Mixing Up the Medicine

“Did you hear what happened to Sebastiano?” Chimo, one of the waiters at Café Machiavelli asks me.

“No,” I reply. “What?”

“The cops busted down his door last night.”

“For real?”


I look over at Sebastiano. He’s loading a plastic rack filled with dirty glasses into the dishwasher. He looks very tired.

“What would the cops want with Sebastiano?” I ask. “He’s harmless.”

“The cops raided the wrong apartment,” Chimo says.

“No way.”

“They went all SWAT and shit,” Chimo says. “Sebastiano told me he was on the ground with a machine gun in his face.”

‘So what did the cops do when the realized they got the wrong apartment?”

“They said they were sorry and they’d replace the door.”

I have the greatest respect for police officers. But if they erroneously assaulted my apartment at three in the morning brandishing semi-automatic weapons, I’d be pissed. A simple “Sorry” wouldn’t cut it. I’d want money.

“Tell Sebastiano to get a lawyer and sue.”

“Are you kidding?” Chimo says. “He’s illegal.”

“He should still call someone.”

“Sebastiano’s just happy he’s not getting deported. He thought it was La Migra coming through the door. Turns out they were looking for a drug dealer.”

“I’m sure that drug dealer’s long gone now.”

“You think?”

“That’s a shame,” I say. “Sebastiano’s a nice guy. I feel bad that happened to him.”

“That sort of shit happens in the hood,” Chimo says.

“Maybe,” I said. “But the FBI once knocked on my parent’s door in the lily white suburbs. Turns out the neighbors renting the house across the street were drug dealers too.”

“For real?”

“Yeah. They disappeared in the middle of the night.  Guess they caught wind the Feds were coming.’

“Even suburbia’s not safe,” Chimo says. “Gee, my illusions are shattered.”

“You know how many meth labs are in suburbia?,” I say. “Tons of them. And in places with good schools too.”

“Anglos like to pretend that shit doesn’t happen near them,” Chimo says.

“Until the labs blow up,” I reply.

“There goes the neighborhood.”

“You said it.”

“Well,” Chimo says, glancing at the clock. “Let me see if I can push another bottle of Pinot Gringo on table twelve.”

“Good luck.”

A few minutes later, I walk over to Sebastiano and pat him on the arm.

“Sorry man.” I say. “I heard you had a tough time last night.’

“Fucking drug dealers,” Sebastiano says. “I hate them.”

I’m sort of humbled. I thought Sebastiano would be mad at the cops. He’s mad at the criminals instead. Maybe he’s got his priorities straight. Who knows?

“The cops fix your door yet?” I ask.

The super,” Sebastiano says. “He take care of it.”

“Anyone hurt?”

“No, thank God.”


Later that night I arrive home, dog tired. As I fumble with my key in the lock, I smell the overwhelming scent of potpourri wafting out of from under my neighbor’s door. They’re nice enough ladies– but maybe they’re using the herbed scent to cover up the crystal meth lab they’ve got going in the kitchen. Maybe the cops will raid my apartment by mistake. I smile to myself. I’m tired. And when I get tired I get slightly paranoid. Then again my pharmacy makes me show a license and sign a ledger when I buy cold medicine. What a world we live in.

I let myself into my apartment. Buster’s not home and my roommate’s out for the night. I shower, change into some comfortable clothes, and fix myself a vodka and tonic. Drink in hand, I go into the living room, power up the stereo, and slip in a favorite CD. Suddenly the sound of Bob Dylan singing fills the apartment.

Johnny’s in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I’m on the pavement
Thinking about the government
The man in the trench coat
Badge out, laid off
Says he’s got a bad cough
Wants to get it paid off

I smile. The forty year old lyrics are as fresh as ever.

Look out kid
You’re gonna get hit
But users, cheaters
Six-time losers
Hang around the theaters
Girl by the whirlpool
Lookin’ for a new fool
Don’t follow leaders
Watch the parkin’ meters

I take a long pull from my drink. Man, Bob Dylan was right about a lot of things.

