Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

"Outstanding…Moore Triumphs! Publishers Weekly

Mike & Friends Blog

Crystal Zevon

Crystal Zevon is author of 'I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon,' an oral history of the life of her former husband and lifelong friend and co-conspirator

March 6th, 2013 11:38 AM

SEARCHING FOR OCCUPY: A Waitress in West Memphis

I've always been a generous tipper. I worked as a waitress a few times, long, long ago, and my daughter worked as a waitress for a living more than once. I am aghast when I see a table of 10 walk out leaving a 10% tip (sometimes less, sometimes nothing)...

Out here on the road, I stop at a lot of places where I might not normally eat. One night, it was getting late and we didn't have a place to stay. I made a call to my friends from South Carolina, Greg and Brady Gavan of Money with a Mission, and they treated us to a night in a motel in West Memphis. It was after 8 p.m. by the time we checked in, and I was starving. There was a Waffle House right next to the motel, so in I went. Wilma and I found a table and made ourselves comfortable. I was just off the Footprints for Peace walk against mountaintop removal in Kentucky. I was tired and maybe a little cranky, so I noticed that it took longer than I felt it should for the waitress to make her way to my table. I was just getting ready to start waving my arms or clinking my glass (not really, but some people DO do that, and I FELT like doing it) when I noticed the waitress, the only one in the joint, shuffling in my direction. She was moving slow, VERY slow, and when I looked down, her ankles were swollen the size of basketballs, too heavy, tired and painful for her to lift even an inch off the floor. When she reached my table, I looked into her passive face and couldn't help staring at the black bags under her eyes. She looked like a prizefighter, only I knew those bags weren't from any one blow. This woman had been dealt a knockdown punch by life itself.

The waitress made a half-hearted effort to smile. "You ready?" She asked. From the table behind me, some Jim Dandy with his female teen-aged companion chided her for not re-filling his coffee cup. Ignoring him, she stared at me, waiting for my order. "Two eggs and toast, please," I said. "How ya want 'em?" She asked, somewhat exasperated. "Oh. Um. Over medium." As she shuffled away, I watched customers demanding more, and how she did always make her way over to them, eventually. I kept looking down at her feet, and figured this was likely her second job of the day. Maybe her third. She was tired, overworked, and most of all RESIGNED. 

When I'd finished eating, I waited for my check, but the place had gotten busy and I realized she wouldn't be getting back to me anytime soon. So, I took $15 out of my wallet, walked over and slipped it in her pocket. "I know you're busy. It's all there when you get around to it." She looked right into my eyes this time. She didn't know I'd left her an $11 tip on a $4 bill, but she knew her feet had been rescued by one round-trip and that was worth the broad grin she left me with.

That grin has stayed with me. I keep wishing I'd just taken the hidden $100 bill from my wallet and slipped that into her pocket. But, I'm on a budget and I really can't afford to do that... or, can I afford not to?  What I am doing is making it a point to observe the people working and serving and struggling wherever I go. The invisible poor without whom we would be lost, but who rarely receive our recognition...

As I was writing this piece, my cell phone rang. It was a man I met in Atlanta, Georgia named Michael Figaro. I have his story on film and just put up a video with a brief bit of it on YouTube. He hadn't seen the video, but he had seen a blog piece I wrote on Michael Moore's website, and he thought just maybe I could bring Michael's attention to his plight. He owned a home, it had been paid off and it was even equipped with an elevator for his handicapped wife... In September, 2012, he was foreclosed on (it's a long story).  I met Michael at the #OccupyOurHomes foreclosure action on the steps of the Atlanta Courthouse where homes are auctioned off to Wall Street backed developers once a month (sound like a new housing bubble?... you bet it is). I told Michael Figaro that I don't know Michael Moore personally, but that I would do what I could to get his story out. And, I will.

Some days this feels like Mission Impossible. There are so many people hurting and so few of us advocating for them. My journey is meant to raise awareness, build bridges, connect the dots and grow this movement... Sound the alarm and get people out of their comfort zones to DO something about this disparity between the rich and the poor... the rape of the environment... violence against women... environmental injustice... and on and on. Some days I wonder if I can go on. The road is long and the nights are often lonely. But, then I think of that Waitress in Memphis and Michael Figaro... and, suddenly, I find the energy.  I hope, if you're reading this, you can find it, too.

Creative Commons License This content is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

You must log in to comment.

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Log in | Register

If you have a moment today, I hope you can read the obituary for my father Francis (Frank) Moore, who died this past Saturday at the age of 92: Francis...

Apr 22nd
6:33 PM
Read More

My father, Francis (Frank) Moore, passed away this morning a few months shy if his 93rd birthday. He was a great dad I am blessed to have had him in my life. I...

