For Here or to Go: Life in the Service Industry: Edited by Leah Ryan, 196 pgs. By Josh

Jun 05, 2007

            Unless they’ve had a monumental lucky streak or know how to live off the land, most people have worked crappy jobs. Mopping floors. Cooking chicken wings. Cleaning poop out of urinals in casinos. Delivering pizzas. Menial jobs for low wages. Most of us look forward to the day when we no longer have to work those crappy jobs. For Here or to Go is, as you may have guessed, a look back at some of those crappy jobs. Some of them are out-and-out short stories, some of them come across as a string of enjoyable anecdotes, and there are a few brief interviews with random workers. For me, the interviews don’t really fit in, not because the people have nothing to say but because the interviews are so short that they seem like more of an afterthought. At any rate, the book succeeds because it’s so matter of fact. There’s no righteous Communist rhetoric about the toil and the suffering of the people, they don’t try and paint themselves as martyrs just because they’ve had to deliver pizzas, and it’s definitely not a hard-hitting, Current Affair-style exposé. It’s like listening to a friend who has logged a lot of hours in restaurants and really knows how to tell a story. If you’re currently working a crappy job, it’ll cheer you up to know that somebody, somewhere, has it just as bad as you, and if you’re not currently working a crappy job, it’ll make you very thankful for that. –Josh (Garrett County Press, 828 Royal St. #248, New Orleans, LA 70116)