Hearts of Pork: Perils of the Opening Shift


Get a new bartending job, and you start at the bottom of the totem pole. Start at the bottom of the totem pole, and you’ll get sub-prime shifts until you’ve “paid your dues” for a few months or otherwise gratified the Keeper O’ The Schedule. Get sub-prime shifts, and they will include a mixed bag of night and day shifts. Get a mixed bag of shifts, and you’ll surely get the dreaded Opening Shift.

Get the dreaded Opening Shift and your eating schedule will be thrown way out of whack. If your eating schedule is way out of whack, you may be drawn to the food outlet nearest to your bar. If you’re drawn to the nearest food outlet, you may be inclined to purchase a McRib. If you purchase a McRib, you’ll be surely satisfying your carnal desires for super-salty, well-textured, sauce-bathed pork and onions and bread. If you’re left feeling that way, it’s because you’ve ingested a mish-mosh of bleached tripe, hearts, tendons, various other leftover trimmings and, if you’re lucky, a bit of actual meat. Don’t ingest bleached tripe and tendons - don’t get stuck with the opening shift.

I’m an avowed anti-fast-fooder; that place with the big yellow arches being my, personally, most reviled eatery. Not that I’ve never partaken – quite the opposite actually. Ill-timed activities and road trips occasionally created the un-holy union over the years. On the flip side, I’m not some freak food-snob either. I simply expect to eat “real” food, with “real” ingredients, mostly free from chemicals, preservatives, rat droppings, mechanical engineering, and shapely re-constitution efforts.

So, it was with a bit of fanfare and trepidation that I bopped in to Mickey D’s. I was simply starving mid-afternoon, during my Opening shift. I hit up Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendys, McDonalds and the like maybe once a year these days, at most. It’s usually due to some bizarre circumstance where there really isn’t much else to eat.

This was different. I’m horrified. I don’t know whether I’ll live or die as a result of this egregious error in eating choices. That said, it was pretty damned tasty.


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