About 15 years ago, when I was at about the 1/2 way point of my career, I ended up working with a guy named Minnow. Minnow was 5 years older than me but had zero experience in "the show." He was a hot headed Italian, but one of those guys you just knew would take a bullet for ya.
When he first started, he was dirt poor, had no money and stared at peoples take out sandwhiches from Hot City Pizza. One day Helmutt said to me "I think that "F"ing new guy is starving, his eyes practically fall out of his head each time he walks into the cooler and sees the pepperonis. Check this out."
And, then Helmutt dumped a bag of salt vinegar potato chips on the breakroom floor and proceeded to send Minnow on break. Minnow sat in the breakroom for 5 or 6 minutes, then he stepped outside to have a cigarette. When he did.....yeah, you guessed it, we ran into the breakroom to make sure the chips were still on the floor. They weren't! He even ate the crumbs.
I felt bad and ordered a couple of subs, but lied and said they gave me an extra and gave that alleged extra to Minnow, I think he knew what was going on and was grateful. After time Minnow got his fiscal life in order, but he was still kind of a trip.
Minnow had some mental deal where he couldn't void in public restrooms, he had to "do his business" at home. We'd work 12 hours and dude wouldn't so much as take a pee....ever.
Long before Chef Andrew Zimmerern hit the Food Network, Minnow was famous for eating or drinking a dixie cup of anything for $5. I saw him drink piwdered egg wash, slime scraped off the proof box floors, and once some of our Hmong packers had remnant fish heads and Minnow made all these items dissapear.
One Saturday when the bakery was shut down, some of us headed over to the Thunderbird hotel for a baseball card show, after walking the showroom floor we went in their "BROKEN ARROW" cafe, and our server "DEB" introduced us to the daily specials.
Now when I tell you this, you're going to say "Sure Klecko.....you'd like to think that" but it's straight up true. This Deb chick....well she was into me. She seemed nice enough. Tall-thin, kinda tossing out a Sissy Spacek vibe, but I was on the verge of marrying my longtime girl friend Sue McGleno, so I said to her.....
"I get it that you are into me, but my boy Minnow here is your real trophey, then I wrote down his phone number (he got all embaressed) and handed it to her. She ended up calling him and the 2 of them married within a month. She had 4 kids from previous life, Minnow had 2, so they started this thing out just like Mike and Carol Brady.
Deb was Pentacostal as well. This cracked me up since Minnow was a Catholic. At work when we were working on hamburger dough we'd give him a hard time by speaking in tongues "Ishyaddabeeshaljeshua thank you Jesus-thank you....Minnow will you go to the grocery store?" He thought we were mocking his wife, but actually we were making fun of his lack of confidence in her. In a bakery....if your armor even has the slightest chink, it gonna get exploited all day long.
Minnow would get so pissed.When I got married to Sue McGleno, even Sue McGleno didn't know it was gonna happen until a week before hand. I called her work, told them to put her on vacation, talked with Pastor Phil and told him we'd get married during Sunday service if he cut me a deal (which included the woman of the church baking my wedding cake). all of us were young and building our families. I didn't do invites untill 24 hours before the wedding, some reletives fumed over this, but I didn't care. Improptu wedding means nobody has time to destroy your day. The only thing that mattered to me was that Sue Mcgleno would say "YES".
When I made my was down the list I still remember how touched Deb was to get an invite. Minnow had got a job repairing automatic doors, you know, like the ones at the grocery store. The bakery had been shutdown by the IRS 2 weeks prior. So anyways, there was maybe 100 people there, talk was circulating as to what a loser I was for giving such little notice.
I've had a job since I was 10, and in 37 years there has maybe been 4 weeks were I have been unemployed, but I remember meeting new reletives and having them ask me "what do you do for a living son?" and I just decided to answer "Right now I'm watching a lot of TV and following the O.J. trial." As you can imagine....most of them were impressed.
When the preacher was preaching (note it was not a priest - sometmes Catholic weddings are tough when you're broke, divorced and marrying a Jew) and getting the crowd all warmed up, Deb stood up and began speaking in tongues. Minnow turned beet red and started to get either angy or embaressed, but I was walking down the aisle and I stopped, detoured and hugged her. everybody in the church began to smile.
I only saw minnow once after that day, we were on West 7th at Coopers grocery. I asked him if he came to fix the doors, a forelorn look overcame him. He said Deb made him quit because she was jealous over a friendship he had with the dispatch chick were he worked. He also mentioned that they had 2 more kids of their own (bringing the total to 8).
In closing, I would be remiss if I didn't mention how he got his nickname. Between 1992-1997 all the bakers were gettening tatted up. Minnow's body was a blank canvas, and some of the guys rode him pretty hard. He would always respond buy saying that he was saving up to get a big a** shark. After a year of this banter, he made an appoinment, strutted around the production area like the alpha gorillia. The day after his appointment he came into the shop, spun around and slowly started to pull off his shirt like I imagine they might in "adult films" and we were all waiting for this aquatic monster to cover his back, or at least be the size of a toaster, but in all actuality, it was no bigger than an American quarter.
I miss minnow.