I applied for work as a waiter
In a family-owned Greek restaurant.
I walked in and the old man looked at me
And said, "What the hell do you want?"
I gave him my resume
As he mopped up some grease on the floor.
He said, "Looks like you've been to college--
Have you ever done dishes before?"
He threw me an apron,
And I looked at his hands and I knew
The only vacation that he'd ever had
Was fighting in World War Two.
He would scream and call me John Lennon
And a moron when I made mistakes.
I wept with rage in the bathroom
During my five-minute breaks.
In the kitchen I cut up pastrami
And made tuna in a ten-gallon vat
As he yelled, "We need some goddamn salami--
John Lennon, imagine that."
I knew I had to get out,
But his deli was all that he knew,
And the flag that hung in the window
Was faded to pink, white, and blue.
Sometimes he called me a moron
In front of the afternoon crowd.
When he did I wanted to kill him;
When he didn't I almost felt proud.
I survived there for three months
'Til one day my apron string snapped.
I announced my two-minute notice,
And he flipped a grilled cheese and just laughed
And said, "John, go save yourself,
'Cause you won't save the world 'til you do."
And I picked up my bookbag,
Looked at that old flag,
And decided to go back to school.