88 thoughts on “Mixing Up the Medicine”

  1. BigSexy says:


    Ignore the comments on the previous post that were negative about your blog continuing. I will read your blog, whatever you write about.

  2. Leslie says:

    Great Post. I always look forward to new ones. Can’t wait for the book!

  3. Dan says:

    Love it, Waiter…

    Thanks for the regular flashes of insight.

  4. Adrie says:

    It’s true–all the hateful comments are probably the biggest indicator that your following is growing. This is a beautiful post–not just the prose, but the subject matter, too. I love that you captured Sebastiano’s humility and integrity. Keep your stick on the ice, Waiter. You’re amazing.

  5. Dan says:

    Nice to read your voice again – interesting story, and a nice touch with the lyrics.

    You might consider some additional form of creative writing – for example – how about an interview with yourself, or some inner discussion about something? Dont limit yourself to just reporting and reflecting.

  6. Jimmy says:

    I always like the stories that happen in your restaurant 🙂

    Also, it is weird that you have a joint-custody dog.

  7. SunSpotBaby says:

    Wow – that was so weird, those Bob Dylan lyrics… the more things change, the more they stay the same, as ?????? says. (My “old-timers” is acting up….)

  8. Mandi says:

    Found your blog via VSL. LOVE IT!

  9. Lawrence says:

    Good post. Poor Sebastiano.

    You’ve got a few more typos than usual, though — “They’re” for “there,” “signing” for “singing.” Sorry to nitpick, but they can be a bit distracting.

    Back in the 1970s I lived in an apartment in a low-rent area in Pittsburgh, and it had several oddities. One was that the furniture that came with the place had a lot of torn fabric. I asked about that.

    Seems a year or two before I moved in, the cops had burst in with a search warrant and cut open all the upholstery looking for drugs. No apologies or reimbursement — they didn’t find anything in the apartment, but they had a warrant and the right address, and did wind up busting and convicting a guy who used to live there.

    So for the two years I lived there, the sofa bled stuffing every time I sat on it.

  10. Sigivald says:

    SWAT teams don’t put semi-autos in your face.

    They have the real full-auto deal (being Better Than The Common Man, after all).

  11. leslie says:

    Thanks for another good read … am keeping an eye out for the book!

  12. LauraT says:

    i live in suburbia, USA and the two shit-stick kids that live across the street are dealing & the WHOLE neighborhood has turned them in to no avail. They have no respect for their mom or the rest of us. I can’t wait until they finally go DOWN. I will be sitting in the front yard enjoying a cold one while I wave bye-bye to them. Hopefully they will be sitting in the back of a cruiser! Although with the way things are, the cops will probably get the address wrong and end up here busting up my stuff & scaring my children! I hope to move next year to a gated community if my salary pans out. We’ll see. Keep up the good writings Waiter, I do so look forward to your posts.

  13. Ann says:

    Speaking of typos, “Anglo’s” oughtn’t have an apostrophe (sorry, I had to do it!).

    More importantly, great story! And I have to agree, that song will probably always be relevant.

  14. GenE Shockley says:

    page 24, Readers Digest August 2008.

    whoo hoo! Nothing we haven’t already read before, but still, I think it is another cap/feather.


  15. Jason says:

    Ever been in an apartment where the owner has too many cats? That ammonia smell? Multiply that and you’ve got a meth lab. Microwave popcorn wouldn’t be able to mask that.

  16. FW says:

    What Sigivald said. SWAT don’t waste their time with “semi” anything 😉

    And as much as I don’t like cops I’m even less of a fan of Illegal aliens–come here the right way or go home. If this makes me a “racist” in the eyes of some idiots who can’t think so be it. I don’t care if illegals have blonde hair and blue eyes–if you’re here illegally I WILL do everything I can to get your azz deported 😉

  17. Emery in Maui in Virginia says:

    Thanks for the eye-opener. I too would have been angry at the wrong people.

  18. mattmollysdad says:

    great post! but how long have u been saving those lyrics?

  19. firedup says:

    I agree with fw up there, as much as it sucks to have your apt. raided, well, you’re not supposed to be there in the first place. And really, to encourage an illegal to take it up with the court and waste LEGAL citizens tax money…seriously, how lame.

