Tag Archives: Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

My Life as a Mash-Up IX

So I’ve already made the decision to sort of “theme it up” a bit and include at least one horror movie in every post I make for October.

Why not start a little early?

Let’s talk about cocktail waitressing. It sets the tone so perfectly for a horror flick of all sorts: running, screaming, periods of incoherence, and strange men chasing you up stairs to demand something from you that will, of course, result in more running.

Funny though, I don’t think of ‘chaser films’ when I think about my job(s). This is what comes to mind:

Dawn of the Dead-meets-Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

FYI: That’s the original, 1978, Dawn of the Dead. This entry is zombie-baby free (although, for the record, I miss Joe Dubois).

In case any of you are considering an illustrious career as a cocktailer, here is the short list of things you must possess to handle this job:

1. The ability to look like you’re happy when, in fact, you want to tear people limb from limb. See: Romero Zombie 101, or, Pee-wee vs. Francis Burton.
2. Quick thinking in potentially violent and/or lucrative situations. See: The Zombie Survival Guide (thank you Max Brooks), or, THIS.

AND possibly the most important of all:
3. The constitution to maintain some semblance of faith (or sense of humor) in the human race after seeing them at their absolute worst, night after night, year after year. See: Peter’s suicide contemplation (but not follow through!) in Dawn, or, I KNOW YOU ARE BUT WHAT AM I??!!

Basically it’s this: bar patrons=zombies. Not just any zombies, DAWN OF THE DEAD zombies. Somehow, somewhere in the deep recesses of the mushy zombie-brain, there is a compulsion to return again and again to the same place you were the night before, do the same things you did last night, and drink (human blood/body parts=booze in this analogy) until you pass out or get killed looking for more.

Have you figured out where the basement in the Alamo figures in? PAY-OFF. Where Dawn didn’t exactly fail to deliver an uplifting ending (helicopter pun!) of escape, Pee-wee got fame and fortune out of his adventures in to the surreal. AND he got his bike back. AND he got to ride off in to the sunset with a bicycle mechanic (which, speaking from experience, rocks).

See, cocktailing sucks about as bad as the zombification of America, but hell, the tips are great. If you want a truly brain-numbing job, work in retail. Be one of the first-to-go in the mall-o-dooms-day- not from being devoured by walking dead, but from your own head-first spiral down the rabbit hole of human-and-self-loathing. Let’s put this to a test, shall we?

In one of the more memorable lectures I’ve ever attended I got to ask Max Brooks what the psychological implications were of the “Quislings” in his novel ‘World War Z’. Quislings were people that hadn’t been turned by zombies, but just couldn’t deal with the zombie apocalypse, so they had a mental breakdown and began to act just like the undead did. Interesting thought, if you apply that to retail. Here’s why:

For 39.9 hours a week (because full-time-with-benefits is about as mythical as a studio executive offering you loads of money to buy the rights to your life story) you can make minimum wage selling people who make more than you do shit they don’t need. After your first two-cent raise (so, after you’ve worked the same register for 2 years), you start to think to yourself “How are these people any better than I am?” To make yourself feel better, or, you know, not the world’s most insignificant peon, you take advantage of your 3% store discount and start buying all the same shit those people with loads of money buy. Now you’re the same! You all own a bunch of shit you don’t need!

Conversely, cocktail waitressing produces a very different effect. After the first few months of hit-or-miss nights, the ‘hit’ nights sending you home after 5 hours with $400 cash-money in your pocket, you start to LOATH the people that come in for a ‘party’. Not your regulars, mind you- they generally know how to drink and tip. The ‘party people’ are the assholes that think ‘bar’ translates roughly in to ‘leave all morality and human decency at the door’. They do things like take their shirts off and holler “Jager Bomb Yo!” at the top of their lungs. Does this make you want to join them? Nay. You run, far away, back to your books and dvd collection for some specifically non-sweaty non-physical-contact-y goodness.

Who wins in this situation? The fucking cocktail waitress who knows how to run her ass off on a slippery floor in heels. Archery? Can’t be that difficult if you’re coming from a place where you have to balance 9 kamikazes and eleven-teen pints of Bud Light on a tiny tray. Let’s face it: Dodging drunks is about 99% zombie avoidance technique. I will survive.

So all seriousness and human carnage aside, let’s go back to the most important rule: a sense of humor. Until that day comes where drunks actually ARE undead, blood hungry threats, we can’t go attacking with shovels. Yet. Which leads me toooooo: TEQUILA!

It’s safe to say I dance my way through work nightly. Not in a booty-shakin’-too-sexy-for-this-apron kind of way, but in a mental, this-is-the-only-way-I’ll-get-out-of-here-alive, way. If Pee-wee could dance his way out of hangin’, tattooin’, killin’ ordeals, I sure as hell can, too.
So watch out bikers! My tequila dance is to the Robot Chicken ‘ba-bac bac bac’ and involves many, many inexplicable pies.

Keeps a smile on my face though. And that, my friends, pays the rent…

Tip me or I’ll get the shovel,
Jeannie