Tag Archives: blogging

The Dysfunctional Diners

18 May

Sometimes at work, I like to wait on dysfunctional families. And when I say “I like to wait on dysfunctional families” what I mean is “I really hate waiting on dysfunctional families in most circumstances, but when it is literally SO SLOW that I’m lucky to make 35 dollars, I like waiting on dysfunctional families because it gives me a source of entertainment.” Yesterday was one such day.

Outside of the bar area of the steakhouse, there is this little antique phone hanging on the wall above two chairs and a small cocktail table. Most people walk by the phone and don’t even acknowledge its existence. Sometimes people will say “Oh what a cute little phone!” and that’s the end of it. And then sometimes, but ONLY sometimes, will a family of four walk into the bar, only to have the younger of the two sons break away and say, “LOOK AT THAT PHONE MOM! ITS ANCIENT!” and the mom will screech and get out her iPad to take a photo of the kid climbing onto the chairs and putting his shoes on the table just to reach the phone, yank it off of the wall, and take a picture.

Already I knew… this was it. This family was going to be my source of entertainment for the night.

Now in order to fully let you understand what I was dealing with, I need to describe these people.

Over-Worked Father: Dressed in an Ohio State T-shirt with a receding hairline and a forehead that looked like it was made of turtle skin. (Tight, yet very wrinkly and malleable.) He looked like he had been forced to listen to the My Little Pony theme song (the 80’s version, not today’s version) on repeat for six years prior to entering this upscale steakhouse. He looked angry. He looked aggressive. He looked defeated.
Enabling Mother: Wearing a t-shirt covered by what I could only imagine was a jacket made from llama shavings. She had puffy blonde hair, but her inch-and-a-half roots were black and growing out. She was not excited to be in the steakhouse. She reminded me of the mom on American Beauty…. smiling, trying desperately to keep everyone together when everyone would much rather be three states apart in each direction. Seeing her smile actually made me sad.
Satan: Satan is the older of the two brothers. Wearing swim trunks and a gray t shirt, Satan literally did not smile ONCE in the two hours he was seated at this steakhouse. Literally, Not. Once.
Sid: I have named the younger of the brothers Sid because he literally was Sid from Toy Story.


Literally. This face. That voice.

So after Sid climbs onto the cocktail table to violently claim the antique phone, and after Enabling Mother takes the picture, the four of them sit down at a table. Already I can hear the muffled anger coming from their direction. Satan throwing his arms into the air and violently sighing, pushing so much air out of his lungs that Enabling Mother’s fluffy hair actually billows a bit from sitting across from him.

My coworker Lucas looks at the table, then looks at me.

Lucas: Have fun.
Me: Jesus take the wheel.

I grab four beverage napkins, and approach the table. I start to give myself a pep talk… I am smiling! I am happy! Maybe I can help this family stop fighting and make their meal really awesome, so they’ll leave happier than when they came in! I am an amazing employee and I can do this! There is a reason our company calls their employees “Stars!” AND I AM THAT REASON!!!

I inhale to greet them, and-
Enabling Mother: Will you two just SIT DOWN?
Satan: (Speak-yelling at Over-Worked Father in such a disrespectful tone I was surprised that no one physically assaulted him) YOU TOLD ME I COULDN’T BRING MY HEADPHONES TO DINNER AND NOW HE HAS HIS! (motions to Sid)
Sid: (Headphones in, playing a game on his smartphone that is larger and more high tech than my own phone. He is 8. He is not only completely unaware of this conversation, but also of me standing there beside him, beaming.)
Over-Worked Father: What were you going to use them for, anyway? Hm?
Satan: I ALREADY TOLD YOU. I was gonna watch YOUTUBE VIDEOS.
Over-Worked Father: And you? (looks at Sid) Hey!
Over-Worked Father: HEY!
Over-Worked Father: (gestures) SID!
Sid: (Looks up only because Over-Worked Father waved his arms)
Sid: (Takes out one, ONE, of the ear buds. He sighs.) I’m playing a game. DOY!
(Heightened silence while Over-Worked Father seems to be deciding which sound he hates more. Game VS YouTube. Finally he looks at Sid with eyebrows raised.)
Over-Worked Father: Sid? (As if to say… C’mon, Give your brother the headphones.)
Sid: (Already has the earbud back in and is playing his game. He is unaware of everything.)

Keep in mind I am STILL standing at the table, smiling, just watching all of this. Beaming. Smiling like this is the sweetest conversation I have ever heard in my entire life, as if this earbud saga is the most heartwarming tale of selfless love to ever touch my little cocktail waitress heart.

