On the Attack With the Fighting Russian Girlfriends

Pamela Toler’s Women Warriors: An Unexpected History highlights lesser-known  women who have gone into battle, such as Maria Vasilyevna Oktiabrskaya, a Russian mechanic in World War II who drove a tank christened “The Fighting Girlfriend.”

The American Scholar, April 23, 2019

Oktiabrskaya:  “I will crush you like bug just to watch juice run out.”


This new group of girl tank drivers, I do not know if they are tough enough to repel the Nazi threat.  In old times, girl tank drivers underwent rigorous training regimen.  We would crawl through obstacle courses lined with the worst of the male sex: men who would tell you they would call, then when you see them on the street three months later they offer lame excuse like “I lost number!” or worse–“I have been neglecting our friendship, let’s do lunch sometime.”  Fat chance.

No, these new girls, they do not know what we went through, the first cohort of recruits for the elite tank corps, The Fighting Girlfriends.  We formed a tough sorority of case-hardened galskis, such that the Nazis were no match for us.  What did we care for their crummy Panzer Corps, with their lightening-fast “blitzkrieg” tactics?  Ha–they must have gotten the idea for “lightening fast” from their lousy performance in bed!

“You brought me . . . flowers to make up?  You only make me laugh, comrade!”


We had seen it all, and done it all.  We had been exposed to the most toxic forms of male behavior and, like Mithridates of Pontus, had developed an immunity to them.  The guy who brings a $5-off-lower-priced-entree coupon on the first date?  Been there, done that.  The fellow who tries to brush you off with “It’s not you–it’s me”?  Water off a goose’s back to us.  And how about the dinkskis who tell you after eighteen months of going out that they need to “find themselves.”  Yes, please get lost, then find yourself.

I line the girls up for inspection, and see that I have my work cut out for me.  There is not a one of them that has that killer instinct in her eyes.  Probably they have been hanging out with “nice” guys at liberal arts colleges, weasel-like men who flit between English and Comparative Literature majors like bees sampling pollen, unsure of themselves, wanting to be “friends,” listening to soft rock and folk music, incapable of breaking a girl’s heart.

“Does this T-28B turret tank with gun stabilization make me look fat?”


“Atten-tion!” I shout, but they don’t snap to attention–too busy checking for split ends.  I amble up to the worst ditz in the bunch and get right up in her imported fake eyelashes.  “Did you join the Red Army to see the world?”

“No, I joined because I had to, I received a notice in the mail and . . .”


She is taken aback by my gale-force fury, and corrects her posture to something resembling–in a vaguely-remote sort of way–attention.

“That’s better,” I say, then–with my hands behind my back in an attitude of thoughtful sadism–I begin to lecture them.  “You have been placed in my hands–you with your fresh, unused minds–to be molded into vicious tank drivers capable of crushing a kitten if it gets between you and a Nazi machine gun nest.”

A willowy blonde raises her hand.  “Yes?”

“Why do machine guns have nests?  Do they lay eggs in them?”

Hoo boy.  Looks like two years into the Leningrad-Novgorod Offensive the military draft is scraping the bottom of the I.Q. barrel.

“Yes, my dear, they lay their eggs in trees, up where our tanks can’t get at them.”

“Oh,” she says, as if that facetious nonsense is sufficient to put her brain back to sleep.

“As I was saying, my job is to make you into a merciless brood of vipers, with no feelings for the men of the world.  For the greater glory of the Soviet Union, you must become Fighting Girlfriends.”

“I miss my boyfriend,” Ditz #1 says.  I can’t help but snort a little blast of contempt out my nostrils.

“Oh, you ‘miss’ him–do you?”

“Yes–a lot.”

“What part do you miss the most.  The part where he leaves the toilet seat up?”

“We do not have indoor plumbing in Glazok.”

“I see.  Well, how about the part where he demands sex from you six nights a week?”

“We have sheep for that.”

Hmm.  It’s harder getting through to her than I thought.  “Well, uh, how about when he criticizes your tank-driving, and grabs the steering wheel to take over?”

“I like it when a man drives,” Ditz #2 says.  “It makes me feel special.”

“What is your name?” I snap.

She takes a deep breath, then says “Anastasia Yastrzhembsky Khristorozhdestvensky.”

“I do not think you are cut out for the Fighting Girlfriend Tank Corps,” I say without malice, only brutal realism.

“Why not?”

