It's come out that last week Steve Whitmire was fired. That name might not mean jack shit to most of you, but you might know this one: Kermit the Frog.
For the last 27 years, Whitmire has been the voice and puppeteer of Kermit, one of the most recognizable pieces of felt on the planet. The signature Muppet of Jim Henson himself, Kermit almost lost his voice when Henson died in 1990. Whitmire was the one who stood up, shoved his hand up that frog's ass, and charmed the shit out of most of us who love the Muppets.
And now the man has been fired, knowing since October of 2016 that he was to be replaced by longtime Muppet puppeteer Matt Vogel. If you read the blog post that Whitmire wrote, he seems surprised and devastated, taking the loss as one would a limb or a family member dying.
And why the hell wouldn't he? He has lived with Kermit for 27 years. Same voice, mannerisms, jokes. And now Disney, the parent company of the Muppets, has cast him aside as if he had little to do with that.
Shit, I was gonna be flippant about the whole thing until I started thinking about it and I'm gonna fucking cry.
It does make me think of people I have had to fire over the years, however. Only one from the library, really, and we told him he smelled to strong of marijuana and he needed to go home. He never came back.
The one guy that comes to mind was Blind Tom. Not his real name and he had nothing to do with a library. We worked in a chicken finger restaurant called Chicken Fingers because I'm not feeling particularly creative today.
Blind Tom was not blind, FYI. He was night blind, however, and refused to take out the trash after dark because people were after him and would jump him in the dark. Because he was night blind, he would not be able to see them coming.
That's enough of a story for me to keep him on at least a shift.
Because we worked in chicken fingers, we dealt with hot oil. Because we were a block from frat row of a large university, we dealt with a lot of hot oil. Twice a day the fryers would be changed using a large metal bucket to empty the hot oil.
Then we would scrub the fryer fast (easier to do when hot) then pour in new oil. All told from empty to ready to fry again, takes about ten minutes. We gave Blind Tom the job.
He used a plastic bucket we had laying around. The bucket bulged and gave birth to five gallons of 450 degree oil that smoothed out the treads of everyone's shoes and melted the plastic bottoms of the tables. As a bonus, the bucket he used had residue of cleaning chemicals in it which boiled and caused us to have to evacuate.
Blind Tom lasted a total of six hours at Chicken Fingers. I never saw him again after telling him to get so far away and don't even come back as a customer.