another turkey post

Let’s talk turkey .

As far as I know , I’ve used that expression only once in my life . [  Now when I say that I’ll have several people coming out of the woodwork to contradict that statement , perhaps ; but I’m sticking with it for the purpose of this post . Who cares anyhow ! Right ?  Not to get political , but I could lie through my teeth day after day , month after month , and I could still be elected President , so who cares in my case . Right ?  Sorry . Let’s move on . ]It was one of the times that I’ve been fired [ yes , one of the times . You mean to say that you’ve never been fired ? You lead a sheltered life , or what ? ]  .

I was selling popcorn and candy at the Vista Theater in Hollywood . Some would call it East Hollywood , making it sound a bit more chi chi ; you know : swank . The place wasn’t so swank when I lived there ; it is now though  . The neighborhood was waiting for me to move out , I suspect , before it went to all that trouble and expense and changed ; but I don’t take that slippery strategy personally .

The posh coffee places came in on Vermont Blvd and the local watering holes filled up with new crowds.  I might call the newcomers sophisticates , facetiously . Bartender Lou , over at the Drawing Room , started taking credit cards and he stopped bringing pans of pigs’ feet to stash behind the bar to hand out to his friends . Someone even began to sweep the place out on a regular basis and the Drawing Room added a wine list . When I was going there after work for a beer they wouldn’t take credit cards — in fact they ridiculed the poor unsuspecting strangers who tried to use one . The beer list , I think , was Budweiser or Millers in a bottle . Pick one .

There was a place across the street , the Ye Rustic Inn , that got hit even worse with the frilly remake . In my opinion . Ye Rustic Inn , as you might glean from the slightly pretentious moniker , was a neighborhood dive bar trying to be grandiose . My friend Curtiss and I used to go over there rarely . The people were friendly , lots of locals , but never did the bartender bring any pickled pigs feet , for example . They weren’t open at six o’clock in the morning , either , as was the Drawing Room . A bit affected and pompous , you think ?

Now , don’t get me wrong . For one , I wouldn’t have eaten a  pickled pig’s foot had I been wasting away in the final throes of starvation  , and I never went for an early morning beer , certainly not at 6 in the morning ,  and I wouldn’t have been considered ” a regular ” at any bar [ except , perhaps , during the nine day teacher strike of ’89 , when Curtiss and I would hit the Drawing Room in the afternoons  to blow off steam after picketing  mornings around the school ] .

I’m not cool . Never was cool and haven’t ever had an itch to be cool . When these two beer places within a block of my former home  were down-to-earth neighborhood beer joints , I felt comfortable there and would visit from time to time for a beer or two . My friend Virginia lived in a house next to The Drawing Room . She didn’t mind the place with the exception of the occasional drunks who puked on her lawn . Lou worked evenings and always was good for a good word or two . The Ye Rustic Inn people were friendly too , and usually a good source of local gossip . But then the two places became flashy cool . Cool people contacted one another by cell phone and met at one place or the other for loud  binges of coolness , and unfortunately , the places lost my interest from that time on .halloween-masked-kids

Luckily , I guess ,  I was on my way out of that neighborhood at about that same time . I escaped just before complete grip of gentrification , up-pricing , and up-gussying . My flannel shirts , which I wore almost exclusively back then , just weren’t fitting in anymore . Lou , the bartender at The Drawing Room  retired , and my buddy Curtiss moved to Florida . Virginia sold her house and bought herself a cozy spot in an old-folks’ home on the other side of downtown .

I moved out to Sierra Madre , where there was only one bar , the Bucchaneer , which should have been avoided if at all possible at all times by everyone . Something about the Black Hole of Calcutta comes to mind.  I was in there two or three times , nevertheless , over the years . One must do one’s research , after all .  Go in early , if you go . The bartender is drunk by evening and he gets a bit bent-out-of-shape belligerent if you want anything from him  , like change . Well , to be honest , I haven’t been there for years , and they may , by now , have a wine list and serve craft  beers in fluted glasses ; but I don’t think so . The place , by the looks of the outside , seems not to have changed at all . There’s old -curmudgeon comfort in that cozy consideration , I realize .

But , Bless me Father , for I have digressed .

Back to the talking turkey theme . I worked at the Vista after school and on weekends , as a second job. Teachers do that kind of thing . The Vista , at the time , was owned by three gay guys . The new boyfriend of one of them took over management of the theater , and within weeks decided to fire all of the non-gay employees . About half of the popcorn and tickets crew were axed . For some of these people that was their only job . For me it was no skin off my nose , so to speak .

The reason given for firing us was that our work wasn’t up to standards , which was obvious nonsense , so I confronted the manager . I told him that I had come to    ” talk turkey ” with him , and that the real reason for the nasty action was obvious , and had nothing to do with quality of work . I said my say and that was it . ” Talk turkey , ” I remember him repeating . ” Talk turkey ! Talk turkey ! ”

His romance with the owner  , by the way ,  broke up  a few weeks later and he was immediately fired . What goes around comes around . I can’t say I had much sympathy for that jive turkey .

So , as you have just read , I remember the one time ever that I’ve  used that ” let’s talk turkey ” expression . It’s been documented here and will , I assume , be placed in the record .movie-theatre-etiquette-posters-from-1912-14

The Vista theater is still there , too , but it’s been owned by a theater corporation for decades now . I wonder if the wallpaper I put up in the restrooms is still there . By the way , here’s a bit of inside scuttlebutt : that goo they squirt onto the popcorn in theaters isn’t butter . It’s World War I surplus used motor oil drained from Army vehicles . Just thought you’d like to know . Eating buttered popcorn with that  “butter”  is like turkeys voting for an early Christmas . Just saying ! Might as well talk turkey , after all !


Filed under humor

6 responses to “another turkey post

  1. I’ve always know it wasn’t butter. Now I know why it tastes so good. They don’t make stuff like they did back then. For the record, I’ve been fired. No sheltered life in the works here.

  2. You certainly have a way of painting a picture! I felt like a regular at one of the bars waiting for you to come in! I can’t talk turkey though, can’t even cook one right!

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