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Book of Jobs Part 3

SLINGIN' VEGGIE HASH

by Chris Auman

I left fast food — excuse me, quick service food — behind in June of 1994 (see RW #23), but before I put in my two weeks notice at that nut asylum, I hit the pavement, Reader classifieds in hand. I had enough restaurant experience at this point to get a job on the line somewhere. I headed to the vegetarian Chicago Diner on North Halsted Street.

Even though I had been gorging myself daily on Italian beef and sausages, mozz sticks and hot dogs straight out of the pan, and animal fat was probably being secreted from my sweat glands, I was hired. I started my new job less than 12 hours after my last shift at Fazzio’s ended. There were many beers at Delilah’s with my now former co-workers in that short interval.

Before the Diner, I had never gone completely meatless for any length of time, but my eating habits changed as a result of working there. I felt healthier than I had in years, maybe ever. That dietary change has lasted going on three decades. The job wasn’t all a bed of tofu, however. The line was stressful, the work hard, the personalities encountered abundantly challenging, the money lacking and my living situation shitty.

On the plus side, during my three-year stint at the Diner, I published the Reglar Wiglar with regularity while also writing for a few local music magazines. I started a band with my coworkers (Team Satan) and made lifelong friends. There were some nights we stayed up until the sun came up listening to and arguing about music, drinking beer, not sleeping and still going into work the next day.

Even so, one day you wake up and, it’s not that you just can’t do it anymore, but you see that day coming and there’s no way to prevent it. After three years of “slinging veggie hash for the man”, it was time to move on. I did my usual routine of lining up the next gig, putting in notice and hitting the bricks. I found a job as a line cook at the The Dellwood Pickle in Andersonville not far from where I was living in Uptown.

In a Pickle >>


Originally published in RW#24, 2014

RW #24

 

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