  20. AridZoner says:

    Liked your nice tip o’ the hat from one philosopher to another!

  21. Robin G. says:

    Sucks for Sebastiano. At least they didn’t hurt them, for which he should count his lucky stars. It’s not uncommon for the cops to not realize they’ve made a mistake until they’ve maced, tased, or shot the wrong guy.

  22. tim says:

    To all of the self-proclaimed “editors” above — Dan, Lawrence, Ann, Sigivald, FW — does the acronym STFU mean anything to you?

    Pick your lazy asses up and write a perfectly-written blog that garners the same eyeballs that WR does, with the same humanity and color, and then you can speak up.

    Until then, please shut your critical pie-holes and go read the dictionary.


  23. FW says:

    tim get your azz back in the kitchen and bring me some more fries–these you brought are cold 😉 lol

  24. Thunder says:

    Tim, this blog is entertaining, for sure (though it has seen better days). I like it and come back to it hoping there’s a new post.

    However, from saying it’s entertaining to saying it’s good literature, well, there’s a world of difference.

  25. Mas Tequila says:

    It’s not hateful, it’s those of us who have been here a long time, even it just lurking. We are used to regular posts. I have the site in my favs and hit it every day in hopes of a new post.

    While I am so happy our dear Waiter is moving up in life, God knows he deserves it, we also miss the posts that made him who he is.

    Our bitching should be considered the highest form of flattery. For those of you who don’t get that can kiss my ass.

  26. Thunder says:

    firedup and fw,

    You two are confusing two different issues. No one’s saying it’s okay for anyone to be here illegally, but immigration status has nothing to do with the fact that a wrong was committed. Both are wrongs, yes, but they are separate events.

    If someone murdered an illegal immigrant, it still would NOT be okay no matter how much that person wasn’t supposed to be here. That line of thought disgusts me, because it leaves out compassion and makes room for all sorts of horrible possibilities.

  27. Mas Tequila says:

    You are so right Thunder. I live in a border state and spend plenty of time in Mexico and have friends all over that country and others in central America.

    Borders are mere artifaces, the sooner they are gone the better. If you all could see the Human face, you’d think differently. What if YOU were the one unfortunate enough to be born in one of those countries, wouldn’t YOU try to make a better life?

    We Americans are so poorly traveled and so ignorant of the rest of the world it’s shameful, and yet we put ourselves out there as pillars of Christianity…PLEASE. Most Americans only view and practice Christian doctrine as it fits so tidily into their lives. I’ve never seen such hypocrisy and insensitivity to fellow humans as here in the US.

    Sorry to go on, this just touched a nerve in me, I’ve had the good fortune to travel and get to know people from many other countries. They are good people and deserve a chance….just as all of you would be bleating if born into the same circumstance.


  28. server says:

    Good post as always waiter! Being in the restaurant biz lots of guys I have worked with have all had there fair share of run ins with the law I don’t think I have heard of any one getting there door kicked in by swat.

    If you are interested check out my waiter blog, Thanks http://welldonetbone.blogspot.com/

  29. gdj says:

    Mas Tequila,

    I have travelled the world too (96
    countries). The world is poor.
    The USA is drowning in immigrants
    legal and illegal. Inviting in
    all these “good people” has
    resulted in the USA becoming
    rapidly a third world country.
    You and your children will live
    in poverty and misery and die
    in worse poverty and misery thanks
    to immigration and our budget/trade

  30. FW says:

    I’m not “confusing” anything and there’s nothing to “think about”. You are here legally or you are not. One or the other. If you are here Illegally, you are breaking our laws. Period. Attempting to cloud the issue with bullshit [“Borders are mere artifaces” [whatever that means- lol], Human face, Americans “aren’t well traveled”, Americans are “ignorant of the rest of the world”, Americans are “hypocrites”, hypotheticals designed around emotional arguments etc] is just a waste of time–there’s NOTHING to “think about”. Stop trying to turn it around like those US Citizens who want our LAWS ENFORCED are “unreasonable” or “racists” or somehow at fault. I won’t say anymore on this as it’s getting away from Waiter’s deal….