“Because your name is too long to fit through the overhead tank hatch.”


“Whole Language” Yuppies Move In, and Phonics Junkies Are Forced Out

BOSTON.  The neighborhood here known as the South End has historically been a transitional stop on the way up–or down–the social ladder.  “We got the winos and junkies who lost their last best hope of realizing the American Dream,” says long-time bar owner Michael “Mickey” Flaherty, “and then we got the freshly-minted MBA’s who work long hours and can’t afford the suburbs yet, or ‘yuppie scum’ as I affectionately refer to them.”

Boston’s South End


The clash between those on the rise and those who have fallen off the treadmill of the American economy has been exacerbated of late by a different dimension of assessment besides education and income, however; younger residents who learned to read by the “whole language” method, which allows children to select their own reading matter and emphasizes recognition of words in everyday contexts so that teachers can have more and longer breaks, and older residents who learned to read through phonics, a form of corporal punishment inflicted by sadistic instructors that actually works.

“If you can read this sign you probably took phonics.”


“It’s sad to see what happened to my older brother,” says Nora Gilson, who at the age of 60 harkens back to the watershed point when elementary school teachers gave up on phonics and turned to whole language instruction because they were tired of drumming syllable sounds into impressionable young heads.  “He learned to read, and now can’t watch television for thirty seconds without turning it off in disgust.”

“Listen, pal–if you pronounce it ‘ven-TIE’ one more time I’m throwing you outta here.”


The addictive power of phonics has led to an underground black market in “Hooked on Phonics” tapes, which phonics “junkies” use to “shoot up” in dark alleys so narrow that quotation marks are often scraped off of words that pass through them.  “It’s a real shibboleth,” says Armand St. Gregoire, a professor of linguistics the University of Massachusetts-Seekonk campus, referring to the word used to distinguish Gileadites from Ephraimites in Biblical times.  “A yuppie will walk into Starbucks and pronounce v-e-n-t-i as ‘VEN-tea’ because they know the culture while some homeless guy will say ‘ven-TIE’ and get thrown out of the place.”

“Will read your homeowner’s insurance policy for food.”


The scars that phonics leaves on its victims are worn as badges of pride by some, who point out that whole language learners are more likely to watch “The Bachelorette” or think Marcel Proust is a goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs.  “Sure I coulda been successful and spend all my time in airports and lobbies watching drivel on TV screens,” says a man in a green “snorkel” coat who identifies himself only as “Marty.”  “But then I wouldn’t have the satisfaction of making fun of the guys on SportsCenter.”

For Freedonian Bob Dylan, Oxygen is Blowing in the Wind

MUSZRKLIA, Freedonia.  As he looks back on a career that spans a half-century, Durz Nikolaj laughs and shakes his head at the transformation he’s undergone.  “I was a nice Byellorussian boy who wanted to grow up to join the Freedonian space program.  My dad owned an appliance store,” he says wistfully.  “I was no good at leveling washers, dryers and refrigerators and there was no money for college, so I decided to become a folksinger.”

Image result for folk singer 50s
“How many roads must a man walk down, before he reaches 17th Street?”


And so he did, hitchhiking to this city, the artistic capital of Freedonia, where he scuffled for several years playing in blznikas, small coffee houses that offered him a venue in which he could hone his craft–without pay other than a free meal–in imitation of his hero, American folk singer Bob Dylan.

“When I hear him first time, top of my mind blows off!” Nikolaj says.  “I resolve to be like him–his father own appliance store, my father own appliance store.  Maybe I could bed cool chick like Joan Baez.”

But Nikolaj’s mimicry, while sincere, failed in one important respect; because of his halting knowledge of English, he didn’t realize that many of Dylan’s most stirring images were metaphors, metonyms or other figures of speech.  “In translation Nikolaj’s lyrics come across as flat,” says rock critic Miles Snibor of Earworm magazine.  “That’s because the dude took too many science courses.  He just doesn’t get it.”

Image result for joan baez bob dylan
“Free-do-nia, Free-do-nia, they call the place–Freedonia.”


And so Nikolaj’s homage to one of Dylan’s best-known songs, “Blowin’ in the Wind,” is an unfortunate triumph of the literal over the figurative as the hard sciences he picked up at the Gymnasium dos Blurzkag taint the fertile images of his American inspiration.  “What is the composition of the earth’s atmosphere,” he sings soulfully to a crowd of greying bohemians who’ve followed his career through his eponymous first album to his 2014 6-CD retrospective, “The answer my friend, is nitrogen, oxygen, argon and carbon dioxide, the answer is these four gases.”

