Apropos of nothing, I came across this 2-minute from Conan of Louis C.K. commenting about people's reaction to the miracles of technology, and I found it a hoot and spot-on.
It reminded me of a decade or so back when I was doing my penance as unit publicist and was working on-set for some movie. And being on location, as all films do, they had a caterer putting together a buffet lunch. Now, I do recognize that when you're on location for 40 days there's gong to end up being a lot or repetition in the menu. But that's not only understandable, but it's the case on ALL movies, and has been since probably the first catered movie set 70 years ago.
(Note to people who don't work in the film industry -- this is not done to be oh-so fancy, it's that when you're on location, the crew doesn't have any transportation to drive to a restaurant, and living out of a hotel room, you can't make brown-bag lunches for yourself each day. Plus, film companies don't want their crews wandering off for lunch in unfamiliar areas, trying to find where to eat, and then having to wait for 60-80 people to come wandering back so that they can start filming on time. It's just much more efficient to provide a caterer.)
Now, this one day, I was seated at a long table when a couple of Teamster drivers started whining about the food, how it was the same, and how they didn't like what was being served that day and the choice wasn't great and on and on. Now, usually, one doesn't argue with Teamsters on a movie set, especially when you're the publicist and also when you're half their size. But it was not only what they were saying, but also what had been in the news recently, and finally I had enough. So, I turned to them -- I'm not even sure they knew who I was -- and said, "Are you kidding me?? They just had Hurricane Andrew in Florida where a third of the state either lost their homes or were displaced. And the Mississippi River is flooding right now and it's devastating the entire middle of the country. And there are wild fires in Wyoming that is spreading over the state. And you are being given a free buffet lunch every single day. And you're complaining about it. Three meat entrees, a pasta entree, four salads, half a dozen side dishes, four different desserts, two flavors of ice cream, six kinds of beverage and more. And you're complaining." Not shockingly, the Teamster drivers were a bit taken aback, and when they finally caught themselves they recovered and got all defensive and puffy again, and one guy snarled, "Well...well, we work hard for this, and they should do it right." I looked back at them and said, "It's -- a -- free -- buffet."
No, I don't believe I convinced them of anything, though they did stop complaining for that meal. And best of all, I was able to finish mine without my head being busted open.
And by the way, the food was good. Yes, the menu got repeated more than was ideal, and I've had better (I once worked on a movie that was catered by a company who's just been named the top caterer in a survey done by Premiere magazine, and I could see why. They were tremendous), but it was all good. And the reality is that if they were working in L.A. and bringing in their own lunch each day, it would probably be the same sandwich, the same bag of chips, the same soft drink, and the same Pop Tart for dessert. Every day.
That story isn't the same as what Louis C.K. is talking about here, though I think they are cousins.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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