    Congrats Waiter can’t wait to get your book!

  31. Grumpus says:

    I work all by myself and I don’t have to interact with the public in any substantive way. This blog always presses my agoraphobic nerve quite a bit. You’ve got me out there in the bustle of your restaurant world – the stress, the demands, the glare of the public eye! Waiter, in your posts whenever you write about going home I love it. The transition from chaos to seclusion, the glass of booze, the return to self…sweet relief!

    I am fortunate to live in Canada where we don’t have police raids, drug abuse, illegal immigrants or typographical errors so I will not comment on the ongoing dust-up above.

  32. Thunder says:

    Yes, you are assuming that because that person is here illegally (WHICH YES, IT’S WRONG AND WE AGREE ON THAT POINT), that it’s okay for injustices to be committed on that person. Guess what? It’s not. Even prisoners have some basic human rights, despite having done something illegal.

  33. Thunder says:

    Besides, you know who’s really to blame? THE EMPLOYERS who keep hiring illegal workers. If there were no incentives for them to come here, if no one gave them any work, they would stop coming. So go ahead and also blame those who benefit from the underpaid labor of other human beings.

  34. Mas Tequila says:

    The US is becoming a Third World country not because of immigration, that’s been around for DECADES and they have little power, it’s becoming a Third World country thanks to our politicians and the energy crisis.

    You are both idiots. FW – maybe you SHOULD take a look in the mirror – it’s not about the US, it’s about people. It’s sad you didn’t get ANYTHING in the post, you merely enforce my opinion.

    gdj – so well traveled and so little enlightenment. I feel sorry for you that you feel so little for your fellow man other than “lucky it’s not me”.

    Both of you would do well to put yourself in other’s shoes, but I doubt that will happen.

  35. Mas Tequila says:

    And BTW, Waiter’s post had alot to say about immigrants. In case you missed it.

  36. Mas Tequila says:

    BTW cdj – YOUR FAMILY WAS IMMIGRANTS. It’s what we are founded on. Please read your history and get back to me.

  37. Jack W. says:

    Once I woke to the police (County Sheriff) shining extremely bright lights in my windows. I opened the window, and they wanted someone who hadn’t lived there in at least a year and a half (if ever; I don’t know if it was a false or an old address), as I’d lived at the address that long. I don’t know why my ex wasn’t there at the time, but I am terribly glad they didn’t just break the door down and come in SWAT-style.

  38. Duckie says:

    Alot of people are quick to think that they have the right to sue. Like COME ON. Sure they DID bust down his door in the middle of the night, but at least they’re trying to keep the neighborhood safe. He does have his priorities straight, so kudo’s to him! <3
    Much love from the canucks!

  39. Straight but not Narrow says:

    Actually the people who benefit from illegal minorities are anyone that eats lettuce, strawberries, peaches, tomatos….
    People aren’t illegal, though their actions may be.
    The cause of the USA’s decline is not immigrants, illegally here or not, it’s that the rich have set things up so they get richer in quantum leaps at the expense of the poor and middle class. Soon there will be no middle class left, only the iceberg tip of super-rich and the poor. That has NOTHING to do with immigrants taking poor paying jobs from other poor people, or jobs so physically grueling that they would go unfilled. It has to do with one rich president after another convincing Fox listeners that “raising taxes” means raising taxes equally across the board, and not only for the rich. How anyone can think raising taxes on people inheriting millions of dollars is somehow bad for the middle class is beyond me.

  40. DaveW says:

    And remember the illegals do the sh*t work that legal immigrants and US born citizens wouldn’t touch. Meat packing, fruit picking, dish washing – jobs that every American I know thinks they are above. There are a lot of jobs that wouldn’t get done if it wasn’t for illegals. The problem lies in US immigration policy and the politicians that manipulate our fears for their own purposes.

    Oh, and fw? You’d better have a 100% American last name before you criticize immigration. Not a last name that’s Irish, English, German, Italian, Chinese, Czech…

  41. gailsie says:

    Pinot Gringo. Heh heh. Good one.

