I work in a Tuscan restaurant. Like salmon that must swim upstream to spawn, middle-aged Yuppies are genetically programmed to visit Tuscany before they die. The sous chef, who is from Lucca, jokes you can always pick the invading Americans out of the crowd; fat, slow, pasty and patronizing.

I had a couple of Tuscan groupies tonight. Just back from Italy, draped in overpriced leather coats and gold jewelry pawned on them in Milan. Raving about how the gelato was like butter and how they drank San Giamigano in the actual vineyard.

The other couple sitting across from them had never been there. They were nodding politely waiting for dinner to end so they could make good their escape.

Tuscan lady, drunk, smiled expansively and said to me, “You have a lovely accent waiter, what part of Tuscany are you from?”

“The Jersey part.”


“I am from New Jersey madam.” I look as Italian as an Eskimo.

If the botox in her forehead would permit it she would be wearing a frown.

“But New Jersey isn’t in Italy.”

“Esther he’s an AMERICAN.” Mrs. Never Been to Tuscany cajoled, relishing the opportunity to make her friend feel stupid.

Tuscan Twit’s face is now redder than her wine. Her husband is glaring at me. Their friends are chuckling. Time to go.

“I will get your check.”

Unfortunately Tuscan Twit’s husband paid. Tip? 10%

Next time I say I’m from Florence.

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