the official Shelbytown FIELD GUIDE TO WAITERS (part 4)

10 Jun

So as we’ve been discussing, restaurant servers come from oodles of walks of life. Tonight, numbers 16-20.

16. The Mom – No restaurant on earth would survive without her. She keeps the peace, lends a shoulder to cry on, gossips smartly and wears high waisted pants so that she’s easily recognizable. She carries a calendar which is full of vital events such as meet the teacher night and the middle school orchestra concert. If she works a double she absolutely must leave by 3 to take her kids off the bus and get them settled in with their homework before she can come back to work the dinner shift. She is never ever ever too sick to work. She also never has problems of her own, although if you’re bitching to her about some way in which your life is horrible, (which every employee does on an hourly basis) she can find a personal way to relate to you and make you feel a billion times better. If you call The Mom to pick up a shift in a pinch, she will be waiting for her kid to finish up at the dentist and will let you know when he’s done.

17. The Ass Kisser – This guy laughs at your jokes when nobody else does (because they really aren’t funny) and he always thinks your hair looks great. If you say jump, he’s already hanging from the rafters. You have all the same hobbies – he totally loves country music! And little kids! And He thanks you for helping him carry plates to his table, even though its your job. He also thanks you for pouring a water for yourself when you’re thirsty. And then he thanks you for being named after a cool car. And then he thanks you for giving him his job and providing such a meaningful life for him and his family. Then he comes up with a loving pet name to call you based on one of your funny funny funny jokes that “really stuck with him.” At a certain point you have to tell him that you’re aware that he’s kissing your ass, and really need it to stop before you throw up from all the kindness. The Ass Kisser branches off at this point to:

17a. The Fake – Once you call him out, you both suddenly have nothing in common. If you call him to pick up a shift in a pinch he screens the call and waits thirteen hours to get back to you.

17b. The Genuinely Nauseatingly Nice Person – They’re just awesome, you keep trying to see through them but it isn’t working. Months pass. You keep treading lightly, waiting for this solid rock of a server to crumble but it doesn’t happen. You promote him to manager and make him your work husband. You never call him to pick up a shift in a pinch because he already does so much for you.

18. The Bod – This guy comes straight from the gym to work, and consequently smells like he just came from the gym. His solution, since he is concerned only with being hot and glistening like the sun, is to spray himself down with lemon pledge, concentrating mainly in the armpit areas but getting to the upper chest for some sparkle. He checks his face in any reflective surface he can get his eye on, including the brass beer tower and the window in front of the table that he’s taking an order off of. It is for this reason that he very rarely gets a table’s order correct, and as a result makes little-to-no money per shift. But luckily he lives with his mom and dad and all he eats is chicken breast and protein shakes and water, so it doesn’t cost him a lot to sustain his lifestyle. Just a phone bill and a gym membership for this Bod. He is constantly dripping blood here and there because he’s in a secret fight club in the back of a Zumba and pilates studio. If you call the Bod to pick up a shift in a pinch, he will have pulled a muscle in his groin and not be able to move except to go to the gym. So no work for him.

19. The Struggling Artist – This girl plays the guitar in an all Asian rock band that sings 70s covers, and also aspires to be a world famous graffiti artist. Her waitressing job is by far the least important aspect of her life. In fact, she’s usually unaware she’s even in the building while she’s working. She’s constantly writing lyrics on her server pad and mixing it up with orders. This results in many many many of her songs being about food, particularly salad modifications. She never works Thursday or Saturday because she has weekly gigs at the library and some dive bar. She has twelve piercings, only two of which are in her ears. The others range from her eyebrow to her nose to her clitoris to her lip. She changes them frequently to match her mood. She has been known to walk away from a table who she felt to be “uninspiring” and hand it off to the Ass Kisser. If you call the Struggling Artist to pick up a shift in a pinch, you will soon remember that she doesn’t believe in things like telephones. You can page her or write to her on MySpace if you really need to get in touch.

20. The Smartest Person in the History of the World – This person has a degree in philosophy from a highly acclaimed university, yet spends his days and nights asking people if they want fries with that. I mean, don’t get them wrong – they can be doing anything they feel like, they just choose to bring people extra lemon for their water. What those sucker customers don’t know is that the Smartest Person in the History of the World is serving them, and psychoanalyzing their every move, most likely silently accusing them of being stupid and inferior dredges of the earth. He will test you on every fact imaginable until he can find a subject that he knows more about you on. This can be something as broad as history, or specific as the shifting demographic of Long Island prostitutes. He gets into heated arguments with bar customers over political events and shakes his head in disgust if you are unfamiliar with the metaphors in The Great Gatsby. If you call him to pick up a shift in a pinch, he’ll come right over after he finishes reading the chapter of Ulysses he’s on at the bookstore coffeeshop.


OK, I think I’m out of servers. Perhaps at some point soon we’ll move on to cooks and hostesses and bartenders. Until then, make sure you tip your waiter, chances are he needs to buy drugs, booze and hookers, and you’re his only hope.


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