FAYETTEVILLE, NC—Smitty's Family Restaurant customers have found in waitress Jennifer Marsh a handy scapegoat for the sins of the world, sources reported Tuesday.
"Get it right this time," corporate attorney Paula Hinton told Marsh, taking out years of deep dissatisfaction on the waitress. "I have to be at work by 9, and I'm not about to be late because of you."
Marsh, a 23-year-old single mother of two, earns $2.13 an hour plus tips at Smitty's, serving food and functioning as an outlet for the anger and frustration of all mankind. Monday morning alone, between the hours of 8 and 11, nearly 20 customers heaped abuse on Marsh for a host of evils wholly unrelated to her.
"Where were you? I've been waiting 15 minutes," said Stephan Kendrick, seemingly irritated by the nine-minute wait for his chorizo and eggs but in reality venting anger over the alcoholic mother who abandoned him at age 9. "At least they're still warm."
Each day, Marsh also serves as a symbolic punching bag for a rogue's gallery of misogynist men who have been rejected by women. Taking aim at all womankind through Marsh, the men "strike back" with sexually inappropriate comments, intentionally confusing orders, and woefully small tips.
According to University of North Carolina sociologist Dr. James Armbruster, Marsh plays a vital role in American society.
"Daily life in this country has never been more fraught with stress and tension," Armbruster said. "But by absorbing the pent-up rage and resentment of those around her, this remarkable woman is the release valve that keeps the balloon we call America from overinflating and bursting."
Armbruster, who recently ate lunch at Smitty's, said the litany of misdeeds for which Marsh must suffer is not limited to small-scale personal vendettas.
"I actually saw Jennifer being punished for centuries of racial injustice when a group of African-American teenagers occupied a booth for more than two hours. They inverted the traditional model of racial servitude by torturing her with a laundry list of detailed questions about menu items, sending back imperfectly prepared orders, and demanding endless drink refills."
"I thought Jennifer would crack under the pressure," Armbruster continued, "but as is typical of martyrs, she absorbed blow after blow, scooped up her 30-cent tip, and went straight to a new table without raising an eyebrow."
Rev. Pernell Hardwick, author of The Waitress On The Cross: Jennifer Marsh As Secular Christ Figure (Pantheon Books, $12.95), said Marsh functions as a modern-day Jesus.
"Jennifer, more than any other contemporary figure, fits the Christ model, giving life to the world in the form of nourishment while serving as a willing repository of punishment for the sins of humanity," Hardwick said. "All the while, she never raises a hand or utters a word of protest, smiling politely as instructed by her shift manager."
Added Hardwick: "Of course, while the similarities between Marsh and Christ are obvious, comparisons to Job would be equally apt."