fine dining: Transcript

ACTOR: Yes, I understand that if you don’t get the USDA recommended dose of greasy burger meat every day you break out in hives, but hives are not really the purview of my department.

No sir.

Sir, honestly I recommend that you just lick the grease off the wrappers in the wrapper dispenser.

[Theme Music]

YVONNE: This is Mouthful and I am Yvonne Latty. Every week I will be having a complicated conversation with a young person about the things that matter to them, things they have written about and shared on stages across the city. And then we will go out into the community and talk to teens, adults, experts anyone who can broaden the conversation.

For teens it’s find a summer job season! For parents, that means it’s time to nag your teens to find work season. Because if they don’t find a job, not only will they not have any cash, but  summer will be spent, essentially doing nothing, but watching TV, Snapchatting, texting, watching Netflix and Hulu, and lounging around. Sounds fun, but after a few weeks, that can get really boring and drive parents nuts.

Not to mention a missed opportunity for a young person to learn about themselves and to set their sights on future career options.

And any job will do right? Everyone has had that job that stinks. You know your worst job. The job that can inspire you to write a monologue. The jobs you often find when you are young.

Today’s monologue is about a job that really does not seem like any fun, unless you happen to love grease.

Let’s listen to Fine Dining by Owen Fox, who wrote this hilarious monologue when he was a senior at Masterman High School.

ACTOR: No sir, we can’t supersize that.

Yes sir.

Yes sir, I’m aware that our motto here at “Supersize Me Greaseburgers and Co.” is “We can Supersize that” but as it turns out, we actually cannot.

No, sir.

No sir, I can’t just put it in the supersizing machine and charge you for a regular order. You know the rules.

You don’t know the rules?

Sir, the Greaseburgers code of conduct clearly states that the Supersizing Matter Replication Grease Enhancing Device can only be used in cases of confirmed supersizing. As what you are describing is what we in the Greaseburger business call an “under the table supersizing”, I just don’t feel comfortable authorizing it.

Yes sir.

Yes sir, technically this is a counter and not a table.

Yes sir.

Yes sir. Like we say on our website, we only use organic grass fed grease injected straight into the burger.

No sir.

Yes sir.

Yes, I understand that if you don’t get the USDA recommended dose of greasy burger meat every day you break out in hives, but hives are not really within the purview of my department.

No sir.

Sir, honestly, I recommend that you just lick the grease off the wrappers in the wrapper dispenser.

Yes sir.

Yes that is disgusting. That’s the life you chose when you chose Greaseburger.

Yes sir.

Sir, please stop crying.

It’s going to be ok sir.

I’m sorry to hear that, but as assistant manager I am only responsible for the serving of the greaseburgers and not the mental well being of our customers. I’ll have to redirect you to the Greaseburger’s Grease Therapy and Psychoanalysis division.

Alright sir.

Yes sir the mustard packets are free.

No sir I don’t want one.


Of course sir.

Thank you for choosing Greaseburgers. And remember “If it ain’t grease, give it to the geese”

I don’t know what that means either sir.

Thanks again.


YVONNE: Well, your production team at Mouthful can relate to this monologue because we all have been there. Lisa Nelson-Haynes, Mitchell Bloom and yours truly had a laugh about it.

Yvonne: Lisa, what was your worst job?

Lisa: My worst job was my first job. I was hired at the McDonalds in the Springfield Mall—it's not even there anymore—it was horrible. I think I worked there for three days. The third day they asked me to go clean the boy's bathroom. And I was like, oh, no, no. I didn't use it, I'm not cleaning it. And they were like: excuse me? And I was like I'm sorry, I'm gone. And this is before cell phones. So I went to a payphone and called my mom and said, "You need to come pick me up because I'm not working here anymore." And that was it. I just couldn't. And then, the grease from the fries was starting to mess with my skin. So that was another thing. I wasn't gonna have all that grease, and pimples. It was just not worth it. So no. That was my worst job. [laughter]

