Cliff Gardner

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Confessions of a Short Order Cook

Mark thought that his continued failure to cook eggs over easy mirrored his other failures in life. Moreover, his ongoing “let’s just make scrabbled eggs and cover them with cheese and ketchup instead” motto ran parallel to his willingness to settle for things when he failed at his first choice. As a little bit of shell popped on the grill and his boss shouted at him in broken English to “egg cook faster,” Mark wondered what might have been.

Years before, when Mark was skipping his AP English class to work on his time machine, things were different. “I’m going to be somebody,” he told himself. “All you need is an idea…like that guy who invented Pogs! He made a billion dollars, or something, off of cardboard. Why not me?” Weeks later, when the macaroni snapped and the glue melted, his time machine exploding on the launch pad, Mark knew his window for fame and fortune had closed forever.

When Mark was dishonorably discharged from the Army two month later for constantly shouting “YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME” to his boot camp instructor, he moved back to Selma, Alabama, and began his new career as a short order cook. Sweating the constant heat of the grill and coughing due to persistent bronchitis, he tried to keep a positive outlook on things. “At least I can make pancakes with the best of them,” Mark quipped at his glaring manager. “And I’m going to flip this fucking egg over without breaking the yolk if it takes me the rest of my adult life!” With new found determination, Mark realized that it’s only settling if you’re genuinely unhappy with where you are in life, and he wasn’t. For some reason, in spite of everything, Mark was happy. Over the grease and smoke of his grill, he managed to smile.


  • Not to non-sequiter, but: do you have any more of those jackets that say "T-Mac Fan Club"?

    Seriously, I want one.

    By Anonymous dave, at 8:15 PM  

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