Thursday, February 3, 2011

Flipping Burgers

[Part 2 of the "Voices of I" series]

If you think your job is exciting, try flipping burgers. Be a "service crew" at a small burger joint in a small suburban community, preferably a village of shanties that has a geographical shape closely resembling Tyra Banks' right armpit on a bad day. On your first night shift—which is most likely the only shift you'll get for the next three months—sit in a corner and wait. While waiting, you can do one of several things. You can pretend that you're awake or you can feign sleep; assume they are different. Expect a drunk adolescent who, instead of placing an order, will simply insist two things for the sake of making an even more juvenile point. One, he will profess that his buns are warm enough to cook themselves. Two, he will declare that you do not have the bread that will fit his footlong. And then he will turn, walk away with no sense of direction, and slowly disappear in the dark distance.

It's bad enough that you can't shoot down the bastard with a glue gun so you will chase him and slash his frankfurter with a bread knife, or sever a portion of it with a cutter. As penance for the sin you've just committed, you will mail his bologna to the Daughters of Charity, preferably with a note saying that there's a fresh joke somewhere inside the envelope. Suddenly, you will wake-up to the sound of a passing tricycle clattering down the alley as if it was waiting to die from a terminal case of tuberculosis. You will ask, was everything a dream? You will be as confused as a wrinkled cucumber in a convent. Out of the blue, you will suddenly remember Inception and imitate Leonardo DiCaprio. You don't have a spinning top so you spin a coin on the floor instead. You check the bread knife and the cutter and feel relieved. They do not have a bloodstain but you didn't notice that the coin was still spinning. And all that jazz.

Most of the nights, you'll have monologues. Indulging in that intellectual orgasm will not seriously threaten your health so long as you do it in the presence of your most complacent audience—yourself. Do not think, though, that it will make you an Einstein overnight. It will only help you forget, at least for a few minutes, about the poster's imposing image of Wowie De Guzman on the door. You know quite well the unspeakable misery of having that poster. Wowie's hair alone already puts you in an even more vulnerable state than having Judy Ann Santos with him in the same frame; the tenants of the neighboring shops will kill for a Wowie memorabilia any given day, and it's not because they want one. Perhaps, it has something to do with his hairstyle early in his career and, looking back, how it now offends the sensibilities of a barber or practically any person with a pair of scissors. With that in mind, you begin to theorize that he is either a cross-breed of this and this, or a hair follicle engrafted to grow on a scalp. But to avoid exploring the possibility of resurrecting a dead career by sporting a new hairstyle—and by completely doing away with the old one where one's hair looks as though it's been axed right in the middle of the head—you focus your mind on the pan and flip a burger.

And then you flip it a few more times. Never has there been a greater moment in your life, a cul-de-sac to every cul-de-sac that you've had before. You realize that flipping burgers gives you dominion, or the power of control, over beef and starch and the frying pan. It's a lesson they did not teach you in school. But you are fascinated and overwhelmed after discovering it on your own, like the day you discovered erection and told your seatmate that you invented it. You were sent to the principal's office that day but it did not change a thing. You still felt triumphant and from that day onwards you dreamed of becoming a scientist. Today, you flip burgers for a living.

Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6


sub said...

wow, where does this come from? it is as if you're about to whine about something but decided to look at it in a different perspective so you may feel good about your current situation. haha! nonetheless, its a good piece. masterfully written. at least, for my taste.

*hands up*


do you sport the same hairdo? :P

SPLICE said...

Hi Sub! It's a true story, partially at the most. But it's not my story. It's about this girl who works at a small burger outlet close to where I live. I frequent the place almost every midnight to have a quick fix. And she's cute, too, which is another reason why I'm a regular patron hehehe :)

Thanks for the compliment!

About the hairdo, I had the same when I was in first year high school. It was ages ago. I cut my hair short since then :)

sub said...

i see. so is this the beginning of a beautiful story? woot woot! habol sa valentines!

SPLICE said...

I don't know if it's the start of a beautiful story. I don't even know if it will start at all. Right now, I just go with the flow. Whatever happens, happens.

Gusto ko sana humabol sa valentines, pero nakakatamad hahaha!

sub said...

ako din tamad ehh, pwede pakisundo ako? :P kelan ka uuwi laguna, baka next week pako ehh. pasabay ahh, palibre na din! hahahaha

*im so kapal*

nagLB kaba?

SPLICE said...

I think I will be going to LB this coming week. Probably Friday [FebFair!] yeeeaahh!

sub said...

that reminds me, feb na nga pala ngayon noh?! woot woot! anong batch ka? course? well, that is if you dont mind. if you do, paki sagot nlang din! wahahaha!

lintek na word verification yan! (bawal ba magmura dito sa site mo?) sorry ahh :P

sub said...

that reminds me, feb na nga pala ngayon noh?! woot woot! anong batch ka? course? well, that is if you dont mind. if you do, paki sagot nlang din! wahahaha!

lintek na word verification yan! (bawal ba magmura dito sa site mo?) sorry ahh :P

Nishiboy said...

kaya pala ang galing. taga elbi pala. lol.

plaridel said...

this is good. have you thought of becoming a novelist? i think you'll be successful at it.

SPLICE said...

'03, Philosophy.
Hindi bawal magmura dito sa blog ko hahaha sa katunayan, walang bawal dito :)

Thanks [?] lol

I don't know if I can be a novelist, let alone a "potential" novelist. I'm just a happy blogger. But thank you for the compliment :)

sub said...


unforgettable date & place?
paste your picture here:

hahaha! joke lang, bakit wala pa bagong entry? sige mag back read muna ko!

SPLICE said...

batchmate! [yey! hahaha]

org? [none]
frat? [secret! hahaha]
name? [Splice]
address? [Diliman, QC]
unforgettable date & place? [I forgot hahaha]
signature: [Sgd.]
paste your picture here: :D

Medyo busy sa school. Tons of things to do. Still alive, though :)

kae said...

funny post. lol. though im not sure if you're trying to be funnny when you were writing this down? of course you were.

you seem to find inspiration from just about everything from flipping burgers to emotional weather reports.ang galing mo talaga, idol. :) will read more. :)