Argo F*ck Yourself

I’m not trying to be mean to anyone with that title. It’s a Spotify playlist I created with the Argo soundtrack. There are so many tracks that are amazing for writing; I highly recommend checking it out. My favorite is The Mission. I just hit “Write” in the WordPress editor and put the music on shuffle. It is background Middle Eastern music that is completely wordless, perfect for concentration. I use other playlists such as Deep Focus as well, but I’m so familiar with this album that I choose it the most frequently. This is because as a music person, I can’t write as well with something I haven’t heard before. My energy transfers to figuring out walking bass lines, lyrics, etc. Sometimes, like Matt Mullenweg, I will put one track on repeat so that music is playing, but it is just background noise and not a distraction (I learned he does this from a Tim Ferris podcast episode). My favorite for listening over and over again is Mausam & Escape from Slumdog Millionaire. It also makes excellent running music….. or it would, if I ran. I’ve been meaning to start for, oh, ten years or so?


Quick break for fact about Matt- we both went to HSPVA, but not at the same time. He is a bit younger than I am.


The last time I began running seriously was six weeks before I went skiing on Spring Break (senior year of high school) at Winter Park. There was a public pool 1.5 miles from my house at that time. I would run there and back every day. I thought I was getting in shape for downhill, but what actually happened is that I gave myself shin splints and nearly screamed in pain the first time I locked in my ski boots. Within two days, though, I was skiing blue runs, despite it being my first time on the slopes. To date, it is the only sport in which I don’t feel like a complete klutz. Just don’t ask me to do cross country. I like it when the mountain does all the work. Yes, cross country is a great workout. No, I do not care.

When I lived in Oregon, I also skied Mt. Hood, which has snow all year round. The Olympic ski team practices there because of it…. and although I do consider myself a good skier, nothing makes me more doubtful of my abilities than watching seven-year-olds do moguls and jumps.

Apparently, there are several ski resorts close to me, but since I don’t drive, it is prohibitively expensive to get there. Plus, this time of year, you’re pretty much skiing on ice, and that is extremely dangerous, because you can gather a large amount of speed extremely quickly, and then not enough powder to let your skis dig in to be able to slow down or stop…. unless you run into something. Even with enough powder to stop, I still had to take one for the team and “yard sale” all over the mountain (the term for when you fall and your poles, skis, goggles, etc. go every which way but near you). This is because there was a kid skiing horizontally across my path and I didn’t want to hit him. I wasn’t hurt, because I was taught how to fall, but there’s always that moment of fear before you know you need to do it. Please God, don’t let me run into a tree, etc. I believe my dad had the same experience with a snowboarder.

I’ve never wanted to learn how to snowboard, because I’m such a good skier that I don’t want to start at the beginning, and once Lindsay was teaching me how to skateboard and I broke my foot. I didn’t know it was broken, so I worked an entire shift at a restaurant (as if they would care if I broke my foot or not… just put some Windex™ on it….), and when I finished, my foot was the size of a small balloon and I went straight to the ER.

So, you can see how my aversion to snowboarding is real and it’s deep.

Speaking of restaurants and injuries, the only time I was rushed to the ER was when a dumbass put a broken mug back onto the rack and made an announcement to the team that he put it there while I was out delivering food. I came around the corner, and of course, it was the first thing I grabbed. It sliced my pinky to shreds, and they nicknamed me “Worker’s Comp” for the rest of the time I worked there. It never died down, even though it was clearly someone else’s mistake. Because there were other people out on the floor when the broken glass was announced, it could have been anyone. But I was the “lucky” one.

Oh, I take that back. I also had to go to Urgent care because I accidentally sliced off a piece of my thumb while cutting ham. All of my other injuries were treated with Superglue or burn cream and I just carried on, which is what generally happens when cooks get hurt. Work through the pain, no excuses. No one is sympathetic to injury, because the kitchen is down a man and one’s coworkers will take a lot longer to forget that….. even if fixing your injury only takes five or ten minutes.

The two worst injuries I ever worked through involved burns. The first was accidentally leaving a spoon with a plastic handle in an egg poaching pan, and it got so hot that the plastic fused to my hand. The second was wearing surgeon-type gloves while flipping burgers over an open flame, and instead of protecting customers from germs, it also fused to my hand from extreme heat….. and those are only my two worst examples. The lesser, yet incredibly painful ones I remember are accidentally touching the corner of a convection oven with my forearm, leaving a pink triangle in its wake, and burning the crippling fuck out of my wrist with a hot tortilla press.

The only good thing that came out of the convection oven burn was that Dana burned herself in the exact same place, so we both had pink triangles burned into our flesh. When it healed, it was awesome and appropriate for a lesbian couple. It has faded out over time, but mine was there for a good two years afterward.

The least painful but still memorable burn was taking out my index finger with a blowtorch making crème brulée…. and it wasn’t one of those little home jobs they sell at Sur la Table. It was big and industrial, so I’ll never forget.

Additionally, it wasn’t the worst cut I’ve ever had, but one that will stick with me forever. When I was 16, I was cutting a lime at home and sliced into my thumb. The reason I can recall the memory at will is that the nerves were completely severed and I don’t have feeling in that patch of skin anymore. Look at me, I’m a badass who learned how to cut limes so they look profes….. oh, FUCK!

Tip well. You never know when you’re helping pay our medical bills…. or the ski vacations we desperately need after giving everything we have to the people we serve, day in and day out….. some of whom are eternally grateful, and others who don’t care that we are human and treat us like garbage.

Because we’re only waiters and cooks…. what, like it’s hard?

I love the way the Argo soundtrack makes my memories spill onto the page. It’s as uplifting as Cleared Iranian Airspace.

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