My first time working a fair booth wasn’t bad after all, the five-hour shift flying by so fast that I forgot to have supper despite that fact I was handing people delicious food all day.
I did a shift at the Morrison Ruritan food booth Friday, something I was a bit apprehensive about since I know how folks take their fair food orders so seriously. I heard horror stories all week about how volunteers at various booths were yelled at and berated because they didn’t get an order exactly right. Don’t get me wrong, 99 out of 100 customers are good people but there’s always that 100th one who feels entitled and is just rude enough to raise his or her voice at the volunteer who is donating their time to help a community organization.
Admittedly, it took a while to get my sea legs after I tied an apron around my waist and started taking orders. My first challenge was trying to figure out where I put my paper and pen every time. It was like watching an episode of Columbo as I patted my pockets, looking for my paper and pencil to take the order, only to find it jammed deep in my pocket when the sharp lead tip stuck into my hand.
Then there was my total lack of penmanship. I have horrible handwriting. Yes. Me. I can hardly read my own writing. Sure, I’ve penned five full-length novels (soon to be six hopefully this November) and have written thousands of stories for the paper. However, those were all typed on computer. Had I had to write them by hand, none of them would have been published because they would have been impossible to read.
“What’s this say?” the woman in the kitchen strained her eyes, trying to interpret the piece of paper I’d just handed her.
“Um, cheeseburger,” I replied, realizing communication may be a problem given my inability to write legibly.
She shot me a hollow-eyed look. “That says cheeseburger?” she scoffed, shaking her head as she closed the window.
“Hey. What’s your name?” the window to the kitchen flew back open.
Now, I may not be the most well-known person in Warren County, but I’m pretty sure I’m at least in the top 10 after nearly 28 years in this high profile job. And, I was quite sure the woman in the kitchen knew my name.
“It’s Duane Sherrill,” I replied with surprise.
“Good, Duane Sherrill, then why don’t you write your name right there at the top so we know who took the order,” she quipped, pushing the piece of paper at me through the window.
I sheepishly penned my barely legible name at the top and went on with my work. This exchange continued for several hours as I repeatedly turned in unreadable orders and forgot to put my name on the orders. However, eventually I think the kitchen people learned to read my chicken scratching and even realized if they couldn’t read it, then it had to belong to me.
Standard reporter Duane Sherrill can be reached at 473-2191.