An Interview with RAMAGE… The Coolest Waiter In Town
By: The Floydian Device
As a former cook and co-worker of a waiter named Ramage, I thought I was in the perfect position to expose the dark side of the restaurant world. Another investigative expose by The Floydian Device.
Punk Globe: Hi Ramage. How are you doing?
Ramage: Well, it was a long night, but it's over now. I'm having a drink and a smoke with the girls and I'm off to Vegas tomorrow, so life is pretty good.
Punk Globe: Good for you… Ramage, do you consider yourself a server or a waiter?
Ramage: I prefer the term server. Both are demeaning, but if I must be called something, I'd rather be called a server than a waiter. Remember - it's what I do, not what I am.
Punk Globe: When you were a small boy, was it your dream that someday, in your mid-30s, you would be celebrating your 10th year of service at a local family chain restaurant?
Ramage: No, not exactly. I guess I’m just one of those people who gets lucky and has good fortune thrust upon them..
Punk Globe: I often see you eating potato skins at the staff table. Why do you eat potato skins so often? Have you liked them for a long time, or is it just a passing fad?
Ramage: They're greasy, fattening, and damn tasty. And most importantly, they're great hangover food. I guess when I cease to be the huge alcoholic that I am, I will cease to eat potato skins.
Punk Globe: Ramage, have you always been cool? Or was there a time in your life when you were not so cool, and you have just grown into your coolness?
Ramage: I've actually never been cool. I'm just a quiet anti-social bastard so people tend to be intimidated by me; therefore, I create the illusion of being cool.
Punk Globe: Well, for every age is fed on illusions, lest men should renounce life early, and the human race come to an end. That’s what they say, right.
Punk Globe: Who usually wins when the customer says their steak was too well done and now they don't want to pay; but they've already eaten over half of it? Do you think they're trying to trick you?
Ramage: Of course they're out for a free meal, but the customer is always right.
Punk Globe: In the inspirational 1991 movie ‘Frankie and Johnny’, Michelle Pfeiffer played a sexy waitress who falls in love with a cook played by Al Pacino. Ramage, did you love this movie too? And do you think a guy like Al Pacino would ever be caught dead playing the part of a waiter? Because I really don’t think so.
Ramage: That movie was horrible. And remember that Al Pacino got the job as a cook, NOT a server, right after getting out of prison. Why do you think that was the first place a convict would think to go to looking for a job? Do you think he would ever have been hired to work front house? When some couple are out on a first date, do you think they want their appetizers brought out by a guy who spent the last 5 years being gang raped in a dirty shower? Keep him in the kitchen.
Punk Globe: Let’s move on. Where is the line between a rude customer that simply needs to be ignored until they leave the restaurant; and a rude customer that may need to have their meal ‘compromised’?
Punk Globe: Have you ever heard of the ‘mat shot’?
Punk Globe: When a customer at the bar sits there all night being an ass, getting drunk, not tipping... At the end of the night, the bartender scrapes all the liquid, lemons and limes, and filth off the mat and drains it into a shooter glass. Then offers it to the drunk patron who by then doesn’t know the difference.
Ramage: I don’t think I’ve heard of that one.
Punk Globe: What about the ‘tea bag with extra salt’?
Ramage: Nope. Don’t know anything about that.
Punk Globe: So you’re going to Vegas tomorrow morning. A lot of waiters I know go to Vegas on the long weekends. I don’t know a lot of cooks that make that trip. Why do you think that is?
Punk Globe: I have an idea. I see cooks working their fingers to the bone night after night. Slaving in dirty kitchens, putting their lives on the line every shift dealing with hot grease, raw meat juice, microwave radiation, soup burns, sharp knives, rusty blades, broken equipment, drug abuse, venereal diseases, failed marriages.. all for a minimum wage, my friend. While on the other side of the line, we see servers dancing around, telling jokes, snacking on leftovers in their tight pants, flirting with each other; and occasionally taking out a delicious looking meal to an appreciative customer and taking most of the credit for basically doing not too much work. Oh, I almost forgot… and walking home at the end of every night with a couple hundred, non-taxable dollar bills stuffed in the pockets of their little black vests. Do you think this might be why more servers than cooks end up enjoying a weekend in Las Vegas?