  42. Stephen says:

    To those who claim to be well-traveled on the one hand, and then claim that the US is turning to a third-world country on the other, I call bullshit.

    Being a self-hating American may be the fashionable thing these days, but it’s ridiculous. A “poor” person in America still has a home, a comfortable bed to sleep in, more than enough food, a car (or two), access to police departments, fire departments, and hospitals with top of the line life-saving equipment (funded by taxes paid by the rich), free education, an armed forces that protects all of that, and the luxury of having the free time to spend surfing the internet to read the tales of a waiter who doesn’t like bad tippers.

    So shut the fuck up!

  43. Q says:

    Yup, we had a dealer in our neighborhood when i was little. My friend and I watched her get handcuffed. And dealers were flushed out of a house in my dad’s neighborhood a few years back. Both were expensive, primarily white neighborhoods. People who think whites don’t have the same drug problems are fools.

  44. Laura says:

    ^Stephen, Amen to that, my friend! We are mighty lucky in this country, and I have to shake my head when people whine about how awful things are here. We could be living in a war zone, or in a country where children can’t get clean water.

    And yeah, it’s sad when it’s cool to hate on your own country.

  45. Gal Sone says:

    What’s made this country so great is not a closed door, but quite the opposite – it’s the open door to freedom and the hope to pass it on to the children.

  46. Jim M says:

    Just thought you’d like to know that consumerist.com has a link to the Reader’s Digest article on the book, but no link back to this site.

  47. Jim M says:

    Follow-up: someone linked to it in the comments, sorry.

  48. Courtney says:

    Grumpus: I am fortunate to live in Canada where we don’t have police raids, drug abuse, illegal immigrants or typographical errors so I will not comment on the ongoing dust-up above.

    I love it.

    Don’t normally comment on flame wars, but I do need to say taht a huge sector of this economy that we love to hate is based on the cheap labor we get from immigrants, legal or illegal. We live in a global marketplace, and part of the commodites bought and sold is labor.

    Thunder: An employer cannot compete without hiring illegals in certain sectors. It’s an economic fact.

    Laura: Part of what makes our country awesome is the fact that b*tching about something gets stuff done.

    FW: I’d rather have them busting drug dealers than illegals. There’s more important things to waste a budget on.

  49. sadi says:

    Stephen, I agree completely, very well said.

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  52. Michelle S. says:

    As Americans we CAN voice our opinions.
    You can voice your opinion and be a jerk or not be a jerk. I hope most of us decide not to be jerks.

    Hey Waiter, hope things are going well!

  53. Bob Dobbs says:

    I enjoyed the post, thank you. And it’s only incidentally about waiting. As long as you have insights to make about the people around you, and your own reactions to them, this blog will be worth reading.

    One of my more enlightening life experiences involved riding cross county on the Green Tortoise (hippie bus line) through Texas. About midnight, maybe 100 miles out of El Paso, the INS pulled the bus over and lined us up on the shoulder of the highway. A couple of freakin’ giants in mountie hats went down the line and asked each one of us, “Are you an American?” The implication was clear: if they didn’t like your accent, you were in for special attention.
    We all gulped and said “yes” as clearly as we could, and they let us go.

    Ever since then, I’ve been extremely suspicious of authoritarian security measures to “protect us,” or only to be used against “suspicious characters.” Because the judgment of who’s suspicious — and maybe the future course of your life — is in the hands of one man.