Enabling Mother: (Looks up at me with a huge smile.) Well… We aren’t spoiled, ARE WE? Ha ha ha HAHA! …Ha… um.

Silence. I am still standing there smiling, waiting to see if there will be ay other protests or interruptions before I speak. There are none.

Me: SO! How IS everyone today? Just wonderful? Fantastic! My name is Carolyn and I’ll be serving you today!
Family: Blank stares from everyone except for Sid, who is playing his game and not looking at anyone. Satan is giving me a look of pure evil and hatred.
Enabling mother puts her hands over her eyes. Over-Worked Father stares at a crumb on the floor.
Me: GREAT! May I start you all off with something to drink? Maybe some beer? (I shoot this at Over-Worked Father. He looks at me like I am his only key to salvation.)
Over-Worked Father: I’ll take a Sam Adams.
Enabling Mother: I need wine. A nice, dry red wine.
Me: But of course. And for you sir? (Talking to Satan)
Satan still has his arms crossed and is giving me the look of poison.
Satan: (Jaw drops to reveal uneven bottom teeth.)
Enabling Mother: Just a round of waters for them.
Me: Of course! I’ll be right back!

I can’t handle this. I can’t do it. I have never wanted to punch a child so much in my entire life. If I go back over to that table and Satan is still giving me that look, I will be FORCED to asked if there is ANYTHING I can do to make his dining experience more to his liking… I will ask him why he is so angry, and I WILL do it with a smile, and I WILL do everything in my power to make him stop looking like such a miserable little garbage can.

I deliver the waters, making sure to smile at Satan the entire time.
Me: So, does anyone have any questions about the menu?
Silence. Dead, still, silence. For a moment I wonder if I’m invisible. I wonder if I actually asked the question out loud, or if I just thought I did… Maybe I’M the awkward one here, just showing up to their table not saying anything at all…
Over-Worked Father: (To Satan) NO, actually I am POSITIVE that a potato is a vegetable.
Over-Worked Father: Yes. It is.
Satan: NO. It ISN’T.
Enabling Mother: It’s a starch.
(Over-Worked Father looks at his wife as if she is literally the dumbest person in the world. In just one look, I can tell that he is so disgusted at how his life has played out- that he has actually CHOSEN this woman to be his life partner, that he CHOSE to procreate with her above literally EVERYONE ELSE in the whole world, that his next words erupt from his mouth with such resentment and hatred I’m afraid the next topic of conversation will be custody rights. Custody Rights where both parents fight about who HAS to keep them.)
Over-Worked Father: Just because it is a starch doesn’t mean it isn’t a vegetable.
Me: (Beaming!)
Enabling Mother: Whatever. Either way, you need to eat healthier.
Over-Worked Father: I am on vacation, I will eat however I please.
Enabling Mother: (Finishing a gulp of wine) Oh, you’re on vacation? You’re at a work function. Please.

I actually witness Over-Worked Father picking and choosing his battles. He looks at the menu. And I am still standing there, waiting for someone to answer my question.

Over-Worked Father: Satan? What do you want to eat?
Satan: I already TOLD YOU, I want WINGS.
Over-Worked Father: (Death stare. I suddenly realize where Satan has learned his facial expressions.) They don’t have those here. Get the kids fillet. It’ll be the best thing you ever eat.
Satan: I don’t WANT IT.
Enabling Mother: Okay, you know what? They don’t have wings! Okay, fine, nothing. He will have nothing. I am going to have the french onion soup and the wedge salad.
Me: Very good!
Enabling Mother: Sid?
Sid: (Playing his game)
Me: (Beaming at Sid)
Enabling Mother: (Punches him on the arm.) HEY! Mac n’ cheese?
Sid: (Barely responds. I think I may have heard him say “Mm.”)
Enabling Mother: Mac N’ Cheese for him.
Over-Worked Father: I am going to have the Salmon. GOD I’m at a steakhouse and I’m getting SALMON.
Me: Actually our salmon is phenomenal. You won’t be disappointed.
Enabling Mother: (Ignoring me) Make sure you ask for the lentils on the side. I won’t eat those.
Over-Worked Father: Whatever, they’re big. I’ll move them away, it’s not a big deal.
Me: (Thinking “Our lentils are actually tiny, but I’m not going to say that for fear of getting stabbed.”)
Enabling Mother: (suddenly sweeter than ever) Satan? Honey, are you’re sure you don’t want anything?
Satan: (Stares at her. Pouting. Mutters-) …Ids Illay.
Enabling Mother: What was that!?
Satan: (Yelling) KIDS FILLET.
Me: (Looking directly at Satan himself) And how would you like that prepared, young sir?!?!
Satan: (Pure evil. Poison is leaking from his eyes.)
Enabling Mother: Medium well.
Me: Fantastic! I’ll get that right in for you, and I’ll also bring some fresh bread and butter for the table.
Me: (Wanting desperately to say “Wait- you can hear me! You can SEE me!?” I walk away.)

