The kitchen bell rings. A salmon and filet mignon’s up for the couple on 26. I grab the plates and deliver them with a hearty “buon appetito.”

“What’s this?” the wife asks, jabbing a bony finger into the mashed potatoes propping up her filet mignon.

“Mashed potatoes Madam,” I reply, stating the obvious. It’s been a long week and I’m tired.

The woman’s face flushes red. “I know they’re mashed potatoes,” she huffs, “But what are they doing on my plate?”

I know what’s happening. The woman’s on a diet and she forgot to ask what comes with her entrée. Lacking the self discipline to abstain from eating her potatoes she’s gonna work her food issues out on me. Does she actually think the spuds will congeal into ass fat before the night is over? Probably.

“All entrees are served with potato and vegetable,” I reply politely.

“Does it say that on the menu?” the woman counters. Uh oh – a lawyer type.

“It does Madam.”

“I want to see the menu.”


“I want to see where it says everything’s served with mashed potatoes,” the woman says.

“If you’re unhappy with mashed potatoes I’d be happy to replace them with something else,” I offer.

The woman stares at me. If she’s questioning my integrity over something insignificant as mashed potatoes she probably drives everyone else in her life insane.

“I’ll bring the menu right over,” I say.

I show the woman the menu. She’s looks chagrined when she reads, “All entrees are served with potato and vegetable.”

“It shouldn’t have potatoes,” the woman mutters absently.

“Would you like the kitchen to re-plate your filet?” I ask, struggling not to sound smug.

“Honey,” the woman’s husband interjects, “Just eat before your food gets cold.”

I look at the husband. I wonder how often he’s heard this conversation. Probably goes through life semi comatose just to survive.

“I don’t want mashed potatoes,” the woman pouts.

“But you like mashed potatoes,” the husband says.

“I need to lose weight.”

“You look fine,” the husband says, “Relax.”

The woman takes a deep breath and lets it out. “Thank you waiter. I’m fine now,” she says with fake politeness.

“Are you sure Madam?” I ask – with an equally fake smile.

“I’m sure.”

“Enjoy your dinner.”

I leave the couple and head over to the beverage station to get a glass of club soda. Louis is there eating Oreos.

“Mmmmmmm,” I say, “Hydrogenated fats.”

“The best,” Louis mumbles, his mouth full.

“Pass the Lipitor,” I say, grabbing a cookie.

I munch some Oreos and wash them down with seltzer. The combination reminds me of the chocolate sodas I used to get at the luncheonette after school. As the sugar hits my bloodstream I survey the junk food littering the staff area. Today its candy bars, cookies, Doritos, and Malomars. Waitstaff always have a stash of cheap glucose lying around for a quick energy fix. It’s a miracle my pancreas hasn’t popped out my navel. I wonder if the cookies I’m eating will convert into ass fat before my shift’s over. Probably.

I wipe my mouth, straighten my tie, and head back onto the floor. The woman on Table 26 is wolfing down her mashed potatoes. She looks happy. I smile inwardly. As a waiter I can tell you – spuds are a powerful thing.

But then again so are Oreos.

I pat my stomach and go back to work.

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