  54. Danielle says:

    Waiter, have you seen this article? Sounds like something one of your customers would do: http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080714/APC0101/80714123/1979

  55. firedup says:

    Thunder and Mas Tequila. while I do agree that being an illegal doesn’t make it ok for an injustice, we are NOT talking about murder…we’re talking about a raid that could and does happen to innocent people when cops get the wrong info. It’s disturbing, but no one was hurt, the cops were merely doing their job based on info they had. I wouldn’t sue if it happened to me and I find it extremely wrong to encourage an ILLEGAL to do so.As for your other points…yes, I would want a better life…so fix your own country…we can’t take care of you all. I also live in a area where there is a high concentration of illegals…guess where the vast majority of crime comes from? yup, the illegals. It’s not racist, it’s a fact. All those fancy hospitals paid for by the “rich” taxpayers, for one thing, are also paid for by not so rich me….who can’t even reap the benefits of it…but an illegal can…scot free. The fruit picking, etc…..maybe if they were required to pay more than 2 bucks an hour, other people would do the job….or we could make it a requirement for those on welfare to contribute and work those jobs to receive benefits. yes, this country was founded on immigrants…200 years ago. That has nothing to do with the here and now and attempting to keep using that argument in this day and age, when it’s so obvious this country is getting overwhelmed in it’s attempt to hold onto this idealistic attitude, just shows that you really have no good argument or point that makes it ok for illegals to be here drowning our system. I’m all for those that come here legally and contribute.If you can’t do that…why WOULD we want you? And if you do…then take them personally into your home and take care of them, because I don’t want to. Sorry to go on…but it strikes a nerve in me, too.

  56. Claudia says:

    Fired up “fix your country, we can’t take care of you all”, please do some reading. Don’t look at just the fact that illegal immigration occurs but the root cause of it, which believe it or not, ironically, comes right back to the good old USA. Latin American goverments are mere puppets of the US. Take a look at the trade agreements that have been passed. I also think that “illegal immigration” has been touted the new scapegoat for every new woe in this country.

  57. Snark Scribe says:

    My parents live in a nice neighborhood full of retirees and families with children, but they’ve still had visits from the police asking about a particular shady neighbor. The police even showed up to the neighbor’s house with drug-sniffing dogs.

  58. Laura says:

    Courtney, your comment to me is absolutely correct. However, I think some of the complaints we as Americans have pale in comparison to the problems of others around the world was my point.

  59. Tasha says:

    Laura, I see your point, and it’s not invalid.

    I feel like in general, American Culture has become/is becoming for the most part one of lazy, spoiled, indulgent, greedy, fat and uneducated self-righteous idiots with one big outrageous sense of entitlement. In general we whine, bitch and moan about unbelievable things.

    However, I also feel that it’s important to point out that not everyone in America can be defined as above. There are very legitimate complaints and problems here in the U.S. Not every child has access to clean and safe drinking water in the U.S., though I think we like to pretend it ain’t so. Not all of the “poor” in the U.S. have a home to sleep in, enough food to eat, health care, etc.

    We do have our problems. It’s definitely those who stand up and acknowledge the problems and fight them who inspire change. We need many changes in our country. We need to talk it out – and disagree – and expose the truth about America’s problems so we can work on fixing them. I’m stepping down off my soap box now.

    As far as this blog is concerned…I think the nature of these comments speaks volumes about the interest in Waiter’s blog. This guy has us talking about serious social issues. These things inspire people to become activists; to become change agents; to care.

    The negative whiners who feel entitled to complain about the blog are likely the same crappy silly customers that waiter has written so much about. He knows all about handling those types. I doubt he’s losing any sleep over that sort of thing.

    Rock on, Waiter.

  60. Marcheline says:

    re: Bob Dylan’s lyrics

    Yeah, it’s just too bad his voice SUCKS. It’s like nails on a blackboard, man – you’d have to be drinking to be able to listen to that shite.

    – M

  61. firedup says:

    Trust me, Claudia…I am well aware that our effed up government is a big part of the problem, as are the bleeding hearts that protest and cry racism, this country was built on immigrants, blahblahblah to the enth degree whenever someone dares to suggest we tighten up border policies, etc. I know the problem comes from both sides and I know the solution needs to start here. I don’t say things lightly, or to be cruel, or b/c I don’t know “what’s really going on”. I say them b/c I see them and live them everyday, and while I respect your opinion, it’s not going to change mine.

  62. Kum Hurray says:

    Hi, my name is Kum Hurray, I do everything fast, that why they call me Kum Hurray. Guy who get raided lucky he no get violated! That all, thanks!

