Back in the early 1980s, I worked at a semi-fast food restaurant called Shakey’s Pizza. Lotta stories came out of that. One was how I became fixated on something called the “grease trap.” Combining my experience in the foodservice industry with all the mumbo-jumbo I learned as an English major, I came up with the following gem back in late 1992. I don’t think I ever actually cleaned the grease trap.

The “grease trap” connoted not only object, but also, since there was only one and since it never moved, location as well. You could give someone directions by it. It would almost certainly be there until the next geological event. And while such utter specificity enabled it to serve as a kind of landmark, sturdy as Gibraltar, its fixedness, and the sense that it seemed to go straight down to the center of the earth, made it appear somehow to be a passageway to another realm, like Angkor Wat or Taj Mahal. I loved cleaning the grease trap. It was a mystical experience for me, an act of genuflection. I always took too long doing it.