Mitchell: Um, I don't know if my worst job... It didn't even really have time to go bad because I worked at a Subway for two days when I was in high school. And it was just for extra work, and I went in and interviewed with the guy and like I had worked at my family's business before that, but it was my first like non-Christmas Tree farm job, and you know we went in and he hired me like twelve hours a week. I was in high school. It was extra, a couple nights a week. And I went to two days of training and then before the third day I went in to talk to him again, he was giving me my schedule. And he had scheduled me for 38 hours or something. And I didn't know what to say to him in the moment, I was 16 or whatever, and I was like "okay, thank you, sir." Then I called my mom as I was driving to work, and she said okay I'll call him. And she called him and then called me back—it was like a twenty minute drive from where I had met him and work. And I was pulling in to the parking lot and my mom called me and said honey come home you're not working there any more. And I was like oh okay, I mean I wasn't heart broken, two days at Subway was enough for me, and I said why and she said well for on thing he called me Mrs. Blossom, and said that if you can't work there 38 hours a week then we don't want him. So that was a short stint at Subway.

Yvonne: Um, my worst job was probably my first job. I was a counselor at a YMCA at City College, and I was really excited about the job. And the way they placed you with campers was they put us in a big auditorium and they would call your name and say you're with "Troupe X" or you're working in the art room. So they called everyone, and I'm sitting there, 14, first job, so excited, so excited, finally they're placing the counselors with the 14 year old kids, and they called me to be the counselor of kids my age. It was really awkward. I lied and said I was 16. It was weird. Everybody was going into freshman year of high school—including me [laughter]. So the next year I got the same job, and they did the same thing, I was 15 and they were gonna put me with the 14 year olds. And I said, "No! I want to take care of kids!" So they put me with the seven year olds. I should've stuck with the 14 year olds. And I remember when I had the job, all I really wanted to do was hang out with the kids that were my age, and I was supposed to be in charge. It was really, really a weird job.

YVONNE: Ask anyone what their worst job was, and you get a story.

Neighbor, Older Male: I worked construction, it didn't bother me. I worked with my father picking up bodies for a funeral home, didn't bother me. Worked as a waiter, bartender—liked it. A guy asked me to help him for a couple days working—he was sick or something—delivering futons to university City, in the season where the kids are all moving in, the family bought them futons... Some of them were like 100 and something pounds, and you had to walk, no elevators, you had to walk up four floors, put em in. Assemble em. And I wasn't used to that. So I gave him two days, and I said you better wait til your friend gets better. That was the worst job. I wouldn't take it if you tripled the pay.

Neighbor, Female: I was a waitress on the Moshulu, which is a boat, which was made into a restaurant. They made it into a restaurant. But it was docked in a pier, and it was pitched to the left maybe like ten degrees. So when you walked around with trays of food and drinks, you're basically walking up the side of the hill sideways, so you were like walking up and down hills while you were waitressing.

Older Male Neighbor: Did you stay there long?

Female Neighbor: I lasted maybe two days.

Older Male Neighbor: That's like I did with the other!

Female Neighbor: Yeah, yeah. It was like... this isn't for me.

YVONNE: But not all first jobs have to be your worse jobs. And there are organizations to help teens get the right start in the workforce.

We  met up with Chekema Fulmore-Townsend, the president and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network, a 17 year old organization, that helps kids get jobs.

Chekema: So the Philadelphia Youth Network is a 17 year old intermediary organization, and what that means is we partner with different types of providers, community-based organizations, government and policy makers, to achieve a common goal. And for us that common goal is about how do we create a coordinated system of experiences and learning so that young people become career-ready. And we really focus on how do we create systems that provide access to academic achievement, economic opportunity, and personal success. What is the responsibility of every adult, every actor, every community in order to create a space where young people can learn, grow, thrive, and practice those skills safely.

Yvonne: Is it difficult for young people in Philadelphia to get jobs?

Chekema: It’s difficult for young people in this country to get jobs. So the youth employment rates are low in the country, and in Philadelphia they’re lower than the rest of the country. So difficult for young people in the country. And more difficult for young people who live in Philadelphia.

