Last week I received a nice little visit from Satan while I was on the clock at my job for all I know. No, I’m not referring to my job as a freelance reporter covering the Milwaukee Bucks, but the job on my school campus working in production. It’s not because of the fact that I only managed to get 5 hours of sleep the night before I had to wake up before the sun, it’s because of the management above me. Yes, this blog post is a soliloquy about the treatment I have received as an employee at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Before you judge me (If you already have, it’s okay), I want you to understand that I skipped the opportunity to have a huge nap for this. So let’s begin.
First off, I want you all to understand that most people can attest to the fact that I have a phenomenal work ethic. I’m not a slouch, and I didn’t write this post because I wasn’t doing anything on the job. I value hard work and dedication towards anything that I do so this post is not affiliated with any sort of laziness whatsoever.
This past Friday I worked a general early morning shift around 7:30 a.m. CDT. A general shift for production workers at my school mostly consists of us doing miscellaneous work by our desks. Let me reiterate that I worked at 7:30 a.m. on a Friday, aka the most uncommon time for events to happen on my campus. So after checking the event system that had absolutely nothing for me to do, I open my email us. The people above me always mentioned to us as employees to leave our email accounts open just in case any work related information is sent to us while on the clock. So that’s that I did. Moments later, one of the higher ups scrolled down by the desk and asked what I was doing and of course, I told him I was checking my email. He was furious, so furious, he informed that me HE doesn’t pay me to “surf the internet all day”.
Sir, it’s 7:30 a.m. on a damn Friday, relax. Now here’s something funny, when he asked what I was doing on the computer, before I even had the chance to reply, he pounced like a cheetah on a baby gazelle over the screen and said, “Are you on Facebook?” Yes, because every single college student who just wants to earn a decent paycheck checks their Facebook account at 7:30 a.m. on a Friday before even clocking in for work. Great job, old man.
But here’s the defining factor that actually persuaded me into writing this post: He told me to clean a bathroom.
Let’s all take a step back here and remember that I work in production. The job title on my name badge clearly says, “Aron Yohannes, Production Services” and not “Aron Yohannes, Janitorial Worker”. That was the most degrading thing I’ve ever heard a boss say to me. In my short 20 years of living, outside of internships, I’ve had six jobs since the age of 17. I worked in kitchen’s dealing with the elderly, and seasonally dealt with customers who don’t know when to stop ordering pizza, but never in my life have I heard a manger or boss say something so vile. Really? You’re telling me to clean a bathroom when it doesn’t even have a spec of relevancy to my job? In the words of my good Twitter friend Chad Johnson, “child please.”
My father occasionally gives me great advice from time to time when we talk personally or when we’re not debating about something. He told me that right now is the old time in my life when certain jobs that I have don’t matter to future employers for my career because I’m enrolled in college. And for what it’s worth, I know many journalists that bounced around with different odd jobs in college. But I will and shall never be talked down to by somebody as if I’m a peasant or second class citizen. There was no way in hell I was going to clean that bathroom. If I got fired at that desk, then so be it. I told him that I’m a production assistant and it’s not in my job description to clean a bathroom. I got up and “pretended” like there was something for me to do upstairs just so I could get him off of my back.
That situation was the first time in my life that I was talked down to by a person of higher power over me. Personally, I don’t have any respect for the man at all and never will. What actually shocks me now that I think about it is that he didn’t talk to me in that tone because of my race, he did because of his position of power over me. Still, you don’t walk around a college campus degrading student workers who are there to just make a check. Maybe this post was a mini Kanye West style rant on how I have no respect for people who think they’re above me, but so be it.
For now, I will continue to keep my job here on my campus considering I need a way to put gas in my tank and pay bills. But that conversation on Friday morning will stick with me for a long time and is one of the many things that will keep me level headed to strive for success in what I do so that I don’t have to be around that type of stuff ever again. I carry every part-time job that I’ve had with me because it instills the mindset that I will eventually break free and achieve great things soon.
And that’s what fuels my fire.
