stain and non-porous, so things like sneezes, meat chunks, profanity and other human and inhuman substances don’t get absorbed to make perma-nastiness. The stuff just beads up on the surface.

Slop mop after sweep, dry mop after slop. Look good? Yep. Grease gone? Never.

Which brings me to grease sliding.

It was the day of my interview. The never-before-heard door chime rang as the back of the store opened before me. My interviewer and future manager welcomed me with a smile and led me through the door. I had on my favorite shoes: a pair of biz-casual LL Bean lace-ups with Clark Griswold’s non-caloric silicon-based kitchen lubricant infused in the rubber of the sole.

I started hydroplaning on an invisible layer of grease. Every time I went to take a step, I had to compensate. A slight angle here. A lift there. Oh, a grout line! Slight texture there helped me leverage a third step.

I was trying to look competent. I was trying to convey that I was in possession of fine motor skills. Instead, I slid baby steps across the floor like a granny in slippers, but with teeth and in business casual, not a 1960’s nighty that no grandchild should ever witness.

“Honey,” I said, coming in the door at the end of my work day, “we’re going to need to buy non-slip shoes.”

And buy them we did. Wal-Mart special. The wife knew where to find them. She followed the trail of pizza prep and other fast-food workers stretching out of the shoe aisle. They were daisy-chaining boxes of shoes, using call-and-response to communicate sizes to the soul at the front of the line. She just parked at the end, received said shoes, and brought home these fancy kicks.

I am just kidding about that line, by the way. It was too long in the store, so she ordered them from

At any rate, that treacherous grease-flow is now my playground. I found traction in my stride. I take corners while pushing a dish-bin and execute controlled drifts. If I accelerate fast enough, I just spin my wheels and don’t go anywhere. If it weren’t for the lack of friction in that situation, I’d put down rubber.

Yeah, I’m pumped about getting out of debt. I’m pumped to get chickens and a house with a fence and to bathe in a tub that doesn’t drain slowly through the overflow if I sink into the water below my knees. I’m pumped about getting on financial footing the rest of the country has decided it will never achieve, even if I have to slide around a bit before I do. Those dreams are intense. Grease-sliding is intense. And I remain, as always,



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