Tim and Jeremy are both waiters at a restaurant in downtown New York City. During slow times at work, to stave off boredom when it is slow, the two young men draw pictures. These pictures are made using ink and what is called the "Triple Dupe Pad," a book of paper used to place orders in the kitchen. The drawings usually take about a week to make, all the while also being used by fellow employees to take orders; this sometimes leads to other collaborators or in a couple cases, to the loss of the work. The drawings are then scanned and colored in Photoshop where they come to life in stunning technicolor! The subject matter varies from piece to piece, as they are made over a long course of time and under various moods and states of mind. They all retain a playfulness that serves as a coping mechanism after spending a night catering to the endless needs of hungry patrons.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

#55 "A Day at the Beach" April 24, 2013

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I don't remember dropping off my resume to the restaurant. I know that I must have been dropping off a lot of them that day and somehow this one caught the eye of our old manager. He liked the very last line of the "Special Skills" part in which I stated, "likes to take naps." I didn't find this out for a couple of years, but that was the line that sealed the deal. I got the call to work there at one of the lowest points of my professional career. I was on an open call in Times Square at the WWE themed restaurant. You might be thinking, "there's no such restaurant like that in Times Square," and you would be right. However, in the winter of 2002, there certainly was that restaurant and me and 1,000 other people were applying for a job there. I waited in line for an hour and a half, maybe longer. It was brutal. The whole time I was standing there in this cattle call, I knew I didn't even want the job. The longer I was in line, the more this became evident, until finally I was at a desk, talking to a manager. I don't remember any of the interview, but I do know I was so angry about the whole thing that I probably gave a horrible interview. I never got a call back from them, and they ended up closing the place down less than a year later. However, when I left that hideous place, I had a voicemail from the manager at my restaurant. It said that I should come in for an interview the next day. I did just that and got the job, starting the day after that. I was pretty excited about this prospect as I hadn't had a steady job in months. I had been doing some freelance art stuff, but I didn't have a steady income and I was broke. I moved to New York right after 9/11 and so the job market was pretty bleak, hence actually considering a job in a chain restaurant owned by a Wrestling Entertainment group. So, on my first day at the restaurant, I got there early and decided to make a good impression. I listened carefully to my co-workers about how to do the setup and what side work was required. I helped them do all of this, and then it was time for our staff meal. One of the best parts about working in food service is getting a staff meal and a staff drink. A lot of the time, the meals are actually quite good, and this being New York, quite inexpensive. Since I had about $5 to my name at that point, I was thrilled that the restaurant offered this delicious perk. And then I went back into the kitchen to see what it was. It was brains. The restaurant serves calves brains every once in a while as a special. The old folks love it because not too many restaurants serve brains any more and this harkens back to the good old days when you ate every part of the animal. I think they will be making a comeback sooner than later as part of this "farm to table" movement where all these trendy restaurants are trying to outdo each other with crazy dishes using often overlooked parts of the animal. So, we're ahead of the curve, because we've probably been serving brains since the 70's. So, on my first day, we had taken the brains off the menu and put them in a big metal bowl under the heat lamps for us to eat, along with some rice and vegetables. My new co-workers said things like, "you don't have to eat that if you don't want to," and the like, but I wanted to prove that as a new guy on the team, I was up for any challenge. And so, I plopped a couple calves brains on my plate, got a scoop of rice and headed out into the dining room for my first staff meal with my new friends. One of the other waiters got a bowl of ice cream and the other waitress had something else, and as I sat down and picked up my fork and knife, the two of them stared at me in giddy excitement. I felt like they were saying, "oh my gosh he's really going to eat it." Which, I found out later, they were. But I soldiered on, and ate one of the brains. If you have never eaten brains, let me briefly tell you about them, from what I can remember. They taste like fish flavored pudding. I think that the way we prepare them for customers must make them taste better, but I was given plain brains, on a plate with a side of rice. This was also 12 years ago. I am pretty sure I haven't eaten brains since then, although I do plan on doing so some day in the future. It would be poetic if the next time I had them was on my last day, but I feel like that will be 20 years in the future and who knows if there will even be calves in that distant world. Starting any new job can be scary and awkward, but then sometimes you have to eat brains on top of everything else. I guess it's a testament to the place, that even after that crazy first day, I am still working there.

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