Ramage: That’s entirely possible. And they’re not called ‘venereal diseases’ anymore Mr. Floyd.
Punk Globe: Ramage, when you're gambling and you're on a losing streak, do you attribute your run of bad luck to stable, internal causes like: "I'm just an unlucky guy"; or to more unstable, external causes such as: "I think the game is rigged"?
Ramage: Internal - I am unlucky. But in the end, you create your own luck, so I'm not so much unlucky as I am unwilling to be lucky.
Punk Globe: Did you know that in Salem in the late 1600s, if you were suspected of being a waiter, they would put you on trial and if found guilty, you were sentenced to death. Many waiters were tied to planks, and then held under water for like 5 minutes. If they died, they were proclaimed innocent; but if they lived, they were presumed to have supernatural powers, and then burned at the stake. Doesn’t that seem like a pretty raw deal either way?
Ramage: It definitely sounds like a no-win situation. But I think you might be referring to ‘witches’.
Punk Globe: I checked my notes, and I definitely said ‘waiters’.
Punk Globe: There's a girl named Liane that works in your prep hall. She plays in a goth, industrial metal band. She’s very dark and seems like your complete opposite. Do you and Liane ever socialize, and if so, what do you talk about?
Ramage: Liane and I are much more alike than you think. Therefore, neither one of us would be willing to speak much to each other - too out of character.
Punk Globe: Who's on your turntable at home right now?
Ramage: I haven't had a turntable for years, but I do have a lot of LP's. If I had a turntable, I would probably have Bowie on - Station To Station or The Man Who Sold The World.
Punk Globe: How about a ‘Station To Station’ pop quiz...
Punk Globe: Do you know who played rhythm guitar on the song ‘Fame’ from that album?
Punk Globe: Very close. But wrong. It was John Lennon, but ‘Fame’ was on Young Americans, not Station To Station. So zero points.
Ramage: That’s kind of a trick question.
Punk Globe: During the making of this album in Berlin, Bowie infamously lived on a diet of milk, peppers, and what?
Punk Globe: The last line of the chorus in the song Station to Station is: ‘Throwing darts in lovers eyes, the return of the Thin White Duke, making sure white stains.’ There is much disagreement about the meaning of the ‘sure white stains’. Many believe it is cocaine, while others say semen. Ramage, what do you say?
Ramage: Whenever I have to take a wild guess, I’ll always go with semen.
Punk Globe: If David Bowie was about to celebrate his 10th anniversary working as a waiter in a restaurant, do you think he would have called this time in his life his ‘Golden Years’?
Ramage: I certainly hope not.
Punk Globe: Moving on to another subject: When cooks show up at your party, you act like you don’t mind; but do you really appreciate them being in your small apartment?
Ramage: I was a line cook for 11 years. The only difference between now and then is that I'm older and most line cooks are much younger - generation gap thing going on. I don’t mind them coming over; but if there’s enough of them in a pack, my couch will smell like French fries for a week. But that’s a small price to pay considering the stimulating conversation they always bring..
Punk Globe: Here’s one you might need to put a little more thought into… If you were a girl, would you rather be pretty, but kind of empty on the inside; or ugly, but have a dynamite personality? Take your time..
Ramage: There's no excuse for stupidity. It pisses me off. So rather have a personality than looks - appearance is nothing, substance counts.