A similar disjunction is to be found in Nikolaj’s knock-off versions of Dylan’s protest songs, such as “It’s a Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.”  “It’s a soft, it’s a soft, it’s a soft, it’s a soft–it’s a soft rain’s gonna fall, without calcium, magnesium and certain other ions.”

Image result for dylan in worcester
“This one’s going out to my good buddy . . . uh . . . Durz Ni-ko-lash.  Or something.”


A trip to the United States in search of the King of American folk music he loves so much ended in frustration after Nikolaj visited Worcester, Mass. based on a copy of Rolling Stone which said the Hibbing, Minnesota native would be playing there on May 16th.  Unfortunately, the issue was more than a decade old, the most recent copy of the music magazine that he found in his dentist’s waiting room.  “This is unfair!” Nikolaj shouted when security guards blocked his entrance to the Zipper Hospital Centrum in the Industrial Abrasives Capital of the World.  “I come all the way from Freedonia, could I at least get t-shirt?”

Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Hail, Freedonia!”

Little Sisters of Chardonnay Bring Hope to Bibulous Babes

BOSTON.  On Friday night, Quincy Market here is ground zero for New England’s dating scene, with many singles driving in from less-populous areas to increase their chances of finding love, or at least a mate.  “The guys in my town, I’ve dated them all,” says Cindy Scarafucci from Paxton, a town in central Massachusetts whose population is under 5,000.  “And that includes a couple that aren’t great prospects because of outmoded incest laws.”

Quincy Market, Boston


Here, by contrast, there is a constant flow of eligible bachelors, and so the bar stools fill up early with made-up women who eye the men who enter as if they were so many discounted sweaters on sale in the finer women’s clothing stores downtown.  “I think I can get a pretty good idea of a guy’s personality from what some would consider superficial indicators,” says Adrienne Wycoff, an actuary for Modern Moosehead Insurance Company.  “Is he neat, well-dressed, polite, funny–and willing to spend twelve bucks on a glass of wine for me?”

“Keep ’em coming, bartender.”


But on the fringes of the scene, one group of women looks out of place: six nuns who survey the patrons of the numerous bars as if they were crippled children in a hospital, or starving lepers on the streets of Calcutta.  “Well, we’ve got our work cut out for us tonight,” says the apparent leader, Sister Mary Mark Fidrych.  “Let’s split up, we can save more souls that way.”

The nuns are members of the world’s only religious order devoted to the minds and bodies of yuppie women drinkers, the Little Sisters of Chardonnay.  “It’s tragic,” says Sister Carmelo Anthony.  “So many of these girls–and they really are just overgrown girls–will wake up tomorrow with puffy faces, or worse, a social disease.  We try to teach them to say ‘when,’ and also ‘no.'”

“So I said ‘Don’t spoil your dinner with all those Pizza-flavored goldfish, missy!'”


The sisters minister both to Catholics and to those who are not members of the One True Church, as they like to refer to the faith they were brought up in.  “It’s something I’m called to do,” says Sister Mary Joseph DiMaggio.  “Why should I deny a young woman the benefits of my religious training just because she belongs to some heathen sect like the Presbyterians?”

The sisters’ gentle technique is on display as DiMaggio spots Suzanne Fleischer, a blonde bank vice president, complaining to friends at her table that she wants to lose her “love handles” by swimsuit season, which is only six weeks away.  “I don’t know what it is,” Fleischer says.  “I’ve tried Jenny Craig, aerobics, spinning–nothing works.”

“She thinks she’ll lose weight drinking ‘lite’ beer.”


“Excuse me,” DiMaggio says in a soft voice that contains no hint of admonishment.  “I couldn’t help overhearing you.”

Fleischer turns and gives the nun a skeptical look, but softens when she sees DiMaggio’s warm smile and open demeanor.

“I’m sorry, I guess I was talking kind of loud,” Fleischer says.

“I just want you to know that Our Lord cares about your ‘muffin tops,’ and in his bounty he has provided for women like you who like to drink but want to stay slim.”

“He has?” Fleischer asks incredulous.  “I don’t remember that from Sunday school.”

“What are you drinking?” DiMaggio says as she takes the last open seat.

