‘Love me Back’ by Merritt Tierce reminded me of you…

“Some kinds of pain make fine antidotes to others.” That’s a quote from Merritt Tierce’s debut novel Love me Back as well as the entirety of the novel captured in one sentence. I don’t imagine I’m anything like Merritt Tierce; the Iowa Writer’s Workshop alum who finished her undergraduate degree at the age of nineteen is certainly smarter and more motivated than me, but we do share a history spent in restaurants. If you haven’t been there, worked a line, tended a bar, served a table, then you probably think it’s a small thing Tierce and I have in common but I assure you it’s not.

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Shagging in the dry storage room: axioms of restaurant life in Chop Chop

51ErRgCVSiL._SL500_AA300_It is a truth universally acknowledged that an individual employed by a restaurant will eventually make a poor life choice in the dry storage room.

Always say “behind” or “backs.”

Alcohol is an effective salve for the end of a stressful dinner service. Drugs are better.

As Monocle, the hero of Simon Wroe’s novel Chop Chop was bleeding in front of the mustard in the novel’s first act, I was already contemplating saying goodbye to the ergonomic Aeron chair and Excel spreadsheets that make up my day-to-day and returning to a life in which a fat Portuguese chef orders me out of his kitchen while I berate a fry cook for the impossibility of a 15-minute ticket time for an order of calamari that can be fully cooked in 45 seconds. Give me a line of coke and send me back into the game chef!

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