  63. Chicago Voter says:

    I am disappointed when I turn on my computer and you haven’t posted something new. Thank you for this, it is a little break in the day that I need most when you post. So thank you for your efforts and I look forward to your next post.

    I look forward to the book.

  64. WVKay says:

    I so enjoy the grammar police. I think Bob Dylan would agree.

  65. CJ says:

    marcheline- I LOVE Bob Dylan. hes amazing. ALMOST as amzing as Waiter. I cant wait to hear what people say about him when they go to his signing! HE WRITES AMAZINGLY!

  66. t says:

    I wouldn’t sue the police. Honest mistake, I suppose.

    I thought my area was okay, but once I talked to a policeman and he mentioned that they busted some coke dealers right behind my house. Then my sister told me her neighbors are meth dealers, and the others grow marijuana, and somehow the other one is a policeman. Weird world.

  67. dalas v says:

    Saw this on your list: “12. If you want to hang out, that’s fine. But increase the tip to make up for money the server would have made if he or she had had another seating at that table.”

    I don’t think they do it this way in Europe.

  68. heather (errantdreams) says:

    I have the greatest respect for those good officers who put their lives on the line to protect regular folks. But I have to say, it seems like I’m reading these ‘wrong door’ stories nearly every day now, and it’s scary as hell, particularly the ones that end up with someone shot because the police got twitchy or a homeowner thought a burglar was breaking in. I’m just glad to hear nothing like that happened to your co-worker.

  69. booply says:

    Ya, my dad has always been the biggest dylan fan, listening to him when we did long road trips (much to our dismay then, but now to our approval as we are older), and I always seem to feel that the words he spoke ring truer today than when he sang them 20/30 years ago. Living in portland, the *meth capital* of the U.S., it’s hard not to see the ill effects of all the junk around the city. It doesn’t only affect the people who make and use it, but everyone it comes in contact with.

  70. Stephan says:

    Good for Sebastiano! I’m so glad he wasn’t hurt and hope he gets his door fixed soon. It’s so easy to get bitter and blame the wrong people (cops), forgetting that most everything they do is in response to–and trying to protect us from–the criminals who would shoot you as soon as look at you. And to drag your himself in to work the day after….shoot, I’d have had to take a “mental health” day. You should take him out for a drink some day.
    Really enjoyed this post, Waiter. Thanks!

    But, you know, as long as I’ve been reading your blog, I’ve never caught exactly who it is you share Buster with? I’ve always assumed it’s an ex-girlfriend….but don’t think I’ve ever seen a post where he was in her care. Ah well, maybe I’ll go back and poke around a bit.


  71. Waiter says:

    I share Buster with my former girlfriend. When Buster’s isn’t with me, he’s with her. We trade him off roughly every ten days. Bizarre to some people, I know, but that’s the way it panned out. Hey, after my anonymity ends maybe I’ll put a picture of Buster up on the website.

  72. Vile Smiles says:

    yeah i’m pretty impressed that sebastiano was more angry with the drug dealers. i had the piss beaten out of me by some cops when i was 12 because they thought i lit a fire.(like a pile of newspapers in a field—–not a house) turns out i was actually just returning some movies for my mom. i have some nicely aged animosities still stewing. and i could care less who lit the fire

  73. Claudia says:

    my intention was not to change your opinion, which is what makes this country great; we agree to disagree; vive la difference, it was again to just paint a broader perspective.

  74. GeraldL says:

    A lot of the stories here center around the mistreatment of restaurant staff. What never seems to dawn on anyone is how the presence of illegals contributes to the low wages and poor working conditions. The depression of wages at the lower end of the skill/education spectrum due to the presence of illegals has been amazing.

    The US is NOT a nation of immigrants. We are a nation of descendants of immigrants, descendants of colonists, descendants of slaves, descendants of native Americans, along with immigrants. And immigrants arriving before about WW2 had these important characteristics that separate them from today’s generation of low-skilled illegals:

    1. Legal
    2. Education/skill comparable to existing citizens
    3. Were not a burden to taxpayers because government spending on hospitals, schools, highways, etc. was much smaller
    4. Were much more diverse and so had to assimilate faster
    5. Moving to America meant cutting ties to the old country due to lack of cheap/quick travel and communication

  75. Auto says:

    Jesus Christ, GeraldL, that’s such a load a crap.

