August 18, 2015

They say that all good things must come to an end.  So do all regular things. So do all stupid things.  Towards the end of my tenure at the Fairfield Golf and Country Club in Fairfield, Iowa, I told the general manager, "I wish there were a way that I could make a living here..."  What I really meant was something like: "I'm about to bust a move, and I know you probably can't afford me, but if you can, let me know, and I might stick around."
     
What she didn't know was that by allowing a bar manager access to all of the financial information for the country club, she was opening up a big ass can of worms.  And, this wasn't just any old bar manager.  "Jess" loved stirring the pot.  In fact, she fed from it.  I'll put it to you like this:  If Jimmy Hart was known to Memphis wrestling as "The Mouth Of The South," then "Jess," our bar manager, was known to the country club as "The Mouth Of The Midwest." 
     
Much like Jimmy Hart, she carried a megaphone at all times.  Ok... Not really, but she did have similar hair... Sort of similar hair.  Ok, so maybe the only thing she had in common with Jimmy Hart was her love of getting everyone around her riled up.  Another character trait of hers was that she was a compulsive liar.  Seriously.  Have you ever come across a person who spewed out so many lies that, over time, you believed in nothing that came out of his/her mouth?  Every once in a while, though, you'd cling onto something they said if it benefited you in some way.  In hindsight, it was all nonsense- every last word that came out of her stupid mouth was nonsense.  But, like my African American Studies teacher at Western Kentucky, Dr. Butler, once said, "Distractions are only for those who want to be distracted."  At times, Jess's manipulation worked, but only if you really wanted to be angry at the country club about something.  She was the work place parasite for those who wanted to be distracted.  Every work place has 'em.  Beware of them and avoid them at all cost.  
     
At some point, Jess made the discovery that on the monthly financial reports, there was a section devoted to "Miscellaneous Fees."  Every month, $400 was paid out to this "Miscellaneous Fees" section.  No more.  No less.  Of course she told everyone about it, and of course there was a huge conspiracy theory about our general manager pocketing the money.  The end result of Jess's discovery eventually turned into disgruntled employees.  But really, the whole thing was just a distraction that had no personal bearing whatsoever on the employees, including me, at the end of the day.  Nor did it have any bearing on the kitchen's mission:  To put out quality food in a timely manner.  I could have gone my entire life without any knowledge of the "Miscellaneous Fees scandal" at the Fairfield Golf and Country Club in Fairfield, Iowa, and I'd be the exact same person, both in my professional life and in my daily life.  
     
So, why do we seek out certain distractions?  Why do we pick out certain things to harp on that in know way help us grow?  For me, and for probably a lot of "disgruntled employees" out there, I think it was simple:  I had no intentions on really spending my entire life in Fairfield, Iowa at the Fairfield Golf and Country Club.  Even at the point when I asked my GM if there was "a way for me to make a living here,"  I knew I wasn't staying.  I knew there was no way the country club could have afforded what would have been a very substantial raise to keep me there.  But, what I needed was a better reason than just "making enough to make a living" to get out of there.  I needed a bad guy.  So, when our GM slyly responded, "Well, there are ways we can get you more money here," I took her response as, "Well, there's a way I can cook the books without anyone knowing to get you some money illegally through 'Miscellaneous Fees.'"  Boom.  Bad guy.  Caught red handed.  In hindsight, she probably only meant, "There are some odds and ends things to do on the side for extra money,"  but I didn't want to hear that.  I needed the distraction.  I needed the bad guy, and she was it.  In reality, what I really needed from my work place was something that no place on the planet could have offered other than one place; my home, the Mississippi Delta.  When the stars properly aligned after a year of visits to Hey Joe's in Cleveland, Mississippi, it was finally time to get back home.  I packed up my bags and my dog and got the heck out of Dodge one day after my 27th birthday on July 29th, 2010.  "Good bye-owa," my Facebook status read, "I miss-issippi."  A new chapter would begin- a new chapter that has recently celebrated its 5th year anniversary in August of this year.  A new chapter, yet, for another day.  To be continued...