Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Walking Off the Job

Many years ago....

Many years ago....

Many years ago when I worked in a small bakery, I worked the P.M. shift with a guy named Tony Dorland.

Tony wasn't very tall, he wasn't very stocky, in fact he was kinda a little guy which often times can be unusual in the bread baking biz.

He also wore wire rimmed glasses, and on the rare occasions that he removed them, one gained a sense that he was almost blind w/o them.

Major League Baseball was the common denominator between the both of us.

We both harbored a pathetic addiction to Minnesota Twins baseball.

It's funny how time oftentimes has a way of choosing your memories for you, because I worked with this guy for over a couple years, but every memory I have of him is imprinted in summer, baking bread and talking about America's favorite pastime.

The other thing I appreciated about his company is that he was a baker for life.

If you've ever worked in "The Show" you know how it goes......

So many people, most people that end up working with you are guys that are schlepping loaves as a pit stop.

If you look down the road into the future, you realize this guy will be roofing, that guy will be working retail, the guy over there on the mixer....he'll get caught selling drugs and end up in prision.

Nobody stays in this game for life......nobody.

Why would they?

When you have that kind of information, or mindset at least, just one other committed soul can be enough to get you through a shift.


I'll bet I was only a couple hours into my gig unloading an oven full of pan breads, when around the corner comes Tony dressed in street clothes, changed out of his work boots, and those work boots weren't on the communal boot rack........

They were in his hand.

"What the hell Dorland, where do you think you are going?"

Tony paused thoughtfully for a second like many people will do just before they respond to you with some weak a** apology........

But Tony didn't recoil.

He didn't flinch for a moment.

Instead he smiled and said so spontaneously....

"I think I'm going to be a lawyer."

I started to laugh.

But then he stopped laughing..

We were about to have a Good Will Hunting moment, and that was like 10 years before the movie was even released.

"Are you having some kind of crisis"? I asked, but just like Good Will Hunting, our boy Tony was so much more than clever, he was intelligent.

So now for the splittest of split seconds......over my left shoulder hovered a cartoon devil, equipped with horns and a pitchfork.

Over my right, fluttered a cartoon angel with a dented halo.

As per usual, the devil spoke first.......

"Danny, you can't let Tony Dorland leave, what will you do w/o him? What will the bakery do w/o him?"

So I just stood there lamenting, dumping rye loaves and staring at my friend who just stood there sharing silence with me.

And the funny thing, now that I think back, he didn't seem nervous or agitated as most people are when they make a random decision to walk off a job.

Tony Dorland was at peace, and truth be told........

Even though we were close to the same age, I was far to young and immature to understand his contentment.

Now the Cartoon Angel must of heard a bell ringing or something, because the little feathered messenger whispered softly that Tony wasn't really any better or worse than the rest of us....and then the angel burst out laughing and said.....

"Are you serious? This kid is 50 times smarter than the rest of you thugs combined. They have big plans for him upstairs."

Then *POOF*......................................

The Cartoon Devil and Cartoon Angel vanished, and Tony walked out the door.

At this point in the story, a master narrator would usually sling you some bulls*** on how I thought about my friend over the years, but I didn't.

When you've worked in any industry for 30 some years, the only people you ever end up remembering are the ones you've slept with, or the person who signs your pay check.

But recently, I ran into a guy, who is friends with Dorlands wife, and the dude told me that Dorland did it.

He went to school.

He passed his boards.

And now that dopey bastard has landed a great gig and is up to his elbows in cash.

I couldn't be happier for the guy.

Tony Dorland was a good friend.

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