Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Australian pizzeria owner finds hangover love

Blake Pendlebury's Facebook "sick" letter captures kudos from impressed slackers 

We’ve all done it. Just like the pizzeria owner from Queensland, Australia, whose no-bull sick note charmed the Internet, we’ve called in sick when the only thing really wrong with us is one too many brewskies from the night before. Now usually the creativity that’s required for a remotely believable “under-the-weather” call-in or email is so daunting that we just suck it up and show up anyway, bravely battling our hangovers while we produce at roughly 47% of our normal work output, which is down from the solid 85% most of us put out on a good day.

But if the shindig was really rocking, you might try: “Listen…I seem to have (voice cracks pathetically) come down with The Cccrruuuuudd,” as you prop yourself up in bed still wearing last night’s go-to-party shirt and slacks.

“The Crud” is a great non-clinical catchphrase. It covers all the symptoms you’re trying to convey along an unspecified range—from the sniffles to open, oozing wounds. “Infection,” by the way, also works equally well to describe a snuffy nose and a flesh-eating bacteria.

Back to your Monday morning morning Oscar bid: “It’s really kickin’ (emphasis is effective on either the verb or adverb) my butt and I’m just afraid if I drag myself in, the whole building’s gonna get it.” Remember to say “gonna” with the same urgency JFK conveyed pronouncing “NOT” in his “Ask NOT What Your Country” speech. The same excuse, as an email or text, gets the job done. But it’ll probably demand a couple more details in lieu of your near-death-emoting live performance. If you’re well enough to hit the keyboard, co-workers figure you can find a way to cover those deadlines.

Just like Sex Panther Cologne, 60% of the time, that routine works every time. But wouldn’t it be sweet if we had the job security or authentic intestinal fortitude—not the fake intestinal flu—to really be real. To just say, “I lost track of my Budweiser count about the same time the damn Steelers were forgetting how to play defense. Then I chased down my misery at the thought of Belichik and Brady hoisting another Super Bowl trophy by hoisting a giant Long Island Iced Tea made out of what was left in the liquor cabinet—which was pretty much a bottle of Jack.”

Well, Blake Pendlebury, the awesome Aussie owner of Gaslight Pizza made his country, and slackers worldwide, proud when he posted his bracingly honest Facebook post. Lose that splitting skull scalder, my fellow revelers and anti-patriots, and you can read it yourself. It’s a masterpiece of candor, combining brutal honesty (no adequate backup) with a tone of heartfelt appreciation for his customers. Mr. Pendlebury, with major pizzaiolo chutzpah, admits he has come to the “bittersweet” conclusion that his restaurant, absent his cooking skills, is not worth opening. See what he’s done there? Old Blake has turned the ultimate work screwup—drunken irresponsibility—into a gesture of loyalty, true love and professional integrity to his customers.

Blake Pendlebury tied one on. And they ate it up! One customer replied to his post with a Facebook high-five: Claire Stachurski: That's possibly the very best "sick note" I've ever seen! Congratulations on both fronts!

Pizza guy Blake Pendlebury tied one on.
Here’s another: Jodie Adams: Like & appreciate your honesty. Congratulations! 👍🏼😊

Talk about the benefits of being your own boss! Somehow, I know my version of Pendlebury’s get-out-of-work free request wouldn’t be received so empathetically.

“Dear PMQ Publisher,

I regret to inform you that due to the NFL football-watching drunkfest I attended yesterday, I

will be unable to join you and my esteemed colleagues this morning for normal business hours. Unfortunately, unless this unprecedented episode of alcohol poisoning relents and my brain ceases its painful attempt to split in half and leak out from both ears, I may miss Tuesday as well. In this case, I highly suggest you cancel publication of the magazine and all new website posts pending my healthy return.”

With Best Regards and Sober Respect,
Your dedicated employee

Monday, January 9, 2017

I'll take two Garth Brooks tickets with that pizza, PLEASE

So this story about the Irish lady who ordered cold medicine, along with a pepperoni pizza from a Belfast Fish and Chips shop and, amazingly, got them to deliver her entire order, really got me thinking.

Not so much about the obvious observations:

A. Those Irish restaurant owners and delivery drivers must be super nice to actually agree to bring Fiona Cuffe her Benelyn Cold and Flu tablets from the drug store.

B. Since when do fish joints serve pizza, anyway?

Nope, you know my mo’, faithful readers. Got to go deep. I started pondering, in reverse order of cosmic significance:

1. She says in her online order: “…only ordering food so I can get the tablets. I’m dying sick xx.” She insulted their food…and they still brought her the darn meds! Must have been the kisses.

2. If I thought I was about to croak, and I truly believed my pizza deliverers would bring me anything I asked for in honor of my dying wish, I’d start with Super Bowl tickets, or maybe two front-row seats to the Garth Brooks concert coming up in Memphis.

3. OK I get it, we’re talking about items a delivery driver could reasonably stop and pick up on her way with the pizza. Stuff like razors and deodorant and toothpaste and ear swabs. If you’re like me, you’re always running out of toilet paper just when you need it most.

4. TMI? A rare blizzard (actually thin dusting) is panicking peeps here in Mississippi. Instead of me overcrowding the local Dollar General to stampede levels, the super nice pizza driver could bring me my bread and milk and keep my face off TV.

5. Overkill? Batteries are practical. They can mean the difference between life and death when you lose the electrical cord on your radio boombox.

6. OK, we’ve already stipulated these are really, really nice pizzeria owners and delivery drivers so I’m doubling down. In this utopian existence, they would surely do their best to make my final hours on Earth special. I’d ask for some 6-inch Angus fillets, king crab legs and a turtle sundae to top off my pepperoni pizza.

7. It’s true, I’ve got a nervous stomach. I know I’d be too rattled to eat one of those rich final meals if I was only a couple hours from taking my last walk to the lethal injection room before getting strapped in. Please, Fish and Chips Pizza Man, bring me a puppy, instead, (with big feet, not a snippy little yippy dog) to pet and cuddle before the lights go out.

8. Forgot about the lease. I’m a simple man with simple needs, in touch with my Emily Dickenson side. Just deliver some brilliant Red, White and Yellow roses in a deep crystal vase (long A) with an oversized card signed by my girlfriend that reads: “You deserve to experience all the beauty in the world. Here is just a glimpse of what reflects back to me when I look in your eyes.”

9. I know what you’re thinking, dear reader. “You’re frickin’ dying already. Why isn’t Miss Wonderful there to hold your hand while you give it up?"  Or maybe: “Did he really write that part about the reflecting beauty, or was it some Hallmark nerd?”

10. All mine and, no, my girlfriend hasn’t ditched me! She’s just super, super, really, really busy at work. And that’s why we don’t have time to go see Garth Brooks. The heck with it, we’re talking theoretical scenario, folks. My for-real questions are simply: Does Fiona look more like the ogre in the movie, or Cameron Diaz? And, did she even pony up a tip?