When I bring the bread to the table, Sid hulks out. He RIPS the earbuds out of his head and lunges for the bread, as if he hasn’t eaten in six weeks. With every inhale it sounds like he’s slurping something- which is quite a miraculous feat because he is ingesting BREAD, and with every exhale there is an audible vocalization of “Mmmm.” It’s a rather disturbing cycle, but no one addresses it. Meanwhile, Satan is sitting in his chair like a frog. The bottoms of his shoes are actually on the seat of the chair, and any time he wants to drink his water, he literally springs up, puts his hands on the table, and bends over to put his mouth on the straw… instead of just picking up the glass and bringing it to his mouth like any other normal person on the planet. No one addresses this either.

When their food finally does come, I watch intently to see what happens. I watch to see if Satan does, indeed, like his KIDS FILLET. He does. Obviously, you’re gonna like the kids fillet, you ungrateful, unwanted, rat-faced collection of disappointments and broken dreams. You’re at one of the best steakhouses in Orlando and you’re eating a 5 oz fillet! And even if it IS prepared medium well, thanks to your insane to the membrane mother, it’s going to be the best thing you eat all week.

So, that’s basically the end of the story. Once the food came everyone kind of shut up and ate, and the only thing that was semi-amusing about them at this point was when Sid grabbed the black dish that held their side item, and screamed, in the EXACT voice of Sid from Toy Story, “IS THIS MADE OUT OF IRON????” Over-Worked Father tipped 20 percent and they all decided to GTFO. I think he was appreciative that I didn’t announce that we had dessert options… instead, I discreetly handed him the dessert menu out of view of his spawn and said, quietly, “In case you’re interested…”

It’s sad, but I’ve come to realize the importance of alcohol mixed with some good food when it comes to dysfunctional families. Usually by the end of the meal I can have people laughing and actually interacting with each other without arguing anymore. And yet, with this family, I was just happy that no one got slapped… by me. I hope the rest of their business trip/vacation(???) fared better than that atrocious meal, but I won’t hold my breath. I bet Sid is still sitting somewhere right now playing his game and slurp-breathing, and Satan is watching YouTube with that disgusted look on his face, Enabling Mother is looking through a magazine at the body and life she’ll never have, and Over-Worked Father is answering emails and wondering where his life went wrong. It’s really sad to think about these families like this once they’re gone, so I try not to. I just bring them their check, and hope for the best. I have to pay my bills, you know.


Creating An Acceptable User Name Is Harder Than Writing Moving Poetry About Calculus

7 Nov

When a computer program asks me to create a “User Name,” I immediately feel self-conscious. ESPECIALLY if that user name is going to be seen by others.

In middle school, it was okay to have a “screen name” or “user name” that explained what you liked to do, with a seemingly random number or symbol at the end. For example:


Sometimes, it was even socially acceptable to describe yourself with how you wish the world would perceive you. The following are actual screen names that I remember my friends having in middle school:

miDIXONu2nite (His last name was, you guessed it… Dixon.)

Once you get a little older, you realize that you should probably be a bit more professional, especially if future bosses or love interests will ever be exposed to this new name.

But that’s just the thing- It’s a new NAME. And it’s not like it’s the one you were given, because that’s easy. You’re born and if your parents name you something stupid, that’s their fault and you’re the one who learns to live with it. You make it work. It’s not your fault, or your choice. But with user names, you’re asked to rename yourself publicly. The judgement is imminent. You literally can’t escape it. People are GOING to see your user name, and they’re GOING to know you picked it.

And so, you decide- it’s time to act your age. It’s time to have a user name that is professional, mature, and has no *’s or <3’s at the end.

So you go to type in a new user name. You say, “Okay world! How about this!!!” You type in your first letter of your first name, and combine it with your last name. There. Can’t get any more professional than that, can it!? For example:

You: JSmith.

Computer: We’re sorry, but that user name is already taken. Try again!

You sit there staring at the computer like… what? Okay fine. I’ll add my birthday onto it!

You: JSmith03

Computer: We’re sorry, but that user name is already taken. Try again!

Okay, you think. My name isn’t THAT uncommon. Of COURSE that’s already taken. So you try again.

You: JSmith003

Computer: We’re sorry, but that user name is already taken. Try again!

