"It's a buck."

Before I was born, while my mother was heavily involved in the health-food movements of the late 70s and early 80s, my father was a manager for Hardees.

When my mother's friends through food co-ops, organic grocery stores and health-food suppliers would ask what her husband did for a living, she would say "He's a manager for Hardees", and in return would receive looks of disapproval and shock. In essence, they believed that she was somehow betraying the health-food ideals by 'siding with the enemy'.

And she always said the same thing about it to her friends. "It's a buck." "It's how I make my living, not how I live my life."

Just because my dad worked for a fast-food place didn't mean we ate fast food. In fact it was such a rare occurence for us to eat fast food that we considered it sortof a surreal experience.

Heck, even when we were on the road for months at a time, years later, we would eat cereal and milk for breakfast. The occasional bacon-egg-and-cheese crossandwich was almost a delicacy. That was just life.

Now I'm a bartender, and when I talk to many of my aquaintances, especially certain kinds of aquaintances, I get that "You're working for the enemy!" response. That idea that somehow because I sell alchohol to people, I must be a drunkard.

It's an odd moment for me because I get to use the defense I was raised to accept as valid.

The irony is, now my mom encourages me to tone down my 'bartender' status and simply say "I work in a restaraunt" in certain crowds. Which I can understand to a certain extent. Not giving people the wrong idea is certainly reasonable. After all, that whole "don't make the brother stumble" advice is wise and prudent.

But I often want to turn to her and say "But mom, it's a buck."

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


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