De Amerikaanse schrijver, humorist en criticus Joe Queenan werd geboren op 3 november 1950 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Zie ook mijn blog van 3 november 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Joe Queenan op dit blog.
Uit: Closing Time
“Next door to us lived a man my father always called Tex because he was tall, fat, blustery, and not terribly quick on the draw, though he was not actually from Texas. I suppose it was Tex who provided transport. My father’s mutilated fingers got patched up; he was given some painkillers; he returned home in great pain. He had been drinking heavily before he caught his fingers in the door, and he was certainly drinking heavily afterward.
At the time, my father was employed as a truck driver for a company called Bachman Pretzels. His job was to deliver boxes of potato chips, pretzels, and other savory snacks to supermarkets and grocery stores all over the Delaware Valley. The job didn’t pay well and wasn’t leading anywhere, but it was better than the ones he had held recently, and much better than the ones he would have later. His salary, which amounted to slightly more than the minimum wage, was not enough to support a family of six, which is why my mother, after a sixteen-year hiatus, would soon return the workforce, corralling a job as a credit manager at the hospital, where my father had been treated. This was the hospital where I had been born thirteen years earlier, the year the Reds invaded South Korea.
Every workday, my father would rise at six-thirty in the morning, shave, dress, then grab a trolley and two buses to the company warehouse several miles away. There he would load his truck and set out on his travels. His route was picturesque and varied, though not especially glamorous. A good number of his accounts were the wholesome, reliable A&P supermarkets that could then be found on half the street corners in America. He also serviced a number of tiny, not especially profitable independent grocery stores in South Philadelphia and several of the cavernous Center City automats operated by the Horn & Hardart company, an iconic chain that was once ubiquitous but is now forgotten. His job was to replace packages that had been sold since his last visit, remove merchandise that had passed its expiration date, and use guile, subterfuge, charm, or whatever delicate forms of intimidation he could muster to persuade his clients to give exotic new products a try. One of these cutting-edge novelties was the now-famous cheese curl, an audacious midcentury innovation whose triumph over entrenched municipal resistance to anything ” hoity-toity” was by no means a foregone conclusion at the time.”
Joe Queenan (Philadelphia, 3 november 1950)