As Bridgette and I drove down the loveliness that is St. Paul’s Robert Street yesterday, we observed a horrible, nay a Satanic development – Fazoli’s had closed.
How could this have happened? Did the citizens of St. Paul reject Fazoli’s affordable Italian cuisine? Do they have no time for their fast-food pasta stylings? Could it be the breadsticks? I’m serious, if it’s the breadsticks, then I’ll give real thought to personally taking a brick to the skull of neighborhood St. Paulites. For those of you who don’t know, Fazoli’s offers free garlic breadsticks to all patrons, going so far as to send around an employee with a basketful of them to load up all interested tables. The breadsticks are savory and tender. They make Olive Garden’s bread taste like they were dipped in a Chinese sewer.
Talk of this succulent bread love brings to mind a story from my adolescence.
I was 18. Having just graduated from high school, I was working three jobs in my final summer before college began. Arguably the finest of these jobs was being a food preparer at the brand new Fazoli’s that had just opened in Rochester. One hot July day we were particularly short-staffed. I remember making pizzas and penne noodles like a fiend while anger seethed deep in my loins for the bastard who failed to show up that particular afternoon. At that moment, my frazzled manager popped his head in the back room where I was and asked me to grab a basket and distribute breadsticks to the patrons, a job normally reserved for our developmentally disabled employees.
While normally quite willing to enjoin activities more appropriate for the mentally handicapped, I was not so willing this day. I remember thinking to myself, “This is ridiculous. I am a high school graduate. I don’t deserve to be humiliated like this, and treated like some disabled – albeit lovable – kid!” Thus, in my unquestionable wisdom, I made a fateful decision.
When finished half-heartedly offering breadsticks to the slovenly customers, I quickly darted into the bathroom, still clutching the basket loaded down with sumptuous garlic breadsticks. Closing myself into the largest stall I sat down on the toilet and began eating the breadsticks as quickly as I could. Fueled by my frustration, resentment and teen angst I pounded one breadstick after another, frantic in my pursuit of garlic-flavored satisfaction and undertanding. Moments later, my breadstick binge was over as quickly as it had begun. I quickly returned to the dining area, empty basket in hand, and my stomach filled with the goodness that only comes when an 18 year old makes a selfish, spiteful decision.
Years later, as I look back on that day, I see in my actions the determination and intelligence that have made me the man I am today, and the virile manhood that Bridgette fell in love with were clearly on display when I hastily consumed 15 breadsticks that fateful afternoon.
Long story short, I am awesome.