By: Aron Yohannes
As most of you know already, last Saturday I attended my first ever college football game watching the Wisconsin Badgers pummel BYU at Camp Randall. Of course, if you haven’t read that blog already, scroll down below once you’re finished reading this post and check it out. The experience was one that I wished I had every single day, but right before it, I had to grab a delicious and filling breakfast from Mickies Dairy Bar, which is literally located right across the street from the stadium. A close friend of mine who attends Madison recommended I stop by the classic diner and grab the popular scrambler plate. Before heading into the diner, I had absolutely no clue what the scrambler was. While standing outside in the line that loops around the corner, I did some research and according to Yelp, the scrambler was the main attraction. So after about a 15 minute wait outside, my friends and I settled down and feasted. Prepare to drool on your keyboards.
The first initial reaction I had when I walked into the funky old school diner is that it’s very similar to Franks Diner located in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Frank’s is the oldest diner car currently in America and has been featured on the popular Food Network show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. All of the workers inside Mickies were friendly and kind. No attitudes or impatient personalities, just all around great people that are there to accommodate you. The place was packed, as I expected on a Saturday morning a few hours before kickoff. The place doesn’t have much space though, and that’s a bit of a downer considering all of the consistent service they receive. Also, make sure you bring straight cash homie because they don’t accept draft picks or credit and debit cards.
Blueberry coffee cake
Okay, now you can start drooling. I easily decided to get a scrambler plate but wanted to start off with a nice warm breakfast desert before. Initially, I decided to go with a homemade cinnamon roll but unfortunately they were fresh out. The pumpkin coffee cake was next, but it contains nuts and my braces aren’t too fond of those. So after further review, I went with the blueberry coffee cake. It was served warm and that was the first time I had actually received a breakfast cake warm in my entire life. Yeah, that says a lot about the places that I’ve eaten at for breakfast. Moving on, the cake was superb, it had fresh blueberries inside along with a homemade crumble on top. It certainly wasn’t filled with excessive amounts of sugar or syrups, but instead, it was smooth, simple and crisp. I definitely would’ve liked to see what the cinnamon roll business was about, but that will be on my radar for next time.
Time for the main event: The scrambler. After not eating breakfast that entire morning (I drove from Kenosha to Madison early that morning), let’s just say that I walked into the diner looking to possibly eat a horse. For those that don’t know, the scrambler is a plate layered with potatoes, eggs, cheese, and any type of breakfast meat that you select. Then, it’s topped with their homemade gravy sauce and served with a side of toast. You determine the meat or any other elements that you would like added to your scrambler. You can also decide whether or not you want your gravy on top or on the side. In my case, I decided to get it on the side so I that I could feel better about the calories I was about to consume.
The plate is a belt breaker man. The combination of the cheesy eggs flourished well with the meat and potatoes underneath. For my meat, I went elderly and got corned beef. The gravy really helped put the meal together. Even though I didn’t douse my plate with it, I added it on every bite that I had and it helped bring out the flavors of the dish honestly.
Although the gravy was the frosting on the cake as I should say, it wasn’t the most important element of the dish. That title belongs to the potatoes. The potatoes at the bottom of the dish provided the hearty and filling component of the dish. Besides adding just protein, the potatoes helped make the dish worth the price even more. If you were to take away the potatoes from the plate, you wouldn’t feel nearly as full as you’d like to be.
I enjoyed my time in Madison that weekend particularly because the Badgers won and because I had a tremendous meal before the game. They have an old fashion and unique environment that many will enjoy that’s conveniently located across the street from one of the main attractions of the city. Depending on the time of day that you go, you’ll probably be looking at about a 10-15 minute wait outside the joint. It’s worth it, and considering the fact that I only spent nine dollars on my meal, the prices might be undervalued.
On the grading scale, I will give Mickies Dairy Bar the grade of a solid A and they get the recommendation seal of approval.
By: Aron Yohannes
Man, I cannot explain the anticipation that I had during my entire drive home for writing this particular article. For the first time in my life, I attended a college football game. Two of my friends plus myself hit the road early on this cold November morning and headed to Madison, Wisconsin to watch the Badgers play Brigham Young University. My first ever college football experience was way more than I initially expected from the day before. The environment wasn’t annoying (I expected this at certain moments of the game), the streets weren’t crammed with traffic, and the women were beautiful to say the least. The creator of yoga pants hasn’t been confirmed, but whoever you are, I thank you.