Punk Globe: Do you remember in the movie 'The Shining', when the old hotel manager said to Jack Nicholson: "I've been here forever, but you're the caretaker now." At this point, was he being given the opportunity to sell his soul in order to become a famous writer because he had crossed the line so many times that the devil thought he was ready to make that choice? Or was he just starting to realize he was already in Hell and was just re-living his descent from a past life? And 2: Do you think that the part when he ‘axed’ the cook was when he fully crossed the line letting evil into his life, or was it earlier? And 3: Have you ever wanted to 'axe a cook'?
Ramage: 1: Selling his soul to me implies a choice - I don't think he had a choice. 2: Axing the cook was simply a reaction to the Hell he was already in. And 3: Yes.
Punk Globe: What percentage do people usually tip you?
Ramage: 10 - 12% unless I'm in smoking, then I'm lucky if I get 5.
Punk Globe: Are smokers cheap? Could it be that they are just better at planning for the future, and therefore worry more about where their money is going?
Ramage: If smokers, like myself, gave any thought at all about the future, they wouldn’t be smokers, would they? They’re cheap, and they’re just saving their change for the next pack of cancer sticks.
Punk Globe: What would be your least favorite drug to be addicted to and why?
Ramage: Heroin - I've heard many times that it's the only addiction that's harder to quit than smoking; and since I've never been able to give up smoking, I can't even imagine being a heroin junkie.
Punk Globe: You know, you often hear people saying: “My father worked at the GM plant like his father before him.” or “My family has been in the cattle business for six generations.” But you don’t hear a lot of people saying: “I come from a long line of waiters.” Why do you think that is?
Ramage: Well, most female servers do it until they get married or finish school and then get the hell out as fast as they can. Most male servers are either gay; or they’re poor, struggling wannabe actors who do it way too long until they finally give up on their dreams and by then are to old to reproduce. Either way, no passing down of the apron.
Punk Globe: Ramage, one night at a party, we had the unfortunate experience of listening to Garth Brooks together. Sometimes now, when I hear a Garth Brooks song on the radio, I think about that night. Did you know that Garth Brooks once cheated on his wife Sandy?
Ramage: I heard. I don't like him - He's a huge fake - but shit happens.
Punk Globe: Let’s imagine you and I were in the army.. Who would have the higher rank, the waiter or the cook?
Ramage: Waiter. Definitely. You don’t become an Officer staying up all night smoking hash and listening to Megadeth and walking around with greasy hair and mustard on your pants.
Punk Globe: Wow, that’s pretty judgemental.. BUT, how about this fact: The waiter is the one who takes the orders. Whoever is taking the orders is at the bottom when it comes to rank in my books.
Ramage: The waiter doesn’t take orders. He relays the orders. The customer passes down the orders to the server - who is kind of a messenger -who then goes to the kitchen and gives those orders to the guys on the line. The cooks. Then the cooks do as they’re told. By the servers.
Punk Globe: Let’s move on to the healthy living section. What is more disabling to a waiter: A cold and cough combination, or genital warts?
Ramage: Cold and cough - tough to speak to the guests when you're hacking up part of your lung. Genital warts are not a welcome dish at anyone’s table. BUT.. If things start to get uncomfortable, you can always loosen your apron and get a little relief.
Punk Globe: Has a customer ever said to you: “Hey waiter, bring me a crocodile sandwich, and make it snappy!”?
Punk Globe: What’s the best response when a customer is being an idiot like that?
Ramage: Lick my alligator bag.
Punk Globe: That’s not bad!
Punk Globe: Ramage, remember one day I told you that I thought you probably slept on your back, and then I actually saw you on someone's futon at a party, and you were sleeping on your back. People that sleep on their backs are supposed to feel like kings. Ramage, do you feel like a king?
Ramage: I was drunk so of course I slept on my back and didn't move all night. I only feel like a king when my friends put me on the throne.
Punk Globe: Thanks for the interview Rammer. Any last words?
Ramage: Have no idea why you asked me to do this but I was happy to do it. It gave me a good excuse to have a few drinks and continue my dysfunctional lifestyle. I’ll send you a postcard from Vegas.