August 29, 2005

The Warehouse — The Jokesters

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:40 pm

Tires stacked.jpgAs you may know from a previous post, I spent a couple college summers in the sixties working at a large warehouse for a major tire manufacturer. It was a physically demanding job that was done by a handful of hard Jersey men. I was affectionately known as the “college puke.”

One of the things the guys did in order to deal with the fatigue and tedium that often were part of a day’s work was to mercilessly ride one another and to play jokes, which would be laughed about for days and which invariably provided the grist for future derision. Notably, the jokes, such as the following, were not limited to the employees.

We had a driver for a tire dealer in Pennsylvania who would drive the dealer’s truck to the Warehouse a couple times per week to pick up a load of tires. His name was “Baldy.” No kidding. That’s what he called himself, and he even signed the bills of lading as “Baldy” (Something I now know must have driven the lawyers nuts).

It was break time on a hot summer day, and everyone (including Baldy who had to wait for us to load his truck) had gotten something to drink from the lunch truck that made the rounds of the local factories and warehouses. Some guys also bought something to eat. As we were sitting on the shipping dock, the subject turned to good places to eat and good food, and to the best of my recollection, went something like this:

Baldy: “Hey, I know of a place in Jersey that makes a great sandwich.”

Frenchy: (A Jersey guy, but he had a French last name — ergo “Frenchy”) “What the f**k do you know, Baldy? You’re from f**kin’ Pennsylvania.”

Baldy: “F**k you, Frenchy. I’ve been drivin’ in Jersey for years. I probably know more about this f**kin’ state than you do.”

Frenchy: “OK Mr. Smart Guy. Listen, everybody. F**kin’ Baldy is gonna tell us all where to get a good sandwich.”

Baldy: “You know where Route 17 and Route 4 come together there around Paramus?”

The Guys: “Yeah.”

Baldy: “Well, there’s a guy there who sells food from a trailer. You know da guy I mean?”

Frenchy: “Yeah, I know the guy. He’s been there for years. Sells hot dogs and shit.”

Baldy: “He don’t just sell hot dogs. He makes a sandwich you guys gotta try someday.”

The Guys: “Fer Chrissakes, Baldy, what kind of sandwich is it?”

Baldy: “Da guy fries little pieces of green pepper, then he dumps a scrambled egg over the peppers and fries them up together, while he is toasting the hard roll. When the egg and peppers are done, he puts them on the toasted hard roll with a little butter. It’s f**kin’ delicious.”

Frenchy: “You mean he actually fries the egg and the peppers together and then makes a sandwich out of it?”

Baldy: “Yeah, and it’s f**kin’ terrific. You oughta try one.”

Frenchy: (with a noticeable gleam in his eye) “Waddya call that sandwich, Baldy?”

Baldy: “Waddya mean, what do I call the sandwich?”

Frenchy: “Just what I said. Waddya call that f**kin’ sandwich? A hamburger?”

Baldy: “No, it’s a pepper and egg sandwich.”

The Guys: (Massive guffaws, accompanied by calling Baldy a Pennsylvania asshole and much worse)

Baldy had stepped in the trap and paid the price.

The good news is that everybody liked Baldy, and he laughed along with us (of course, after calling us all “assholes”). For the rest of the summer, every time Baldy showed up, took a ration of shit about the gourmet delight, which, but for his “discovery,” would have remained unknown to the Garden State and quite possibly the rest of the world – the pepper and egg sandwich.

When it came to jokes, the guys didn’t cut the “College Puke” any slack, but that’s a story for another day.


  1. When I lived in Chicago, I had some issues with the food. The pizza is great, but Chicagoans are missing out on the perfect breakfast when you’re on the run: the buttered roll. In fact, you can’t even get proper hard rolls in that town. The closest they have is the kaiser roll, a shoddy imitation covered in poppy seeds.

    Comment by marydell — August 29, 2005 @ 9:14 pm

  2. It must be a Jersey thing because I confess that I don’t get it.

    Comment by Craig — August 30, 2005 @ 8:15 am

  3. Huh? Peppers and eggs are served on crusty rolls in any decent pizzeria in Queens. I love peppers & eggs. We’re probably the only Montanans who eat pepperoni & eggs for breakfast – yum. . .

    Yes, the buttered roll as breakfast – wonderful!
    I tried explaining this to my MT husband. He already knows that I’m strange.

    The best was when I was somewhere upstate NY & a friend asked for an egg on a roll. The waitress looked baffled. She returned with a fried egg on top of a cinnamon roll.

    Comment by moos — August 30, 2005 @ 1:45 pm

  4. Craig,

    Maybe it is a Jersey Thing, and maybe you had to be there. Anyway, it would be as if some guy from New York City was telling ol’ Sarpy Sam about some really “great animals” he had just “discovered” down the road that “…were big and black with horns and all, and they were eating grass! You won’t believe your eyes! You gotta check them out!” To which Sam would have said, “Waddya call them animals? Giraffes?”

    I hope that helps.

    Comment by Jim - Parkway Rest Stop — August 30, 2005 @ 1:50 pm

  5. Jimbo,
    You’re killin me. An egg & pepper sandwich is merely the thing of dreams out here in Denver.

    I’d also commit mayhem for a simple buttered hard roll with my second cup of coffee.

    PS to Moos
    A buddy of mine went down to Virginia Beach and asked for a hard roll at breakfast. The confused waitress came back in a minute and said “I’m sorry Sir, we only have fresh rolls”

    Comment by Mark Reardon — August 30, 2005 @ 2:01 pm

  6. Jimbo been eating peppers & eggs for ever. I kind of like them on a italian roll but you have to pull out the center…. chef of da future

    Comment by jeff konopada — August 30, 2005 @ 7:08 pm

  7. The Navy took me from Jersey (New Brunswick area) many years ago and landed me here in Norfolk, VA. I understand completely the Virgina Beach complaint. We used to get real kielbasa, cut it into small pieces and include it with the egg and peppers on the roll. HEAVEN!!!
    Can’t get good kielbasa here either. Folks here think Hillshire Farms Polish Sausage is the real thing.

    Comment by Dave Kozerow — August 31, 2005 @ 11:17 am

  8. Kielbasa, we got. Great little place right near my house makes their own. My lawyer (a guy from Long Island) gets the meat without casings and makes a half burger, half kielbasa burger for tailgating.

    Comment by Mark Reardon — August 31, 2005 @ 12:34 pm

  9. Hillshire Farms Polish Sausage isn’t even real Polish Sausage. They may not have hard rolls in Chicago, but at least they do Polish Sausage right by making it an alternative to a hot dog. Mmm. Right now, I could really go for a Polish with relish, raw onions, a slice of tomato, and a sprinkle of celery salt.

    The other comfort food I’ve never seen outside of NJ is sausage and potatoes (or hot dog and potatoes) on a Portuguese roll. Yummy.

    Comment by marydell — August 31, 2005 @ 5:55 pm

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