So the other night yet another news story featuring the remaining Republican candidates for the “Presidential” nomination was blaring on the TV in the background while Chrissy scrolled endlessly on her iPhone and I was Googling effective ways to get the IRS off my ass. Naturally, it got us talking about the Three Stooges.
The Three Stooges proper mind you; Moe, Larry and Curly. Ain’t go no time for Shemp or either Joe.
Anyway, we wandered oddly to a fairly obscure song from 1983 called The Curly Shuffle by the legendary Jump ‘N Shuffle Band. If you’re old and your mind is a warehouse for useless knowledge you probably remember it. If not, I’ve conveniently placed it right here for you…
Anyway however it came up it reminded me of a Bonehead Backstory I hadn’t previously shared with the world. So here it is.
In another life I was a McDonald’s manager. Short sleeve dress shirts, polyester slacks and stained ties with the interlocking “M’s” the whole boat. Think it was sometime in the spring of 1984 and I was running the Brentwood store. Typically on a late Friday or Saturday night after closing we’d hang out in the back lot drinking beer, wine coolers and for some god-forsaken reason Jagermeister. We never went to a bar or club, because we were generally dirty, sweaty and smelled of fries and lard. No one would want us in their nice bar or tavern and frankly we couldn’t blame them.
We’d pass the time and other endeavors while sharing our dreams and goals for the future. Who was going to be an astronaut and who was going to become a lifelong middle manager of small independent radio stations? Ah to dream!
Typically after a couple of hours we’d run out of booze and pile into the cars of those closest to sober and head to the local diner. Every town on Long Island has at least one and often several. They all generally suck and I’d bet that most haven’t cleaned the filters over their grills since my crew and I used to spend our weekend sunrises in them. Nevertheless, we were there to suck down some eggs, french toast or whatever in our endless attempts to soak it up enough to stagger home.
One of these night’s I’d noticed that I’d forgotten to take a box of quarters into the restaurant from my car. When you manage a fancy McDonald’s restaurant, one of your duties is to get the change from the bank before your shift. Brentwood was a very busy store, so often we had to buy $500 – $1000 or more in change at a time. It’s not unusual for a box of quarters (20 rolls or so) to get overlooked like that. Don’t get the wrong idea – we’d notice it and find it under the seat so nothing illicit going on here. Anyway, it led to an interesting idea.
Many diners have personal jukeboxes right at the table. Often however, the juke boxes are all interconnected, so if a patron at table 16 in the corner wanted to hear “Santa Claus Is Coming Too Soon” and got their quarter in before a patron at table 24 under the dripping vent slipped their two bits in the slot to hear “White Wedding” the catchy Holiday tune would be heard before Billy Idol. At every table.
Good thing for us that very early morning, our diner employed a system just like that. Even better, at 5:00 in the morning, the place was more or less empty. So we set about loading as many quarters as we could into the juke boxes throughout the place, selecting only number 33. You guessed it, “The Curly Shuffle”. We placed that song on eternal shuffle that day.
I can’t say exactly how many plays we got – but it had to be upwards of 100. We hung out till nearly 7 in the morning, now completely strung out on several pots of coffee and more hash browns than a human should be capable of consuming. That fucking song played endlessly, over and over.
Sing it with me now…
Well we never miss a chance we get up and dance and do the Curly shuffle!
You know it’s stuck in your head. Laughed our asses off watching the perplexed looks the early morning diners had as the Stooges delivered our own brand of torture to their weekend morning coffee and bagel. We always wondered why none of the employees did anything, for over two hours and who knows how much longer after we left. Our guess always was that since it was the graveyard shift they didn’t know where the off switch was. Either that or they got a kick out of our annoying joke.
It’s still my favorite memory of the Stooges. My fear is that our current GOP Presidential race will soon provide me with a new, much less funny one. And that’s just sad.