Scott, the Firebird-drivingm, WYSP-FM-listening, tan and mustachioed manager of the Friendly’s ice cream restaurant in the King of Prussia mall, is scowling at me. I’m only a few months into my first job-washing dishes-and I’m asking for a promotion again. I’ve worked harder and faster than any previous dishwasher (I made a game out of trying to have all the dishes done before the wait staff could bring in the dirties). I’m all tapped out: I’ve had to put up with Jim Devlin, a co-worker who runs through the room and wings single-serving half-and-half’s at the back of my head like his arms are machine guns. My hair is constantly gooped up with cream; my humid blue and white-checked polyester collar sticks to the back of my neck. So I’m bugging Scott for the coveted Mall Window Post, where kids line up for a scoop or two of jimmies-coated teenage courage-usually in a sugar cone. My friend Matt, who has been described as “hunky” by more than one of my Chris-you’re-like-a-little-brother-to-me-and-by-the-way-can-you-introduce-me-to-your-hunky-friend-Matt girlfriends, has aquamarine eyes and is 6 feet tall. He gets the job instead of me. Scott tries to explain. “Chris, Matt just does the window thing better. That’s all. Come on; you know what I’m talking about. A few more months and we’ll see if you grow into the position too.” I’m not sure if he’s saying I need more seniority or sprout a few more inches. Then he goes for the low blow. “Plus, how could I lose you? You’re the best little dishwasher we’ve ever had!” The next day, I’m busing all of the rejected Jim Dandy and Reese’s Pieces sundaes that Matt screwed up (following the directions on a three-flavor dessert is admittedly tricky when flirting, but hey, I’m not bitter). So I start to binge: I’m jamming down Matt’s mistakes-he seems to have a heavy hand for the butterscotch-all while I’m frick-in-fracking-hosen-fieffering my way through the dishes. I’m clanging tin silverware and double stacking plates into the Hobart 2000 because, well, “Take that Scott Manager Guy – these aren’t going to be squeaky clean anymore!” Even Devlin stays away from me. That night I’m dizzy when I fall asleep. I wake up the next morning and feel kind of itchy. Thinking it’s continued polyester exposure, I start to scratch until I realize I’m itchy all over. And there are hives. “Chris, you’re going to be late for work,” my mom calls. I pull on my polyester uniform and try to walk while not bending my knees.
Artificial butterscotch may have done me in as a 16-year-old, but now the only butterscotch taste I love is the hint of this flavor in Hosui Asian Pears. Fall is the time of year for this wonderful round and crunchy fruit. Remember – to get the full butterscotch taste-and lots of vitamins-eat the skin.