You: JBSmith003

Computer: We’re sorry, but that user name is already taken. Try again!

You: …. JBSmith00300

Computer: We’re sorry, but that user name is already taken. Try again!

You decide it’s time to up your game. You’re determined to find a professional, completely socially acceptable user name that hasn’t already been taken by some jerk somewhere in Guam, who just happens to have the same name and birthday as you.

You: SmithyJB3

Computer: We’re sorry, but that user name is already taken. Try again!

You: JustinSmith300

Computer: We’re sorry, but that user name is already taken. Try again!

You sit at the computer for a few seconds. You really wrack your brains. Maybe you can combine your name and make it into something professional, yet unique. Witty, but not too in-your-face with puns or innuendos. A HAH! You finally think of something good! Like, REALLY good! NO ONE WILL HAVE THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE!!!!

You: SmithJustIn

You click enter, thoroughly pleased with yourself.

You: Damn, I’m good!

Computer: We’re sorry, but that user name is already taken. Try again!

You: … Are you serious!? That was a good one!!! UHhhh… okay. Okay, FINE. How about…(Typing) Smith003JustinB

Computer: We’re sorry, but that user name is already taken. Try again!

You: … JSmithUstinB3

Computer: We’re sorry, but that user name is already taken. Try again!


At this point, you’re pretty sure that there is either A. Something wrong with the computer system you’re trying to access or B. Something SERIOUSLY wrong with the world, overpopulation being one of the top issues. You decide a new approach.

You: JustinLikesCupcakes003

Computer: We’re sorry, but that user name is already taken. Try again!

You: … JustinsGracefulThighs4Eva.

Computer: We’re sorry, but that user name is already taken. Try again!

Fine, you say. Forget trying to be professional. I will just make up the most ridiculous user name in the entire universe and keep it because I KNOW no one else will have it!!!

You: MonkeyPassionXXX

You press enter, and hold your breath… This could be it. This could be your new user name! And you know what? At this point, you don’t even care. You just want something to work! You just want a user name!!!! You wait, breath held, pulse racing, sweat accumulating, all in heightened anticipation!!! And then suddenly-

Computer: We’re sorry, but that user name is already taken. Try again!

And for a moment, you’re filled with the most ridiculous… confusion, frustration, and… appalled anger… that somewhere, on this planet, someone had the audacity to actually rename themselves MonkeyPassionXXX. ALL YOU WANT TO DO… is have a NEW user name… that isn’t embarrassing…. and THIS guy… was able to create “MonkeyPassionXXX” and get away with it!?!?! WHO IS THIS GUY!?

You decide to do something drastic.

You: UserName.

Computer: Thank you! Your new user name is: UserName.

You shut the computer and decide that you don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

Hey, I just met you. And this is crazy. But let’s be together every day for the next three months. No Excuses.

11 Sep

Greetings, readers!

If you are new to this blog, welcome! If you are returning, welcome back! And if you are an alien tapping into the human race’s internet sites by using some high tech alien technology, hoping to study life forms on Earth by looking at our internet preferences, and you just happened to come across MY blog, (probably by searching “sloth and a shark hugging” through Google) I am both honored that you have chosen my site, and slightly terrified that you exist. I also urge you to read “The Hillbilly Buffet” and take notes on proper public dining habits of rural humans.

Anyway! I have some big news! My extremely supportive friend and fellow blogger has challenged me to do a “90 in 90.” BUT! What is this “90 in 90?” you may ask. Allow me to explain: It’s 90 blog posts in 90 days. I HAVE to write and post SOMETHING every day for 90 days. Scary, right?

I’ve wanted to do this for a while but, I mean… come on. 90 days is kind of a big commitment. Three months?!?

5 Things that are the same length as 90 days:

  • A free trial of Netflix… times 3.
  • The time it takes for a sperm and an egg to mesh together and make a baby that resembles a seahorse.
  • My first “relationship” in 8th grade.
  • P90x… P90x is exactly 90 days long. (In case you didn’t know.)
  • 1/4th of the entire year.

Now that I think about it in those terms, I feel like I’m trying to star a three month long relationship with someone who I barely know and am kind of intimidated by…

But that’s okay! Someone once said something along the lines of, “Do what is scary. Then you know you’re doing something right.” I don’t know who said that. But they said it, and it stuck with me. (Does that mean if I decide to sunbathe on the highway I’ll get darker faster?)

So! Here we go. Ninety days of blogging… NO MATTER WHAT! The road may be long… It may get messy. It may be dangerous. People may be in danger, and they get hurt. Hyperbole will be used… But I am ready for a challenge!