My first day of training was with a woman named Meaghan. My second day was with Greg. Both are happily married to each other these days and are people with whom I’m still close friends. Their wedding was a drunken spectacle of servers. I saw the storm coming and because of my careful drink management was probably the only one who walked away without a hangover. I got to watch it all slowly unfold. Epic. A story for another day.

When naming this character, I wanted to use a variation of the name Megan because I wanted an M-name. I remember that real-life Meaghan spelled her name differently, so I was careful not to use her spelling. Or so I thought. I accidentally spelled it dead on. She, thankfully, is amused and I’ve explained many times that Meaghan is a conglomeration of many people I’ve worked with plus a fictional element.

Meaghan started as a bit of a tyrant in the comic but quickly evolved into the smartest, hardest working of the bunch. Her and Ryan are probably my two favorite characters to write for and I’m looking forward to pairing them in comics whenever I can. If anyone is at the wheel of this madhouse, it would be her. She has no disillusions about the people she is working with. She also somehow gets the best lines. Her punchline, “Or you could grow a pair because there’s no crying in serving…Actually, there is way too much crying in serving” is to this day probably one of the best received comics I have every done. I think that’s somewhere around comic 35 or so.

As for training, I can’t think of a more awkward event in a restaurant. I hated training. Having someone follow me around while I explained the job both slowed me down and frustrated me because I was seeing what we were about to get. We trained a lot of poor candidates and despite our pleas not to bring some of those people on, management seemed not to care. We all warned them about one hire just to find ourselves ignored. She turned out to be one of the worst people they ever added to the staff. Somehow it took them four years to get rid of her. Only months to chase off their good people, but four years to get rid of the bad?

Interestingly, those were the four years during which the restaurant was operating at a loss. Just a thought. Listen to the trainers.

My days as a trainer came to an end when we brought on a hire that was the dimmest of the bulbs that drifted through that restaurant (went on to a multi-year career there. Go figure). I was working a lunch and found myself with a 15% tip on a rather large bill after bending over backwards and showing all of the kindness that at the time wasn’t my nature. I had just snagged a 25% from a table I barely interacted with, so the irony wasn’t lost on me. I made an off-hand, sarcastic comment to her that, “You get better tips here if you aren’t nice to the customers.”

She decided to follow up with my manager to see if that was true.

She could have just followed up with me and I would have explained sarcasm to her using the smallest words in my vocabulary, but that thought never quite made it through her head.

My manager, quite irritated with me, attempted to impose a little discipline. The problem was that this particular manager never quite figured out a management style that worked with me. The other managers and I never butted heads because they had a better idea on how to handle me when I was stepping out of line. This manager (who is still a friend today) and I just didn’t have styles that worked well together.

So, when he rounded on me about the incident he attempted the threat, ‘Do you even want to be a trainer?’ in hopes a little fear would motivate me. I believe he was quite surprised when I answered, ‘No, no I don’t want to be a trainer. In fact, take me off the training team altogether.’ Now he was out a trainer.

As I said, our styles just never meshed. He went on to GM a successful bar and was wise never to tap me to work at it when he needed extra help during the baseball season. He asked everyone else that worked with us, but knew that the two of us didn’t work well together. I got that and was thankful he never asked.

My parting prank to him was to rearrange the entire bar while he was on vacation. It was his baby and he was always tinkering with it in a way that made bartenders insane because they couldn’t ever find where things had moved to.

The best part was that when he returned, the lead bartender (my personal nemesis) threatened him not to touched it. Apparently my way worked. I still chuckle thinking about it.