Not Funny

Where waiters and diners tell tales.

Some years ago in Palm Springs, I had a meal at Hamburger Mary’s. It wasn’t a hamburger; I think it was veal, or it could have been fish, although my taste buds suggested it could have been refrigerated cardboard, reheated, refried, and left on a post to dry. I complained to the waiter. No sympathy there: “Well,” he said, “the manager had the same dish for his meal and he doesn’t complain.”

Next day I phoned the restaurant: “I’m the attorney representing the man who complained yesterday about the bad meal. Well, he died.”

“Oh, my God,” yelled the very alarmed young lady, “I’ll call the manager.” I reprised the whole awful story to the manager. Just as I was becoming in awe of my powers of invention about the Diner’s Death, I cracked up and confessed that his demise had not occurred. “I don’t think that’s funny,” answered Mr. Sunshine. He probably thought it was even less funny when the restaurant closed some short time later.

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