I’m at the cigar shop I patronize when a customer nicknamed Doc asks me a question.

“Say I’m in a restaurant and the owner’s serving me.” Doc asks. “Do I tip him?’

“It depends,” I say.

“On what?”

“If no waiters are working but there’s busboys I’d still leave a tip.”

“’Cause the busboys get some of it.”


“But if there’s no busboys?”

“Then I’d say no.”

“Well listen to this,” Doc says. “I’m eating lunch in a place, no waiters, busboys, nothing. The owner served me. And after I paid up she had the nerve to ask me, “Where’s my tip?’

“How’d you respond?”

“I told her that my coming in there was my tip.”

“Correct answer,” I say.

“Well the lady got a little pissed.”

“Some people.”

Doc takes a draw on his cigar and watches the smoke drift toward the ceiling. In the background some show called Pawn Stars is playing on the television.

“So I never went back there. “ Doc says. “But when I walked past the place yesterday she ran out and asked why I haven’t been there in a while. So I told her.”

“Good.” I say. “Maybe she learned something.”

“So you get questions like this a lot?” Doc asks.

“Wherever I go.”

“That’s when you get when you say you’re a tipping guru.”

I reach over and pull a galley copy of Keep the Change out from underneath the golf magazines on the coffee table and toss it to him.

‘Well you can read all about it here,” I say.

“Cool,” Doc says. “Does that mean I don’t have to buy a copy?’

“You wish.”

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