Got the late shift at Denny’s? Compare SAT scores with ‘Mr. Sizzles’

Who needs good SAT scores when you can have the fried platter?
Who needs good SAT scores when you can have the fried platter?
During the next few weeks, every high school senior who plans to attend a four-year college will sit in a room with dozens of other nervous seniors and be handed a 300-pound Scholastic Aptitude Test. Shortly thereafter, each student will open the exam to page one and choose between a) continuing on with the test, or b) sticking a No. 2 pencil in their eye. That’s because they’ll be answering questions they wouldn’t otherwise face without at least one “lifeline” and a chance to win $1 million.

The reason it’s important to do well on the SATs is because your score tells colleges how smart you are. The smarter you are, the better your chances of getting into a prestigious university because, let’s face it: The last thing any university wants is a bunch of dumb students who need to be educated, even if they are paying $40,000 a year toward a degree which, in many cases, still won’t provide them with their most valuable document — a food handler’s card.

Being a writer, I’ve naturally spent many rewarding years in the food service industry. And I can tell you that SAT scores don’t matter when you’re working the late shift at Denny’s next to a sweaty, one-eyed fry cook whose nickname is “Mr. Sizzles.”

What matters is learning to stay away from his blind side whenever someone orders the fried platter.

But I digress.

Like it or not, you need to have a good SAT score if you want any chance of getting into college and experiencing that crowning moment when, surrounded by family and friends, you suddenly realize you’re in a commercial for the new Girls Gone Wild! video.

Therefore, as a service to students, I’d like to provide some useful tips on how to prepare for the SATs. This information is based on my own experience when, as a high school senior, I was tested regularly for a period of 90 days following a trip to Tijuana, Mexico.

To begin with, page two of your SAT handbook clearly states that anyone caught cheating will automatically be expelled and the action duly noted on their student record. Naturally, this will be a huge disadvantage for anyone applying to anything other than Electoral College. My suggestion, as you might’ve guessed, would be to avoid this situation entirely by making sure you go into your exam fully prepared to rip page two right out of your handbook.

Ha! Just kidding! That would be irresponsible of me!

It’s actually on page four.

Okay, seriously — cheating is bad. And, unless you have a very good press secretary, you’re going to get caught. This means you’ll have to study.
Studying, as you know, requires organization and a willingness to sacrifice time you would otherwise spend doing something more exciting.

Such as lancing your own boil.

My point being that no one ever said it would be easy. However, I can promise you that the harder you work at it, the more gratifying it will be once people have stopped staring at the side of your neck.

Especially during the SATs.

That said, I wish you the best on your exam.

And so does “Mr. Sizzles.”

(You can write to Ned Hickson at, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

9 thoughts on “Got the late shift at Denny’s? Compare SAT scores with ‘Mr. Sizzles’”

      1. This post made me hungry for “the fried platter” (whatever it is) but, before I order it, I want to be sure I can substitute cole slaw for the french fries.

        I got anxious all over again just reading this post. But then I remembered that I never, ever, never have to take another test again. Unless you count Pap smears.

  1. Ned, having been to college I can assure you that many a student will find themselves inside of the walls of their local Denny’s establishment following a night of studying the effects of ethanol on the young adult mind. Food handler cards may be more in order than you would think. PS if you have ever worked at any of the Dennys within Washington then on behalf of myself and all college students everywhere… sorry for puking on your tables!

No one is watching, I swear...

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