Archive for November, 2006

In Search of Bro: Part 2

November 24, 2006

“Bro” isn’t exactly a new term to me. I grew up in the late 80’s/early90’s when California surf culture was thriving. Once bizarre words such as “Gnarly,” “Tubular,” or “Awesome,” became everyday slang for much of the country, and “Bro” found its way into the American vernacular. When I think of “Bro” it’s that image, a shaggy-haired surfer and a neon green board that pops into my head.

Others think of “Bro” as being a shortened version of “Brother,” which brings forth images of African-Americans, or perhaps just a beatnik or two. Johnny, the monster who had failed to address in the first place, didn’t seem to fit any of these stereotypes. He was just one of the countless Abercrombie and Fitch rejects who paraded around my hometown in their raised trucks and eXtreme* attitude.

Bro

After sharing my story with other servers at the restaurant I began to learn a lot about the associations others make with the word “Bro.” For most it is merely a generic synonym for “Dude,” but in some cases it carries a very specific and (some would say) vicious meaning.

Rather than try to explain it myself, I thought I’d let Wikipedia do it. The fact that Wikipedia had an entry devoted to such things amuses me to no end.

Bro, or Flatbiller, is a synonym for a member of a Southern California subculture. The subculture is primarily centered around Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside County, San Diego, and San Bernardino…

…Bros tend to operate lifted trucks and have a large sticker or design on the back window of their truck. They wear flat-billed hats turned to the side or bent up and talk about dirt bikes (usually accompanied by tattoos and/or stretched ears). These gentlemen with a rough-exterior warmheartedly refer to each other as “Bro” and partake in drinking and proving their masculinity by means of riding bikes or fighting, although they usually back down after being threatened. An average Bro is a Construction worker or unemployed…”

I wasn’t aware that these young men I was surrounded with all shared a label. They’re like a gang, only terribly disorganized, non-threatening, and borderline stupid. The worst part is that in ten years they will all be running the state when they inherit family businesses.

When he greeted the new trainee was he simply acknowledging the presence of an equal? Being so different from the two was I perceived not to be a threat, and therefore not worth talking to in the first place?

While I may never know, I did learn more about Bros than I once thought possible. Next time I’m just going to admit to myself that nobody likes me and deal with it.

*eXtreme is a term I use to describe people who buy their “attitude” from a skateboard shop.

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In Search of Bro: Part One

November 23, 2006

At work today I decided to make a motivated effort to speak to the latest trainees at the Macaroni Grill. Turnover is terrible in pretty much any job I could get at this point, but there things seem to get progressively worse as time goes on. My poor restaurant is violently understaffed, which only serves to foster a whole slew of problems. As a result, the only people I bother to speak to are the more experienced ones, and have created good working relationships with all of them.

Anyway, Johnny, a fellow server, had entered the restaurant while I was speaking to the trainee, and, as it turns out, was running quite late. He was just about to rush past us when he made eye contact with the trainee.

“What’s up, bro?” he asked, giving the newcomer a “high five.”

Despite being interrupted, I bit my tongue and waited patiently for the exchange to end. Johnny and I are on good terms, or so I thought, there was no reason to cause trouble over something as minor as being interrupted.

Unfortunately it did not stop there, for it was what he didn’t do next that drove me over the edge. Johnny simply walked away and proceeded to clock into the computer without even bothering to greet me. The nerve!

Where was my “high five?” What had I done to him that would cause him to disrespect me so? Hurt and offended, my first instinct was to call Johnny out on it. This was not about him not greeting me, it could have been anyone. I don’t care. This was about the only thing I truly cared about: The Principle.

When confronted about the issue, Johnny was quick to apologize for anything he had done to upset me, even offering me a “special high-five” as condolence. By then (80 seconds later) it was too late to repair the damage that easily, and my keen, analytical mind began to try and decipher the reasons as to why I was slighted. Seeing as his greet consisted of only three words there was very little to decipher, so it was easy for me to determine that the conclusion to his three-pronged attack was key.

“‘Bro?’ What exactly is a ‘Bro'” I asked myself, “And why aren’t I one?”

Come back for the second part of my investigation tomorrow, when things take a surprising turn!

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German Chocolate Cake

November 14, 2006

Despite of the fact that they’re very demanding, have difficulty reading menus, don’t order very much, and rarely tip, I love waiting on senior citizens. If it were up to me, I’d wait on the elderly all day long. In fact, I’ve begun to seriously consider a career in Senior Care.