“I always ask for an oaky chardonnay,” Fleischer says.

“She said a prayer, crossed herself–and then she was gone.”


“So you like that ‘buttery’ feel?”

“Umm-hmm,” Fleischer says with a nod and a satisfied look.

“Let us pray,” says DiMaggio, and the three women exchange surprised looks but bow their heads.  “Dear Lord, Pray for your daughter . . . what’s your name, dear?”


“Susan, that she may lay off high sugar wines that cause her to bulge out of her panty hose, and develop a taste for ‘dry’ varietals such as pinot grigio and Sauvignon blanc.  Also, just a splash of sparkling water in your wine to make it a ‘spritzer’ can really help.  Amen.”

“Amen,” the three woman say in response, and one notices a tear forming in the eye of the woman who is the principal object of the nun’s mercy.

“Thank you, sister,” Fleischer says.  “No one’s ever cared about me like that.  I don’t know how to thank you,” she says as she starts to remove her checkbook from her purse.

“Make it out to ‘Little Sisters of Chardonnay,'” the nun says, “and next Friday night?”


“Don’t come down here in your high-slit skirt and come-fuck-me pumps.”

Fallen Women 101

A group of 50 academics has urged the Rhode Island legislature not to ban indoor prostitution, which is legal in that state.

                                                       The Boston Herald

I was sitting at my desk, trying to come up with a lesson plan for tomorrow’s class, and getting nowhere. Kids these days were so easily distracted, so blase–it was impossible to get their attention and keep it for 55 minutes three times a week, or 85 minutes for a Tuesday-Thursday schedule.

Nobody likes to teach the common core courses, but somebody has to. I didn’t design the freaking curriculum here at St. Mary Magdalene’s College (mascot: The Hookers), but if I’m ever going to get tenure I have to do an introductory survey class every semester while the old farts on the faculty handle the upper-level seminars like “Sociopolitical Aspects of Common Nightwalking” and ”Garish Fashion Design Colloquium,” where you get two, maybe three students at most. Nice work if you can get it.

I leaned back in my chair and closed my eyes. We were bogged down, like the Greeks, in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian Wars. It is a classic, but you can hear classics any day of the week on Oldies 106.7, the kids say, so why read a book?

Thucydides: Why the long face?


I was just about to throw in the towel when I heard a knock at my door. Like all professors here, I’m required to maintain office hours to help students with problems, so I’m at my desk every fourth Tuesday of months without an “r” in them from 10:30 to 11:00 p.m. It’s the least I can do for the poverty-level wages they pay gypsy professors like me.

“Come in,” I called.

“A hundred pages of required reading tonight? No way!”


A woman and a man, flamboyantly dressed, appeared at the threshold. “Professor Litz?” the woman, barely out of her teens, squeaked hesitantly.

“That would be me–I was about to close up shop but if you have a question about the syllabus, I can . . .”

“Actually, we ain’t in yo class,” the man said.

Double your pleasure with a National Honor Society President and Treasurer two-some.


“Well, the course is closed at this point. I can put you on the waiting list for next semester or I could . . .”

“Get a load of this, doc,” the man said to me, and then to the woman “Show him what you got, Amber.”

The woman approached my desk chair and straddled it, stuffing her ample bosom into my face. My pipe dropped to the floor, spilling hot shreds of tobacco on her platform heel-encased left foot.

“Yow,” she said, shaking her leg as she did so.

“No rough stuff,” the man said. “I got to protect my investment. Besides, plain vanilla, garden-variety pedagogy is your best prostitution value.”

The woman began to massage the leather elbow patches on my tweed jacket. It felt good–really good–in a way that my wife Clytemnestra could never match, not in a million years of reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover or Andrew Marvel’s To His Coy Mistress.

”Ungh,” I groaned, and I meant it.

“Thass just a little taste, man,” the man said. “You want the real thing I need to see some cash.”

I wanted to walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Amber’s mammary glands. My rod and my staff needed comforting.

“How much?” I asked, fearing the answer would be beyond the means of a poor adjunct professor.

“A hundred bucks an hour,” he replied.

“Ouch,” was all I could say.

“I’m sorry,” Amber said, her lips forming into a sensuous, coquettish moue.

“What’s a moue?” her pimp asked.  Apparently he could hear my interior monologue.

“A little grimace, or a pout. It’s French.”

“You want anything French, it’s gonna cost you extra,” he said.

