Old Dogs



Old Dogs

New Tricks


If you need me, I'll just be propped
up against this disembodied leg.



Eating With
the Enemy.

Transcript of the most uncomfortable lunch ever had by anyone in the lunch-
having public.  I will not go into specifics about my lunch companion, mainly
because I am a huge scaredy-cat.  That’s right.  I’m yella.  But it was with a woman,
and she invited me, and she was paying for the lunch, and she is someone I must
be nice to.  That’s it.  That’s all the backstory you get.  

On the way to the car...

Her:                        Well, where should we go to eat?

Self:                       Oh, anything.  Anything’s fine.  

Her:                       Really?  You like all types of food?  I wouldn’t have
                          guessed  that.  You seem...like you would be picky.

Self:                       Ha...ha? Oh.  Um.  No?  Not really.  I guess I...I guess I
                           don’t like Mexican food that much.  

Her:                        Oh, I see.  

Self:                       Yeah.


Her:                        Because I was thinking about Mexican.

Self:                       Oh! Well, that sounds good.

Her:                        You just said you don’t like Mexican food.

Self:                       Oh...well, I don’t like refried beans.  But there’s lots of    
                           Mexican food without refried beans.  

Her:                        You don’t like refried beans?

Self:                       Right.

Her:                        But you said you don’t like
Mexican food.

Self:                       Well – lots of Mexican food...has...refried beans...in it...?

Her:                        I wouldn’t say I disliked an entire ethnic genre of
                            food because I disliked one particular dish.

Self:                       Hmm, right.  O-kay!  So, Mexican!

Her:                        No, I don’t think so.  Actually, I made reservations at an
                            Italian restaurant.

At the restaurant...

Her:                        What will you be getting?

Self:                       The shrimp pasta looks good.

Her:                        Right.  Hmm.  Well, I actually have some questions about the
                            menu.  Let me get someone.   
(Reaches out, grabs arm of
                            passing server.  Not our server.  New server recoils in terror.)

Her:                        I think I would like the steak pasta.  

Not Our Server:     Yes.  Well.  Let me get your server, and I am sure he will be
                            happy to get your order.  One moment.

Her:                        But I have some questions.  

Not Our Server:     Of course.  And if you’ll just give me a moment, I will get your
                            regular server.

Her:                        Are you familiar with the menu or not?

Not Our Server:      ...“Yes”?  

Her:                        Fine.  Then I would like the steak pasta, but I do not want any
                            actual steak on my pasta.  I want the sauce flavored with the
                            steak, and I would like the pasta cooked with the steak, but I
                            would like the steak removed before it is brought to me.

Not Our Server:     Riiiiight...well, we could do that for you, I’m sure.

Her:                        And what would the price be for that?

Not Our Server:     What?

Her:                        If I don’t want the steak,  I won’t have to pay for it, correct?

Not Our Server:     ???

Her:                        It should be less.

Not Our Server:     Well...I think...I think that would be the same price.

Her:                        But I don’t want the steak.

Not Our Server:     Right, but...but you want the pasta cooked with the steak?

Her:                       That’s right.

Not Our Server:     You don’t just want the regular pasta?  Without the steak?
                            Because that’s less.

Her:                        No.  I want my pasta cooked with the steak.  I believe I made
                            that quite clear.

Not Our Server:     Yes...yes.  But, see, if we cook the steak, we have to charge
                            for..would you like the steak on the side, perhaps?

Her:                        No.

Not Our Server:     Oo-kay.  Well.  
(Brightening.)  I will just have to check with the
                            manager about that!

Her:                        I don’t see why.

Not Our Server:      
(runs away, screaming.)

Her:                        Well, that’s just ridiculous.  

Lunch finally arrives...

Her:                        So, how is work going?

Self:                       Great!  Really great, thanks.

Her:                        Of course, you don’t know much yet.

Self:                       No, I...I don’t.  Not much.

Her:                        At this point, you’re more of a liability, wouldn’t you say?  You
                            can’t possibly bring in what they pay you.

Self:                       Well...hmm.  No, I guess not.

Her:                        I can’t understand why they would hire someone with so little

Self:                       Right.  Well!  

Her:                        And pay you...what are they paying you?

Self:                       Um!  Not...not much...

Her:                        “Not much?”  Well, I suppose it’s “not much” to you,
                            considering your family.

(Stunned silence.)

Her:                        Of course, my mother died.

Self:                       Oh, I’m so sorry.

Her:                        We were estranged.  

Self:                       Oh...um.  I’m...sorry?

Her:                        They haven’t brought us any bread yet.

(Relieved.)  No!  They have not!

Her:                        I am just appalled by the service here.  
(Stands up.)  COULD
                            SOMEONE PLEASE BRING US SOME BREAD.

Everyone in restaurant:        
(staring silently.)

Her:                        (Sits down again.)  So.  You were talking about your mother?

Self:                       I...
my moth....? Yes?  She’s...we’re...close.  


Self:                       And we...we do a lot of things together...and traveling.

Her:                        You travel with your mother?

Self:                       Sometimes.

Her:                        And do you have any friends, outside of your mother?

Self:                       Yes!  Yes.  Lots of friends who are not my mom.

Her:                        Isn’t that interesting.

Self:                       Yes!


Her:                        We still don’t have any bread.  Excuse me.  (Stands.  Leaves
                            table.  Heads towards kitchen.  Enters kitchen.)

Self:                       Oh, good Lord.  

And just when I think things can’t get any worse, they get much, much worse.  
Please bear in mind, I ordered the second least expensive thing on the menu.  The
average meal at this restaurant costs about twenty dollars.  

The Bill Comes...

Her:                        What did you have?

Self:                       The pasta.

Her:                        Well, it was very expensive.

Self:                       Oh,  I’ll take care of it.  How much was it?

Her:                        Nine dollars.

Self:                       Okay, well, here’s a twenty!  So, pasta and drink and tip,

Her:                        No.  
(Huge sigh.)   I’ll...I’ll take care of it.  I just wish you had
                            ordered something less expensive.

Self:                       !!!

Her:                        In fact, this can’t be right.  Nine dollars for pasta?  Go get a
                            menu so I can check for myself.

Self:                       Ooo-kaaay...

Her:                        And I don’t leave tips.

Self:                       Oh, GOOD LORD.

And now I can never, ever go back there again.  And it was good pasta, too.  
Thanks a ton, Her!