Friday, February 12, 2010
As I was walking past Radio City Music Hall recently, I began to reminisce about my days at the good ol' crappy ass Houlihan's which was two blocks away from it. Sorry, I have been on a Houlihan's kick lately, but I spent some time recently with a friend who worked there with me and we started talking about it. Memories that I have spent years trying to bury and forget came bubbling back to the surface and now they are regurgitated on this computer screen for you to read/ignore. Our business at the Huli was directly connected to what was happening at Radio City. When the Teletubbies had a weekend of shows we knew we would be overrun with parents schlepping their bratty ass kids to see that steaming pile of live entertainment. We had a copy of Radio City's schedule in our office just to make sure we were prepared. But the big daddy of Radio City is The Christmas Extravaganza. And when that shit rolled into town, the restaurant would overflow with people who were dying to have an overpriced hamburger and nachos served by waiters who hated them and everything they stood for.
If you have never had the chance to see the Christmas Extravaganza, be prepared to be hit over the head with the true meaning of Christmas. But only for the last ten minutes. The first hour and twenty minutes is about Santa and elves and presents and fun and then at the end they hit you up side your head with a Bible and bring Jesus all into he fray. They do about a thousand shows a day there, so we were always busy. I don't know why anyone wants to wait in line to get into a Houlihan's, but they did. We would have waiting lists. When they would finally get to their table, they were always in a hurry and demanding attention right that second. It was the craziest place I have ever worked when Radio City was in full swing. I hated it. I mean I hated that place when it was slow, so imagine how I felt when half of middle America was in there. Crying happened a lot and I am not talking about the kids in my station. Bartenders cried. Servers cried. Sometimes we would just have to escape to the bathroom and cry for a minute because we were so slammed and we just had to get the frustration out.
The funniest thing I ever saw was this girl named Rhonda. I always liked her. She told me to call her one time to get directions for a party she was having. I was reaching for a pen and she just said, "It's easy to remember. 777-PORK." I never had to look up her number again. Anyhoo, we had noticed she wasn't in the dining room and her tables were needing her. We all started looking around for her. She had a tendency to lose it sometimes and we were concerned. I found her. She was back near the bathroom and the pay phones in this little corner by the back door to the kitchen. She was on the floor in the fetal position rocking back and forth and crying. It was so sad. Rhonda had finally lost it. Not only was it the saddest thing I have ever seen, it was fucking hilarious. We took her checks from her and finished out her shift so she could compose herself. Houlihan's took a a lot out of us. It's gone now. It's The Tropicana Tanning Zone now where all the waitresses are in bikinis or some shit. I didn't think it would be possible to make that space any more of a miserable place to work, but they did.