Thursday, February 24, 2011


I was thinking about a kid I used to work with when I was a Chef. We called him 'Bruce Lee" because his name was Bruce and the one thing he could do was karate. He was like a yellow belt, which was pretty good for a guy with an IQ of about 75.
He was sweet and harmless and dumb as a post and eager to fuck anything up you asked him to, and I learned after a while what I could and could not count on him for.
I learned after a while how to use him. I was Garde-Manger, in charge of salads and cold foods at the time.

Bruce Lee, he loved Cherry Peppers. I couldn't keep him out of them. Then one day he had a whole gallon bottle of them. He stuck his hand into the jar and had a whole handful of them, but with the hand full like that, he couldn't get his hand out of the jar. It was baffling and frustrating him to no end, and by the time I noticed what was going on he was about to smash the jar against the Can Opener.
'Let go of the peppers Bruce Lee" I said.
He just looked at me and stammered "But,but..."
'Let go of the peppers Bruce Lee, and you will be able to get your hand out" I pleaded.
Bruce Lee looked at the jar, forlorn, and back up to me "But I want..."
"Let go of the peppers, Bruce Lee"
Bruce didn't have it in him to let go of the peppers. He liked those peppers, he wanted those peppers and now that he had a hold of them it was going to be hard to talk him into letting them go.
I had to learn and practice a lot of patience and persuasion that day, but I managed to talk Bruce Lee out of that jar. It took almost an hour of negotiations.

When I told my son this story he said:
"Daddy, you can catch a raccoon that way"
I suppose you can!


Kim said...

It's kind of a thrill to leave the first comment on one of your funny stories, Mr. BH.
The only things that have ever taught me patience have been frustrating. When I was a new nurse, after about twenty minutes trying to reason with a demented old man, he said to me "I don't like you;" I replied "I don't like you either but it's my job to keep you safe." It was humiliating in the aftermath to have been reduced to that, and I've never let it happen again. I admire that you kept your cool with Bruce Lee.
I wonder what your son would have wanted to do with a raccoon if you caught it for him?

bulletholes said...

"I don't like you"....words to live by.
my son would have wanted to play with that raccoon, probably take him to school, like Mary and that lamb!
Thanks for coming by Kim!

Anonymous said...

I've worked with people with the IQs of raccoons. It can be frustrating. Unfortunately, the place where I work now just about everybody is smart. In fact, you could say I'm the raccoon here. It's kind of humbling. Great story!

UF Mike

David Kanigan said...

Great story!