Anyway, I was serving at work (as I’m known to do) when an elderly couple entered the restaurant. It wasn’t very busy at the moment, so I pounced on them to make sure I would get the table first. They were very friendly, but after speaking to the couple for a moment, it was obvious that English was not their first language.

Red Triangle

Like so many other people whose first language was not English, they ordered a bottle of red wine, and took their sweet time before figuring out what to eat for lunch. This didn’t bother me, as I was too distracted by my QuickCross puzzle to pay much attention to anything else.

The woman outstretched her arm as I handed her a glass of wine. It was then when I noticed a number and a letter written faintly on her wrist, as if it were in pen.

“Huh,” I thought to myself, “I wonder why this person wrote all over her–”

Oh. Oh.

There is some German blood in me, but my family line has no connection to Nazi Germany whatsoever. Even so, I still feel a tremendous amount of guilt when I’m confronted by reminders of The Holocaust, whether it be visiting the Museum of Tolerance or watching a Mel Brooks film.

After taking the couple’s order, I decided to do everything that I could for these people. Today I was no longer satisfied with providing them a decent meal and good service, no; my plan was far greater. Today I would make up for the horrors of genocide using the tools provided to me by Romano’s Macaroni Grill!

Given the lackluster tools provided to me by Romano’s Macaroni Grill this proved more than difficult, so (as usual) I had to rely on the greatest tool of them all — myself. Also: lying to get free food for the customers.

Many glasses of wine, a meal and a chocolate cake later the lovely couple finally began to lose interest in my Italian eatery. They thanked me profusely, and left just as quickly as they had entered.

As they left, I admired what I did for them while staring at their bill. All over it were smiley faces I had drawn as a last-ditch effort to make things right.

I’m sorry your family was probably murdered by Nazis, but I hope you were still able to enjoy the dessert.

Three Ring Government

November 8, 2006

It’s only once every two years that Americans are genuinely concerned about what other people think. Watching the election results roll in is always fun for me, and despite how you feel about the candidates and the issues, there’s no denying how exciting it is when the balance of American power is shifted one way or another. I can only hope that this will be the beginning of great change and unity, as opposed to being in a situation where legislation becomes a pissing match between the Executive and Legislative branches of the government. Remember that your vote counts*!

Ivoted

Election Day could not come soon enough for my Grandmother, who remains as passionate as ever in this, her 26th presidential election. Most families don’t have to deal with their Grandparents posting campaign advertisements on their front yard, but I think I’m better off for seeing that passion. She has always been vocal about forcing her political opinions onto her offspring, and those results have been mixed. One one end of the spectrum is my Brother, who takes great joy in arguing loudly with mycGrandmother about the President, the war, and pretty much anything she could have an opinion about. The verdict is still out on whether he does this because he likes the discussion, or simply because he’s an asshole.

My Sister, who will vote for the first time in ’08, will probably end up voting based on the issues, rather than the candidates or their political parties. My Mother, who has had to deal with our Grandmother the longest, simply lost interest in politics altogether.

Personally, I find my own beliefs to be somewhere between my sister and my Grandmother: I’m very passionate about certain issues, but I choose to keep quiet about my opinions. Shutting my mouth keep me safe during family gatherings, and more importantly, during those times when Aaron and I listen to talk radio.

It’s important to me that people vote, though it’s not necessarily important to me that anyone talk to me about who they voted for.

*Unless it’s the Presidential Election where the Electoral College can basically do whatever they want.

Cooler Than You: Stan Lee and Al Jolson

November 2, 2006

As some might know, on Monday night I attended a screening of Spider-Man 2 at the world-famous Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. I’ve seen Spider-Man 2 more times than I’d like to mention, but what was so special about this screening was that it was hosted by Stan Lee and Kevin Smith!

Unfortunately, aside from the overhwhelming coolness of the whole thing, there isn’t very much to report. My camera wasn’t allowed inside the theater, and they rushed Stan and Kevin so much that they didn’t even bother to answer any audience questions. It was a fun experience, though, and I’m thrilled just to have been in the same room with Stan Lee. Hearing personal stories about Dr. Doom or Fin Fang Foom was icing on the cake.

Much like Bob Barker, Stan Lee was one of those people I wanted to see in person at least once before they retired in seclusion or um… you know. Hopefully I will see him again at Comic-Con 2007, but that place is such a mess I’m not even sure I want to attend.

Another positive note: I stumbled across Al Jolson’s footprints in front of the theater.

Al Jolson

Awesome.