Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Dancing Busboy

I have been told by supervisors on more than one occasion that I lacked a "sense of urgency." I wonder, as I lay on the couch now and ponder their words, just what they meant. The first time I heard these words came when I worked as a busboy for Red Lobster restaurant.

I remember the first table that I cleared. I walked slowly to the table and picked up each glass and piece of silverware individually, raising them up close, inspecting them, then dropping them into the gray rubber tub. Then I wiped the table in wide, careful arcs. I brushed out the chairs gently, stepping back to assess the job. It took about 20 minutes. Afterwards, I looked into the tub with satisfaction and counted up the booty.

"Yyyyep, I cleared 6 glasses, 4 plates, and 16 pieces of silverware."

Then I swaggered off to the next table, toting that gray tub like it was a suitcase of 100 dollar bills.

The manager had a little talk with me about my speed of service. He stated that I did my job appropriately, but that I needed to work on a "sense of urgency." I didn’t grasp the exact meaning of his words at the time.

Later, but before my exit interview, I saw an ad in the paper for my restaurant. It read:

"Looking for a busboy who knows how to hustle."

I recall reading the post (slowly) and thinking,

"Hu. But I’m the busboy. I wonder why they want another one. And why do they want one who can dance?"


  1. Too cute! Thanks for sharing. Great punch line. My daughter (18) works in restaurant kitchen and I sense they are not thrilled with her. It is EXACTLY what she lacks--a sense of urgency. She's -- dreamy! And I LIKE IT!

  2. I am laughing so hard as I read this. Hilarious. Just hilarious. Please, please, keep writing as fast as you can. If you run out of ink, I'll send new pens. Love it.

  3. I had such a sense of urgency when I was a waitress (summer of '77, Atlanta area Western Sizzlin'), I dropped a medium-well filet mignon right onto a lady's thigh ... said extremity being encased in powder-blue polyester slacks. I'll never forget how nice she was about it. Never. I didn't lose my job but I believe I did lose some illusions that summer ... mostly about my own ability to balance sizzlin' steak plates.

  4. Genius post, absolutely brilliant & hilarious too ! Loving your whole blog. Thank you & best wishes...

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  6. Writing an abstract

    Hilarious and brilliant
    Wonderfully written.
    Really a very great post