    Your gripes about the supposed shortcomings of today’s immigrants were made 120 years ago about the Irish, the Italians, the Jews, the Chinese and Japanese. That they were lesser people than the Americans already here and would always be lesser because they had few skills and wouldn’t assimilate and blah blah blah.

    Your gripe that’s new is the supposed tax burden imposed on the rest of us by illegals. Another crock. Actually, GeraldL, they’re a net gain to the system. They pay taxes but make relatively few demands for government services and benefits. Because they don’t qualify, because they don’t stay long enough to collect, because they’re afraid to apply for fear of being deported.

    That we have a problem with illegals is a fact. But it’s also a fact that America runs on the cheap labor of these workers, and without them, the economy would seize up.

    So let’s solve the problem without getting all pious and shit about how America no longer attracts high quality immigrants the way we did in the good old days.

  76. Straight but not Narrow says:

    Auto is correct. One of the things propping up Social Security is all the taxes withheld from immigrants that they’ll never be able to collect.

  77. Mike says:

    Damn, I hadn’t thought about Subterranean Homesick Blues in years. Bringing It All Back Home is a must have album for any Dylan fan. Thanks for rekindling an old memory.

  78. CP says:

    It’s funny. I’ve never felt that drugs are that prevalent. I live away from any major cities, in an area that’s just about as backwoods as you can get in the coastal areas of the east coast. Occasionally I’ll hear about some drug bust that happened in some school nearby or someone I used to know a while back got caught doing drugs or something, but I’ve never really had an up close encounter with that part of society. Then I hear in the news that it’s bigger than ever and America is the number one consumer of crystal meth or some other drug like it and I’m just really thankful I’ve never had to deal with that.

  79. Lawrence says:

    Sorry about nitpicking the typos. I’m a professional editor, and sometimes it’s hard to leave the job behind.

  80. Gal Sone says:

    “And immigrants arriving before about WW2 had these important characteristics that separate them from today’s generation of low-skilled illegals”

    That’s right. On top of that, those people who arrived here before WWII were much more skilled and educated, most of them were already civil engineers, computer programmers, registered nurses, doctors, attorneys, stock analysts…etc.

  81. Stuey says:

    “That’s right. On top of that, those people who arrived here before WWII were much more skilled and educated, most of them were already civil engineers, computer programmers, registered nurses, doctors, attorneys, stock analysts…etc.”

    That’s pretty silly. Let’s assume that immigrants may not have changed, but America has. Before WW2, the vast majority of Americans were farmers, laborers, miners, etc. A substantial majority of Americans had not even graduated high school. This generation of LEGAL immigrants was not at a skill disadvantage compared to native born Americans of that time and so were able to pull their weight economically.

  82. conservative says:

    Waiter, your liberal is showing.

    “He’s mad at the criminals instead.”

    Um, he IS a criminal himself if he’s here illegally!

    If you lived in the south you would lose any compassion for those criminals. They are sucking our resources dry.

  83. charlene says:

    i love this entry.
    thank you (:

  84. Chris says:

    I agree with Mas Tequila and Thunder from aways up the comment list. Europe is on the right track with their border-free zones

  85. cla517 says:

    I love in super suburbia and when I was a kid, the FBI knocked on our door, twice! Seems the nice Colombian family across the street were dealing! The other family sold all their rented furniture before they bailed in the night.

  86. FJ says:

    cops had the wrong place, and the guy should be able to sue for money? i can separate the illegal immigrant issue here, and say that cops have a dangerous job to do and aren’t perect. sure, let’s take the cops to court every single time they knock on the wrong door, that’ll teach ’em to do their jobs!

  87. Trackback: Prozac.
  88. J says:

    Leave off the grammar folks. Waiter is getting free copy editing. Normally you have to pay for that. Gift-in-kind donations are not attacks. 🙂

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