“Listen–there’s no way I can pay what you’re asking,” I said. “I can barely afford to take my wife to free folk dancing on Friday nights.”

The man looked me over, and emitted a little snort of contempt. Amber got off my lap and straightened her skimpy outfit. They were moving on to the next “john,” even though my name is “Evan.”

“Wait,” I said as they brushed past my compact Oxford English Dictionary, almost knocking the reading glass to the ground. “I’ve got something that’s better than money.”

They turned around and were all ears, except for Amber’s humongous ta-ta’s.

“What you got?” the man asked, clearly skeptical.

“I . . . I can get you into my Introduction to the Literature of Prostitution class–and give you both straight A’s!”

The man gave me a steely, disgusted gaze. “C’mon Amber,” he said after a moment that seemed like a minute. “This guy thinks we’re a couple a cheap whores.”

My Gall Bladder is Really Warm Today

The English phrase “Nice to see you” translates into “My gall bladder is really warm today” in Berik, a language of New Guinea.

                                                    What Language Is, John McWhorter

I’ve never been very good at small talk, I just don’t have the ”gift of gab.”  But I know I’ve got to get better at it if I’m going to advance within Conglomerated Widgetek, the world-wide leader in whatever it is we make.

I did what career coaches say is essential for advancement up the ladder of a multinational corporation; when a promotion became available in a far-flung outpost of our empire, I jumped at the chance.  I’m single, so I didn’t have to uproot my family, and I knew it would help me leapfrog ahead of guys like Dwight Van de Velde, a brown-noser of the first water who I had to listen to yapping to his skanky girlfriend on the phone in the next cubicle over for two years in Keokuk, Iowa, where we have our test labs.

But it hasn’t been easy getting acclimated to the American scene after ten years in Papua, New Guinea.  When I left in the summer of 2004, the Red Sox hadn’t won a World Series in 86 years.  Now I find out they’ve won it four times!  And I bought a bunch of pleated slacks that are now totally out of style!

I’ve got to get back in the swing of things, so tonight I’m going to a networking event at the Marriott Hotel.  Press the flesh, trade some business cards, maybe even meet a nice woman!  Hey, you never know–it could happen.

I plunk down my $25, get my name tag, fasten it to my left lapel so that people can get a good look at it when they shake hands with me, then begin the uncomfortable–but absolutely necessary!–task of greeting my first stranger, a loser–I mean–up and coming business-type like myself.

“Hi there!” I say with enthusiasm, establishing eye contact and extending my hand prepared to grip-and-grin with alacrity.  “Ed Dworpkin, Conglomerated Widgetek!”

“Mike Bluverski, Sheehan, Flark & Greunberg, Councillors at Law.”

Luck of the draw–I had to pick a lawyer, the least desirable type in the room.

White is all right between Labor and Memorial Days in the Southern Hemisphere.

“What kind of business are you in?” he asks.  Desperate for a client is my guess.

“My company makes high-speed pneumatic and electronic widgets for commercial and industrial applications,” I say, repeating the first line of my “elevator speech.”  “We have sales offices in over forty-eleven countries.  How ’bout you?” I say, hoping to get this tete-a-tete done and move on to a more profitable one.

“We’re personal injury lawyers,” he says, scratching his nose.  “We typically sue companies like yours, but we’re always willing to change sides.”

“Well, suing somebody is no way to win friends,” I say with a hale-fellow-well-met sort of cheer.  “Gotta run–my gall bladder is really warm today!” I say as I shake his hand.

The shyster looks at me as if I’m a fly in his Miller Lite Beer, but I’m already on to my next prospect, a tall, silver-haired guy who looks like what central casting would send you if you asked for a CEO.

“Ed Dworpkin, Conglomerated Widgetek,” I say, a big you-know-what-eating grin on my face.

The guy shakes my outstreched hand.  “Morris Dane–Superior Flange & Hasp,” he says.  That’s more like it, I say to myself.  Flange and hasp makers are the biggest customers for widgets, domestically and internationally.

“What kind of quality controls do you have at Conglomerated?” he asks, giving me the opening of a lifetime.

“We’re Six Sigma, ISO-certified and Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval,” I say, taking my handkerchief out of my pocket just in case I’m watering at the mouth.  “Also, Underwriters Laboratory.”

“Gee, that’s great,” he says.  “But when I establish a relationship with somebody, I want to know that the person I’m dealing with is level-headed, stable–somebody who’s not just in it for the commission, and will jump ship for a bigger paycheck across the street.”