Even though I don’t attend Madison, I felt like a student today. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by thousands of students that I know love their university. I can’t say that about mine sadly. This experience has opened up my eyes so much more about what I want in life, and it was the real college experience that I’ve never had. I want the school traditions and fight songs engraved into my skull every weekend. I want to wake up early in the morning on a Saturday and meet with friends to watch one of the best teams in the nation, the one that represents my school. I don’t get that at my university in Kenosha, Wisconsin. My eyes to what I want out of life changed so much after this game, and maybe it actually took me going through this experience to realize that.
I danced hysterically to school songs with strangers that I didn’t know, and during the fourth quarter I literally jumped around to take part in one of the greatest traditions in college football. I finally felt like an actual college student because of this game, something that I don’t get to experience often at my current school. There is no football team, no hilarious mascot, and no school traditions. This phenomenal experience has opened my eyes up to so much about my remaining years of college, regarding whether I should attend grad school or if I should consider another transfer attempt. That will be decided within the next few months once I let this day fully sink into my head, but until then, On Wisconsin.
By: Aron Yohannes
Torrey Smith is currently in the midst of a career year in Baltimore with the Ravens. As a receiver, Smith is currently on pace to set new career marks in receptions, total receiving yards, and yards per reception. During the offseason, the Ravens traded away their number one receiver, Anquan Boldin, to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick. Leaving Smith, and veteran speedster Jacoby Jones as the only two primary targets in the Ravens passing game for Joe Flacco. Jones suffered an MCL sprain in the first game of the season against the Broncos, requiring Smith to elevate his play being the lone target in the passing game for the first five games.
For those who don’t follow the NFL religiously, Smith tragically lost his younger brother, Tevin, in a motorcycle accident in September of 2012. Less than 24 hours after his brother’s unfortunate death, Smith scored two touchdowns in the Ravens 31-30 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football. That game has arguably been Smith’s best game of his entire career so far. Watching Torrey's performance that night inspired and helped me gain the utmost respect for him. Not only just as a football player, but as a man.
My brother Samson passed away in December of 2010 in his apartment from a stroke. I remember that night of me finding out the news and rushing to his apartment like it was yesterday. I vividly remember the emotions that I went through that night sitting on the ground of his apartment complex and still think about all of the questions I asked myself. Standing in the cold outside, I watched the body of my older brother Samson get carried out on a stretcher right in front of me. My brother Simon and I cried together in the hallway that night sitting on the floor, and for the first time in my life, I saw Simon cry, and I had never seen that before. Never in my life do I want to experience a night like that ever again, but it’s inevitable, I know pain like that will occur again.
Due to the vast amount of people staying at my house to comfort my mom and dad, I slept at a close friend’s house. I stayed there for a couple of days just until I was ready emotionally to be with my family. In an Eritrean household, the death of a family member is mourned upon for days, weeks, and months inside the house. People are constantly at your house throughout the day for comfort and praying is a continuous ritual aloud as the day goes on. I was only a high school student at the time, so I hope you all can understand how difficult it was for me to stay at home. It was the toughest moment of my entire life, so I hope you’ll understand more of why I couldn’t stay at home during the whole process.
When I first initially heard of the tragic news that involved Torrey Smith, it brought back all of the emotions that I had to go through when I lost my brother. All of the previous emotions that poured out from inside of me reoccurred. The pain of dealing with the death of my brother was still fresh in my mind, and it still is today.
The option of Torrey even playing in that game didn’t even pass through my thick skull at the time. While watching that entire game, I remember watching him specifically on most plays just to see if anything affected his routes or hands on the field. His play elevated that night, and in my mind I thought he would sit out, but he didn’t, he played that night and balled.
Torrey Smith did something that I, and most people today, wouldn’t emotionally be able to do. Watching him play that night shocked me, he persevered and it inspired me to fight through what I was going through just like he did. As he continues to play football at a high level, he inspires me to keep moving every single day and continue as a journalist, for my brother.
This December will be the third year that has gone by since Samson passed away. It’s still surreal to me that my brother is gone, but as each year goes by, I become stronger mentally. At times I still wonder how I can persevere, but Torrey Smith showed me that I can still attack and take what is mine in life. Despite what may be taken away from me along the way.
Someday I hope I'll have the chance to shake hands with Torrey Smith in person. That way I can let him know about the level of respect I have for him. Not as a sports broadcaster, writer or even a student, but as a man.
Thank you, Torrey Smith.
Behind the Broadcaster
This blog displays topics that interest me -- including culture, entertainment, music, and life experiences.