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The Steak Lady Sizzles

Dec 18, 1995
Kimmy Sophia Brown
During the summer I took a job with a company that sells steak, chicken and seafood door to door. I was issued a truck and a freezer and began my career as the Meat Queen. Our income had been lean, but I was chicken to sell. The pitch was fishy, I knew I would need to beef it up. It had been a long time since we had lived high on the hog.

So flow the jokes in the meat industry -- at least the ones fit to print. I began each morning attending a sales meeting. A lone woman among 15 guys who smoked like tailpipes in a traffic jam on a winter day. It was ridiculous to wash my hair in the morning and dab Diorissimo on my wrists and ears. I smelled like a nicotine-smoked ham as soon as I got out of there.

The guys were nice though - hard working guys with good hearts. One of my first days, they sent me out to train with another new employee, a guy I'll call Fabio. He was a young man from Europe in his early twenties, smolderingly handsome. He had warm, limpid eyes and an Elvis haircut -- handsome from every angle. I told him so.

I said, "Gee didn't anybody ever ask you to model or act? You're pretty handsome." Fabio said, "Sure, I got asked lots of times, but I don't want to." He shrugged and puffed his cigarettes as we careened along the country roads. I had the advantage of being almost old enough to be his mother, so it wasn't embarrassing to say that to him. I thought if I had been 18 in the same circumstances, I would have been mute with awe. As it was, I had the security of being in love with my husband and still got to admire this human art-form for an entire day. But why was this walking cover of GQ interested in peddling T-bones door to door? Inquiring minds want to know! He told me later he wanted to do it for the challenge. And a challenge it was!

The momentum of the job was frenzied. We'd pull the truck up in front of a house, beep the horn in case of dogs, jump out, and smile winningly at the folks at the door. Then a quick pitch, not giving them time to respond, leaping into the back of the truck and hauling out a couple of cases from the freezer, heavy as lead headstones. "See ma'am?" Then we'd shuffle the steaks real pretty, like a deck of cards. "See Ma'am? Lean, boneless and tasty. Mmm mmm good. Can't you smell the charcoal already?"

After 8 hours of that, and driving back to the office in the dark, I was totally drained. A mere husk of a woman.

Some of my co-workers were earning very big money. They could haul three cases into a house, give an absolutely poetic pitch from the heart, and earn enough money to pay all their bills, buy sports cars and take vacations in exotic places. This company paid their employees with cash nightly, and they sold a quality product.

But I had barriers making it in the meat business. There were my weekly chiropractic adjustments with attached bills. The fact that I hate selling. And the realization that meat has become less and less appealing to me as I've gotten older. Peter and I have been long considering going vegetarian if I could figure out how to cook seaweed and soybeans.

I finally realized I wasn't enjoying the job despite the amenities. Although I liked the guys and the company, I knew it was time to gracefully wave good-bye and turn in my truck. It had gotten so that every time I tried to make a pitch, a montage of images ranging from a grazing cow to a shrink-wrapped slab of meat, would pass before my eyes. I simply lost my appetite for it. You could say I got burned at the steak!

Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.

She writes the column "From the Back Porch" as well as reviews of music in her column "MusicViews". Her goal in her music reviews is to introduce music she loves to people who may not have heard that particular artist or CD. For information about how to submit a CD for review, click here.

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