“Oh, that’s me all right.  Been with the company all around the world!”

He cracks a smile, and I think I may just have made a sale, if I can s-l-o-w-l-y reel him in.  “How ’bout those Celtics?” he says, touching upon sports, the one subject–other than politics and revenge–that is dear to all New Englanders’ hearts.

“They’re two up on the Pacers, but I don’t think they’re going all the way.  Man, the gastric secretions from my spleen get ripe when I think about this year’s NBA draft!”

Dane seems to be–ill all of a sudden.

“Yes, well.  Maybe you should see a doctor about that,” he says with a distracted air as he looks over my shoulder.  “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go try some of that shrimp.  Nice to meet you.”

“My gall bladder is really warm today!”

I try to shake his hand, but he’s off like a shot.  Sales are funny.  Just when you think you’ve got a hot prospect, they turn cool on you.

I amble over to the cash bar and order a beer, when I detect the most heavenly fragrance wafting up to my nostrils from my right.  I turn my head slowly and see the most gorgeous creature I’ve ever laid eyes on.  Blond hair, blue eyes, blue eye shadow–lots of it, just like I like ‘em.

She gives me a smile, but I can’t tell whether it’s a “I’m networking” or “I’m looking for love” expression.  It’s a good thing I came prepared.

I reach discreetly into my briefcase and pull out my penis sheath gourd, a handy dating tool I picked up in New Guinea to telegraph to eligible females just how strong and sexy I am, how I’m capable of giving them the many, many children that I know women are just dying to have!

“Eek!” she cries.

“What is it?” I ask urgently, hoping to play the role of rescuer of a damsel-in-distress.  “A mouse?”

“No–more like a snake.”

I look under the buffet table–nothing.  I scout the room and, when I turn around, I see her, running away.  I also notice that everyone is looking at me with, as John Keats would say, a wild surmise.

“What?” I say, genuinely perplexed.  “I was just trying to help that nice young lady.”

“What company did you say you were with?”  It’s the lawyer again.

“Conglomerated Widgetek,” I say.

“So that’s what a widget is,” he says.  “I always wondered.”


Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Let’s Get Primitive.”

Tiger’s Masters Win Unites Nation, Except for Pancake House Waitresses

AUGUSTA, Ga.  It was a win for the ages and one that, against all odds, seemed to unite a country riven by deep partisan divisions.  Coming back from divorce, an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol and a decline in his golfing skills that dropped his world ranking below 1,000, Tiger Woods rallied to win his fifth Masters Tournament Sunday, leaving even long-time detractors teary-eyed at his uniquely American tale of redemption.

Lawton:  Get a load of that stack of flapjacks!


But one occupational group isn’t joining in the celebration: pancake house waitresses.  “As far as I’m concerned, he can go crap in his hat,” said Mary Ann Delvecchio of Intergalactic House of Pancakes in Brighton, Mass.  “That’s always the way it is, the guy rides off into the sunset, the pancake house waitress is left behind with nothing but regret and maybe a lousy 15% tip.”

Delvecchio is referring to Woods’ fling with Mindy Lawton, an $8 an hour waitress at a Perkins restaurant in the Orlando suburb of Windemere, Florida.  “I was shocked,” says Dining Out Magazine editor Floyd Nullit.  “I always thought of Perkins as a fast-casual restaurant that serves breakfast throughout the day.  I had no idea it was a steaming cauldron of sexual mischief that sold pastries on the side.”

“Are you ready to order, or are you dead?”


According to the United States Department of Labor a “pancake house waitress” is a waitress who works in a restaurant that serves pancakes.  It is considered a lower-caste position by restaurant hostesses and wait staff in upscale restaurants, where professional golfers routinely tip 18%, even 20% on their bills, not excluding tax.  “In a pancake house, you figure, it’s not dinner, it’s just breakfast,” says Nullit.  “A gal is lucky to get a 15% tip, to get up to the standard 18% she’s going to have to do something really special.”

Forget it–nobody likes that stuff.


Pancake house waitresses are not unionized but a trade association–the National Association of Pancake House Waitresses–lobbies Congress and state legislatures on their behalf.  “Our big initiative for 2019 is the elimination of parsley garnish,” says executive director Carl Flemstrand.  “Nobody eats it, but our members have to recycle it as kale for vegans.”