Steven Brykman left medical school to pursue a career writing jokes as Managing Editor of National Lampoon. As a writing fellow at the University of Massachusetts, his fiction was awarded the Harvey Swados prize. His work has appeared in Playboy.com, Cracked, Nerve, and the New Yorker, where he was featured in Talk of the Town. The kind folks at Prairie Home Companion once sent him a check in exchange for some jokes. He has written for/appeared on a bunch of TV shows nobody watched or remembers. He has been thrown out of the Smithsonian Museum and the 2000 Democratic National Convention and has on more than one occasion performed standup comedy naked.
We welcome back star contributor Steve Brykman with this not-so-fond farewell to a true dining disgrace…
A Friendly’s Farewell by Steve Brykman
On the eve of Friendly’s announcing they are filing for bankruptcy and closing stores in Massachusetts, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, let me offer them a little thanks…for nothing! Along with my deepest condolences to all who ever ate there, and my regrets this hadn’t happened a whole lot sooner.
I worked at Friendly’s as a “cook” back in the mid ’80’s, in high school—the one in Lexington across from the Wal-lex bowling alley (now Staples). The level of prolonged disgust I experienced in that kitchen was rivaled only by my first year of medical school, in which I dissected a cadaver and witnessed an autopsy. Not to mention the inexplicable rage we were subjected to on a semi-regular basis, depending on which oversized troll was managing. The place was run by one man, one woman, whose names thankfully escape me now. They were nearly indistinguishable, identifiable only by their name tags. I assumed they were related in some way, though I never figured out exactly how—perhaps brother and sister, or romantically involved, or both.
The seemingly innocuous summer job quickly devolved into an interminable sequence of horrifying moments. (more…)