I worked at the Cheesecake Factory during my “fun phase.” These were the years I enjoyed extended booze benders supplemented with pot, ecstasy, mystery drugs, one very uncomfortable 48 hour period snorting Adderall, and my favorite: Toot.
You know, Snortsky.
Booger sugar and I became intimately acquainted while living in a flophouse below some dealers. When the devil’s dandruff is ten feet overhead, it’s hard to say no — especially when entire train-sets worth of white rails is landing on Pearl Jam CDs.
I can’t remember if the following event happened before or after a felon lived on our couch between his grand theft auto incarcerations. But since we all worked in restaurants, I can say with certainty that we all worked, lived with, and dated illegal aliens. At least one of whom was smuggled to the States in a coffin.
My point is — we were the original deplorables. Bad hombres.
It was a three day weekend, and one of our group had access to a house in the county. So we piled into a flooring van and headed out with some thirty racks, a bag of weed, and a healthy serving of Nose Nachos.
Beer pong inside. Bonfire and marijuana outside. Big flakes everywhere.
I wish I had some cool stories, but it was a blur. I do remember sitting by the fire at 4 AM, neck deep in Montana, with my friend explaining to me how the whole country needed to rally together and inject blue dye into our skin so we could all be the same and get along.
The next day we went back to the city. I hadn’t slept much on account of the disco sugar, but I was working that night. I had to keep it together for just a few hours.
I was working in the back dining room in a first cut section. It was a slow night, but I was miserable. I regularly stepped off the floor to stare at the wall.
The dinner rush passed. My section was empty. That’s when the GM pulled me aside. I was confident he could see the past three days on my face and was about to confront me.
“A little while ago we got a call. Former Secretary of State James Baker is in town. For security reasons they’ve made multiple reservations, but they’ve asked us to reserve space for him. We’re going to put him and his entourage in your section.”
I nodded in the affirmative. I didn’t know how to process this information.
Sure, I was a mess, but I was also raised in a home that held James Baker in very low regard.
My father had been opposing US wars of aggression since before it was cool. I remember being embarrassed walking around town with him because he perpetually wore a backpack imploring we bring home the troops at a time when the majority of Americans were still fired up about 9/11 and were very okay with foreign military aggression towards Muslims.
Has that changed by the way?
This was my father mind you, not me. It took me years to catch up. The point I’m trying to make is that I came from a tradition of people who thought of Reagan, H.W. Bush, and W. as unsavory characters. James Baker worked for all of them.
But I was not political. I was busy doing gummers with nose clams.
Baker never showed. He probably opted for the deep dish pizza at Uno’s around the corner.
Now, I’m telling this story without a point because now I am political, and now I do have a point.
I don’t have to explain that what happened to Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the Red Hen is not equal to what happened during the civil rights movement. No rational person needs me to explain that these incidents are not equivalent.
I’ll say it anyway.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders has power. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has lots of power. She was asking to be served in an establishment operated by people she has wielded her power against. They used the small power that they had within the confines of that restaurant. They gave her free cheese and asked her to leave. She then chose to go.
In the other instance, people with no power wanted to eat lunch on a specific set of stools. They were spat on. Their humanity was brought to question. The cops were called, and those cops brought dogs and water cannons.
Not the same.
For the record, I would have served James Baker without protest. In an odd twist, while I imagine Baker wouldn’t give Ms. Sanders free cheese and ask her to leave his table, even he doesn’t seem to like her boss.
Did Red Hen owner Stephanie Wilkinson do the right thing? I wasn’t there, I don’t know precisely what happened. But from what I understand, she handled it well. I support her decision, and how she approached it.
Here is my take. It’s not ground-breaking, but it is true:
When you go out to eat, you are voting with your dollar. Each penny is a drop in a river that goes to support any number of people and causes. Any fans of a free market economy should be made aware that when they go out to eat, much of the time they are supporting immigration, drug use, gay marriage, abortion, and more.
I don’t use the Chop anymore, and not because it was terrible for me. I decided not to continue supporting the Columbian Marching powder business. Their salesmen are fucking terrible neighbors.
Eat at the Red Hen or don’t. I think the issue here is that Ms. Sanders was directly confronted with that fact that her money was being spent in support of causes like homosexuality. Things she vociferously disagrees with. I think she made the right choice in leaving.
Hell, James Baker didn’t help pay for my yeyo.