Hola, amigos. What's up? I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but I been stressin' like a Hessian over the amount of shit going on. First off, I had to replace my rear wheel bearings again, making this the third time since I owned this piece of crap Festiva that I had to do that.
I got a guy that does all my work after hours, and I help, and all it costs is some weed and a case of beer. He tells me that the Festiva parts are really Mazda parts, even though it's a Ford car, and that the Mazda parts are for shit. I tell him that I'd like to see his car get 45 miles per gallon on the highway and fit in a 12-foot parking spot.
I actually kind of agree with him, but I ain't gonna let on. No one talks smack about my car. Besides, if I get a new one, you better believe it's gonna be some monster upgrade, like a '74 Mustang T-top, and I just can't afford that right now.
Besides that car hassle, I have to get myself a new job. Things were going great at the warehouse price club. I was working in the bakery, making muffins and cakes. I got so I could work my way around a muffin pretty good. People talk about how hard it is to bake, but I'm like, "What's the problem? Just put the 20-pound bag of muffin mix in the mixer, add the water it says to on the bag, and bam, muffins."
The greatest thing was, if a muffin didn't look good, we got to take it home. Me and Ramon, one of the other guys I worked with, would always nab the lopsided or busted ones no one else wanted. It ruffled some feathers on the floor, because everyone was lined up to get some, but I told them, "Hey, when a customer rips open a box of Clif Bars and ganks one, do you guys spread the wealth with Jim or do you keep the extra Clif Bars for yourself?" That usually shut them up good.
This set-up definitely worked to my advantage. It used to be when people would swing by my pad to chill out and watch a movie or whatever, I would offer them the usual hospitality of a beer and a couple hits off the bowl. But once I started bringing muffins home, it was a game changer. People would be hanging out, and things being what they were, they would get a bad case of the munchies, so I would be like, "Oh, you want a muffin?" and they would be blown away.
Also, the place I live is owned by my roommates, who are waiting for real estate to go up so they can flip it, so when I was late with the rent, I just gave them some muffins and told them it would be a few days. What were they gonna say? "No thanks, Jim, we need the money"? No, they like muffins, just like anyone else, so they took the muffins and ate them and kept their muffin holes shut.
After a while, the word spread and people started calling me Muffin Man. People would drop by more to hang out and have some muffins, and a lot of times they'd bring a six-pack of their own. Even Ron, who wasn't talking to me for a while, whistled a different tune when I started hooking him up with muffins. Life was pretty sweet, like a chocolate-chip pumpkin muffin.
The thing was, I wanted to shake things up a bit. It got so I was pretty good at making most of the different muffins, but there was like a whole mess of ingredients in the store that I thought I could try out. Like, frozen strawberries and Butterfingers and stuff like that. I figured that I would make a batch or two of the regular stuff, then try to blow some minds with my own muffins.
So, I went around and started collecting ingredients for my new kick-ass muffins on the sly, 'cause I didn't want anyone trying to take credit for my work. Then, once no one was paying attention, I took the chocolate-chip muffin mix, but instead of adding the chips, I threw in Butterfinger chunks, and then I turned the giant mixer on high. Once it looked like batter, I poured it into muffin tins, popped them in the oven, and went out back to grab a butt and think about how good those muffins were going to be.
As soon as I walked back inside, the fire alarm went off. The whole store was kind of freaking out. Half the people don't know what our fire alarm sounds like, so they're just standing around, and the other half was trying to rush out the door. I was all like, "Shit! I gotta save my muffins!" I manage to get up near the bakery and I see all this smoke pouring out of the oven.
I guess I must not have broke up the Butterfingers small enough, because it turns out that's what caused all the smoke. There was no damage, and the sprinklers didn't go off, but my manager wasn't hearing any of it. He told me to pack my shit right there and then, and that I was lucky he wasn't going to call the cops.
I mean, it wasn't like I stole the ingredients. They were still in the store, and I was gonna put them back out in muffin form, so they would have got sold anyway. Just because they didn't turn out wasn't my fault. All I wanted to do was to try and make them more money.
The thing is, it felt good to work with my hands. It was like I was fixing a car, but instead, I was making something that people like to eat. I been fired from a lot of jobs, but this was the first one I ever felt bad about. I mean, whatever. Jim Anchower will land on his feet. I just got to figure out how to make my own muffins in case someone stops over tonight.
Jim Anchower joined The Onion's editorial writing staff in 1993 after several distinguished years on The Come Back Inn dishwashing staff. He comments on community-affairs, automotive, and employment issues. He attended LaFollette High School in Madison, WI.