The first summer, I got a job at the mall Pizza Hut as a cook. My sister thought the job would expose me to practice English while the school was out. She was right. Almost all of the cuss words I know, I learned from my fellow employees at that Pizza Hut.
Interesting characters made my first job an experience of a life time. Bernie, the manager, was an alcoholic and used his expletives liberally. There were three other high school students other than me. Two of the girls were heavy metal groupies, and I suspect their paychecks went to pay for concert tickets. A handsome high-school-dropout couple teamed as a waitress and a cook who later divorced and married each other again. A young delivery driver who impregnated his girlfriend was then prohibited by the girl’s parents to see his baby. We didn’t lack drama in that place.
Then there was Andrew. A clean cut college student who didn’t spew foul language, who did his job and was nice to everyone. Some people made fun of his “Jeepers!!!” but my little foreign, nerdy heart was infatuated with him.
One night, I noticed other cooks and delivery drivers who usually stay in the back near kitchen disappeared, and there was a commotion in the party room. Andrew came to me and explained, “Today is Bernie’s birthday. Someone arranged a belly dancer to come, and now Bernie is embarrassed.”
I was lost after “Today is Bernie’s birthday.”
Seeing my confusion, Andrew tried to explain what ‘embarrassed’ meant and what a ‘belly dancer’ was with pantomime. I laughed. And from then on, he took upon himself to teach me English, the clean words. We became friends.