What is with people whose job requires them to do ONE thing- and they cannot friggin’ do it? There’s this Subway sandwich shop that I frequent. I order a turkey sandwich, with the same toppings every time. And these Sharpie sniffing troglodytes fuck it up every time. A typical visit: Cheech Marin’s slow nephew looks up at me with that “I will be folding bread around meat forever” gaze, awaiting his marching orders. I say very clearly “Everything except onions and hot peppers”, because what I would like on my sandwich is everything, except onions and hot peppers.
After a moment of dazed panic, he goes straight for the onions. “No! Bad Cheech!” I say and attempt to slap his hand through the glass. Having deviated from the standard “Cheech shift unfinished sandwich left, and point to toppings and customer say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’” ritual, I’ve apparently fucked up the entire system. “NO ONIONS! Bad, bad Cheech!”, I say. Simple organisms will retreat to the safety and comfort of the familiar under conditions of extreme stress. Cheech points to the olives. I say “Yes ( I get two and a half, but that’s a whole different essay) He then points to the tomatoes. Again “Yes.” I quickly realize any attempt at time efficiency is futile with this WWF devotee, as we go through the lettuce and 6 other items that require individual affirmations, and then of course the hot peppers which get the denial. As he goes for the onions again, I pull out my gun and shoot him just above the right knee.
Bravely pressing on, Cheech folds the bread and vegetables without any dressing, and at this point, every fucking day, I say “Can I have mayo please? After application, Cheech attempts the finishing fold- “And oil and vinegar?” Cheech obliges, then goes for the quick fold and paper tape “And salt and pepper.” Then I get the pause, the frustration induced sigh, and the “Is that all stupid customer?” look. I nod “That’s all” and he completes the ritual with the fold over and paper tape and the transaction is completed by the eye-patched cashier who they have apparently taught to add through electric shock behavioral reinforcement training.
I leave the store with what I clearly asked for 45 minutes earlier- a turkey sandwich with everything except onions and hot peppers, filtered through the carmelized brain stem of Cheech the mongoloid sandwich maker. People run multimillion dollar corporations. Entertainment empires. Hospitals. Armies of thousands. Countries. Cheech has to make sandwiches, and he can’t do it. We can only hope that freshly baked bread fumes cause sterility.