Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Christmas, You Italian Gavone Bastard

I am an Italian-American. My parents were born in Italy, I was born in the United States. Brooklyn, New York to be exact. That has little to do with this story, except for the fact that I don't want to be called out for making fun of Italians. I've lived this shit my whole life, I know how it is.

When I was a young boy, I would work at my father's Italian deli. I barely did anything when I started, but I would go in to get the hang of being at work. As I got older, I learned more and more techniques. Finally, when I was old enough to start slicing cold cuts, I began serving customers.

Every holiday season we geared up for the busiest time of the year. During the week of Christmas, lines would form out the door. Being an Italian deli in upstate New York, you can imagine the range of people that would come and shop. There were nice folk and there were assholes. This is the story about a real son of a bitch.

It was Christmas Eve of 2000 and I was 16 years old. We were so busy that I could hardly take a breath between customers. Every Christmas, I always wore a festive hat, usually a Santa hat. This year, I found a quirky, striped green and white elf hat, so I decided to wear that. I figured that the customers would find it amusing. I was right.

I walk in front of the deli counter to hand a woman a bag of food that I had just prepared when some guy from the back of the line yells to me "Hey! Your hat's green! What the hell kind of hat is that? It's Christmas!". Everyone in the store laughed, and that guy had his moment. But now, I have my moment.

This guy was some Italian jackoff from Brooklyn who came upstate and thought he was hot stuff shopping at an Italian deli. Have you ever seen Goodfellas? Pick any male from that movie and that's what this guy modeled his behavior on. He was a prime example of a gavone (a rude, Italian-American jerk). I was nice. I smiled. I did not spit in his food because I would never do that no matter how mad a customer made me. But I never forgot. Because that's what Italians do. They hold onto grudges like Thor holds onto his hammer.

That was a pretty annoying Christmas Eve. But don't worry. Years later, I chose a profession that's the furthest thing from customer service. And that guy chose a life that's the closest thing to being a piece of shit.

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