Yvonne: Why is it more difficult in Philly?

Chekema: The opportunities are not as plentiful. Our systems don’t connect as readily and quite frankly the resources to meet the scale and the need of the demand, the need and the demand outpace the resources that are available.

Yvonne: So what advice would you have for a teenager who is looking for a job and feels really frustrated because they can’t find anything?

Chekema: The frustration is real is probably the first thing that I would say. It’s very hard to find a job and that is part of the job search experience. Um persistence and tenacity are valuable in anything you pursue in life so the first thing I would say is don’t give up, the universe is abundant, and it will respond. And that you should be thinking and asking yourself questions like what gives me energy? What am I really curious about and what do I want to learn more about? Who do I know that does that? Who do I admire and see in my community or on TV or in the books that I read or the experiences that I have that I want to emulate and learn from? And pursue the path of learning, and that is a really good way to meet other people and that will help you to network, which is really important and for those young people I’m talking to right now network means meeting people and sharing things in common. So, the more people you meet, the more things you find you have in common. The more things you have in common, the more people who can open the window of opportunity for you, and that’s why that’s really important.

Yvonne: Can you talk a little about how important that first job is?

Chekema: Certainly. I think that the first job is critical to the development of highly-skilled workers and civically-engaged communities. That first job gives young people not just resources, because the money is critical and many of our young people need the money to meet some of their basic needs to meet some of their requirements and the dreams that they have.

Yvonne: And so if you hate your job, if you’re young and you hate your job and it’s really feels like it sucks, what do you say to those kids?

Chekema: So if you’re young and you don’t like your job as much, I say to them: what did you learn about you? You are ultimately every day on a lifelong self-discovery mission. So okay that’s actually fine. I’ve had plenty of jobs that I didn’t actually like. What did I learn and what do you want to do about that? Right? And sometimes it is about proving to yourself that you could meet the task and finish it towards the end.

Yvonne: Do you have any advice for parents of teenagers who may want to get them off the couch during the summer and working but the kids says I’m tired. I work so hard at school. I want to rest.

Chekema: I think rest and relaxation is certainly valuable to young people and to parents uh I say good luck. No, I’m a mom and I don’t know if I could speak to all parents, but I could say as a mother, my goal is to always identify what motivates my daughters, right? What motivates the elephant in their head to move? And I try to use those things to promote what I want to see. And it doesn’t always work, so I think at the end of the day the parents have to be able to motivate their young people and push them and challenge them but also to be open to how they respond and support them in getting to the same place that you are. At least that’s what worked for me as a mom. But every kid is different so I always say you know your kid best, you are the master of figuring that out, and I will be a cheerleader when you do, clapping and ready for you and here with some opportunities as those young people get ready.

YVONNE: And so I had to ask Chekema the burning question - what was her worst job.

Chekema: When I was in college I folded t-shirts at a local place called Steve and Barry’s. And while folding t-shirts did not give me energy and I secretly sought to be the cashier because for whatever reason I thought that was more exciting than folding t-shirts, um, I learned a lot about myself. That I did not like to do things that were tedious. That I really liked hard problems, and certainly getting all the t-shirts in the world was a hard problem when you’re not energized to do so, but it wasn’t hard enough. I also realized that I didn’t like standing around so much, it didn’t feel like doing stuff to me. So every experience I try to learn something. And I try to say that to young people. Even in the bad jobs, even the ones that you don’t like as much. Pay attention to what you don’t like. And use that as a path to get closer to what you really love. Cause I’m fortunate every day to do a job that I truly, truly love. And that is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever had. But it doesn’t start out that way. I had to go through some things to get to that place. Um, but when you find it, it truly is a remarkable gift.

[Theme Music]

YVONNE: And that’s our show.

Thanks to Owen Fox for sharing his monologue, “Fine Dining” which was performed by Tiffany Bacon.

And Chekema Fulmore-Townsend the president and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network for her time.

I also want to give a shout out to Mindy Posoff for her tremendous support of our successful Kickstarter campaign.  Thanks so much, Mindy!

See you next time.