I used to work at a Subway in a fairly affluent part of Minneapolis, I guess. Yeah, I was a motherfuckin’ sandwich artist. Back when Subway still thought cutting a “U-Gouge” in your loaf of bread was the best way to make a sandwich, instead of just cutting the loaf in half, length-wise, as they do now. Back when Subway gave out “Sub-club” stamps, whereby if you gathered 12, you got a free six inch sub and if you gathered 24, you got a free foot-long. Yes, I just used the word “whereby” again!
SIDE NOTE: The sub-club stamps were numbered so you couldn’t just give the stamps away, but I worked there long enough that I didn’t have to pay for a meal on any of the four or five cross-country trips I took in the following years. Hey…some folks just didn’t collect sub-club stamps…WINK!
Anyway, at this Subway location, I had a fair number of celebrities come in. The local news lady, who I can’t remember her name but was hot enough for one to say “hey, there’s that local news lady”, Jim frickin’ Marshall, he of the Vikings! Jim Marshall is probably, and regrettably, best remembered as the guy who returned a fumble 70 yards in the wrong direction during an NFL football game. I will remember him, however, as he should be properly remembered…as an Ironman of the NFL who played in something like 270 straight games who was a member of one of the all-time best defensive lines: the 1970’s Minnesota Vikings’ “Purple People Eaters”. Then there was Tiny Tim, the ukulele player who was famously married on “The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson”, which I was too young to really remember, but I always knew about. I’m not too young to remember watching Johnny Carson, just too young to remember Tiny Tim getting married on his show. Plus, Johnny Carson was the shit, no matter how young I was.
This is not about any of them, tho. This is about Louie Anderson. The portly comedian from Minneapolis. Louie used to walk up to a microphone stand during his routine and say, “Let me move this so you can see me.” Classic shit. He came into this particular Subway during my shift.
I was in high school at the time, and this was one of my first jobs. As such, I was more beholden to my friends than my employer. One of my best friends was a part of a family that I referred to as “The Poor Kennedys”…they were a large Irish brood who should have had much more but made do with much less. My best friend at the time was the runt of the litter. Probably the coolest, but the runt, no less.
We had a basic agreement. In those days, we looked out for each other. His family was broke as shit. Mine was too. We looked out for one another. On rare occasions, his older sister would come down while I was working and straight up demand a packet of meat for her family. “Do the right fucking thing, Shane!” she would say. There was no gray area with her. I
either helped her family or I didn’t. Friend or foe. I respect that now, but at the time I felt like I was being punked. Not that I didn’t, or don’t, love her…because I do.
My best friend, however, would come down daily and I would hook him up with whatever he wanted. A free sandwich to a fellow comrade isn’t gonna hurt anybody. My homie would usually get his sandwich and read the Minneapolis Star Tribune as he ate. Foot-long Italian sub with extra pickles or some God awful shit. Often times, we would shoot the shit with each other while nobody was in the store, but when there were customers, he would always be respectful and just sit and eat and read the paper. Unless the customers were weirdos, then he’d be sure to make a what-the-fuck face to me behind their backs.
Well, wouldn’t ya know it? One night, my homie sat down with his free foot-long and came and asked for the paper, which we had behind the counter. Of course, I gave it to him. He immediately took out the sports section, set the rest of the paper next to his sandwich in the booth he was occupying, and went into the men’s room. And, I think it’s fair to say, we all know what taking the sports page into the bathroom means.
Then Louie Anderson walked in.
I made Louie’s foot-long sub for him. At the end of the glass “sneeze-guard” that protects the food from the customers, which is ubiquitous in all Subways everywhere, we had a cardboard pop-up on the counter in front of the cash register, promoting whatever deal we were promoting. It was one of those pop-ups that you see everywhere where it was basically a two-sided cardboard pyramid connected by a flush-to-the-countertop base. As Louie Anderson started to grab his wallet, I moved the five-inch high advertisement and said, “Let me move this so I can see you”. Yes…he laughed. Yes…I’m still proud of that.
Louie went and sat down to enjoy his sandwich. He was actually eating it in the store.
Now, my buddy’s sister…the one who used to come down and demand packets of meat…was a HUGE Louie Anderson fan. He was her favorite comedian. I knew this. After a beat or two, I went and knocked on the bathroom door and whispered to my friend, “Dude, Louie Anderson is here”.
Almost immediately, my friend opened up the bathroom door and came out. I quickly scurried back behind the sandwich assembly line at this point. My buddy came over and asked for a napkin and a pen.
My friend walked over to Louie Anderson and politely told him how his sister was a huge fan and asked for his autograph. Mr. Anderson kindly obliged. My homeboy came back over by me at the cash register to show off his gift for his sister.
At that exact point, Louie got up and started heading for the men’s room. My homeboy’s face went dead-white flush. He looked at me, aghast and ashamed and said:
“I didn’t flush”.
I couldn’t take it! I lost it. I started laughing my ass off. Louie Anderson came out of the men’s room, stopped, and with PERFECT FUCKING COMEDIC TIMING, looked at my friend…wagged his finger at him…and walked out laughing to himself.
Louie Anderson knows his shit.