Apr 20th
2:58 AM
Read More

Time to put the cuffs on Chris Christie -- not for the bridge scandal, but for this: Chris Christie's $300m pension proposal broke state anti-corruption...

Apr 18th
7:31 PM
Read More

George W. Bush Debuts New Paintings Of Dogs, Friends, Ghost Of Iraqi Child That Follows Him... www.theonion.com President Bush has a new hobby -- painting! --...

Apr 17th
7:28 PM
Read More

Big new story from David Sirota and Pando on top Christie adviser and appearance of corruption at New Jersey's pension fund: REVEALED: Gov....

Apr 17th
12:41 PM
Read More

FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States www.theonion.com WASHINGTON—The FBI announced today that it has uncovered a...

Apr 15th
3:28 PM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel's top donor bought stock in Marriott just before it was awarded huge contract pando.com As schools are closed and pensions cut,...

Apr 9th
2:00 PM
Read More

I'll be at First Time Fest today in New York City at the screening of my first film, Roger & Me. Loews Village 7 at 12:30 pm. Come see it on the big...

Apr 5th
9:48 AM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel cuts public pensions, diverts money to benefit campaign donors pando.com If you've read the financial news out of Chicago the last...

Apr 4th
2:19 PM
Read More

Please take a moment today to think of Casey Austin Sheehan, son of Cindy and Patrick, who was murdered by U.S. foreign policy in Sadr City, Baghdad ten years...

Apr 4th
2:00 PM
Read More

ICYMI - I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence...

Apr 3rd
7:38 PM
Read More

I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention...

Apr 2nd
8:27 PM
Read More

I am opposed to the death penalty, but to every rule there is usually an exception, and in this case I hope the criminals at General Motors will be arrested...

Apr 1st
3:55 PM
Read More

How Long Some in the US Will Survive Under New Health Law ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com Those who must access care to live and can afford it are not...

Mar 31st
10:13 PM
Read More

Last night, The Good Wife on the East Coast started 40 minutes late due to the overrun of the NCAA basketball game. If you had your DVR set for the show, you...

Mar 24th
5:41 PM
Read More

Watching films today, looking for the ones I'm going to pick for my film festival this summer. I (and a whole bunch of others!) have this thing we put on...

Mar 23rd
4:48 PM
Read More

When the U.S. Health Care System Keeps Killing, Who Cares Enough to Fight? ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com We have largely forgotten that people are at...

Mar 21st
5:56 PM
Read More

Tell the White House not to give up on Dr. Vivek Murthy's nomination as Surgeon General despite the ferocious opposition from the NRA: Don't give...

Mar 21st
5:38 PM
Read More

This criminal would never see a jail cell, nor would his cronies. In fact, they'd later be rewarded with re-election: Presidential Address on War with...

Mar 19th
9:40 PM
Read More

The crime of the century -- our invasion & slaughter in Iraq -- started 11 years ago tonite in this 7pm (ET) hour, March 19th, 2003: CNN Coverage of...

Mar 19th
9:08 PM
Read More

Washington’s Back-to-the-Future Military Policies in Africa ...by Nick Turse www.michaelmoore.com Nick Turse is an award-winning journalist, historian,...

Mar 17th
4:59 PM
Read More

"I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world." -- Tony Benn, 1925-2014 Tony Benn in 'Sicko'

Mar 14th
10:07 AM
Read More

RIP Tony Benn, one of the UK's greatest leaders: Tony Benn, veteran Labour politician, dies aged 88 www.theguardian.com Former cabinet minister died at...

Mar 14th
9:53 AM
Read More

Please read this important story from K. Ford K.: Am I the Face of the New American Middle Class? www.huffingtonpost.com I began to feel I had slipped so low...

Mar 13th
2:24 PM
Read More

Yesterday Dianne Feinstein revealed that the CIA has been spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee. This is all about the report the committee has produced...

Mar 12th
6:48 PM
Read More

Health Care for All Colorado has brought Mercy Killers, a show written and performed by Michael Milligan about our murderous for-profit healthcare system, to...

Mar 10th
1:08 PM
Read More

Health Care Dramas that Sting and Why We Have to Watch ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com The realities Milligan has written into the show cut deep into...

Mar 10th
1:02 PM
Read More

Did you know the Lehrer Newshour on PBS has been produced for 20 years by a company owned by conservative cable billionaire John Malone? Me neither. After...

Mar 7th
8:39 PM
Read More

Mr. Obama, if int’l law is so damn crucial . . . | RootsAction.org act.rootsaction.org The Russian intervention deserves criticism. But let’s be clear. The...

Mar 6th
1:21 PM
Read More

Subscribe to Mike's Blog RSS

Click here to suggest an article

Mike's Blog

See More Blogs

Vew the archives

View older articles