The manager of The Side Bar and Grille handed me 117 dollars after my opening night performance. “We didn’t do all that well tonight” he said. “How did you come up with 117 dollars?” I asked. He took an envelope out of his pocket. It had lots of numbers scratched on it, a few subtraction symbols and one long division problem. “117 dollars is the percentage of the receipts divided by the hours you was singing, minus your plate of calamari and the two white wines.” “I didn’t know I was going to be charged for the calamari” I said. “You’ll have to talk to the owner about that.” said the manager. The owner was sitting at a table, chewing an unlit cigar and talking to a Supreme Court Justice. “Excuse me, Mugsy, don’t I get dinner with this gig?” “You’ll have to ask the manager.” he said. “I don’t work here, except for Monday’s.”
On Monday’s, Mugsy puts on an apron, goes in the kitchen and makes hundreds of meatballs for “Meatball Monday,” the most popular night at the restaurant. Meatball Madness. Standing room only.
“Hey, Honey.” The manager handed me another twenty. “We do alot better on Meatball Monday” he said. “But-” he pinched my cheek, “Don’t feel bad. Those is some meatballs, believe me.”
I don’t feel bad. I don’t worry anymore and I don’t feel bad anymore, precisely due to experiences like this. I am competing with meatballs. This is my destiny and I wouldn’t have it any other way.