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Monday, February 12, 2007


As anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant situation can tell you, sometimes you have to deal with asshole customers. Most restaurant staffers have the fortitude to simply suck it up and endure all manner of abuse in hope of a decent tip — which asshole patrons seldom leave — but during the times when I have had to interact with the obnoxious I weigh the situation, and since I am of the kitchen and do not receive tips I have to choose my battles. I can usually walk away without chewing some douchebag a new one, but sometimes the temptation is simply too much to resist (the now infamous "hot sauce cokehead" incident immediately springs to mind).

The other night at the barbecue joint was relatively busy, and Tracey the waitress goddess was inundated with people to look after. When she's being showered with questions about what's good on the menu that night and I happen to be within earshot I will step in and field the queries, armed with a pitch that would have done P.T. Barnum proud, more often than not amusing the guests. Face it, there's nothing more entertaining than a chubby Black guy who cooks and can tell you in minute detail, especially in a barbecue joint.

Anyway, I noticed Tracey being grilled by a four person group redolent of privilege and condescention, so I sauntered over and insinuated myself into the palaver, going through the dishes and punctuating each with a description of mouth-watering delights for the palate that bordered on the pornographic. Three of the group oohed and aahed at the sound of yummy goodness, while the lone woman among them asked detailed questions meant to put down the cuisine and demean me for having the temerity to leave my "place" and dare to speak with demi-gods such as herself and her companions, sneering the whole while.

After enduring her mini-inquisition, I concluded my spiel with a promise that they would not be disappointed by whatever they may order, only for the sneering harridan to attempt getting in the last word with a rude "Well, why don't you stop your yacking, get yourself back into that kitchen, and serve us our food?', that last bit being accented by a superior nod to her friends as if to say, "Like how I showed Kunta?"

Suddenly, time came to a complete halt, and a voice within me exclaimed, "Oh, HELL NO." Several strategies for retaliation vied for first place in a nanosecond, but then my internal monologue was replaced by the strains of what can only be described as the most minstreled-out version of "Dixie" imaginable, banjos-a-plinkin' and chickens-a-cluckin', and I knew I had my perfect avenue for revenge.

I reentered the space/time continuum, and as "Dixie" filled my ears I adjusted my posture into an exaggerated slouch, let a subhumanly stupid look wash over my face, slowly scratched my head and began to speak in a drawl that I guarantee you must have sent my grandmother's corpse break dancing in the grave, in other words channeling my inner Stepin Fetchit (look him up online if you don't know who he was). "Yass, ma'am," I said, rolling my eyes like Dr. King's worst nightmare. "I'se jes' gon' git mah black ass back to dat dere kitchum an' dish y'all up some scrumptious vittles! Yowzah!" After personally setting race relations in this country back by approximately one-hundred and fifty years, I lazily turned and shuffled out of the table's visual range, catching the stunned looks on the group's faces, and noting Tracey's mouth hanging open in disbelief like basketball hoop. I ducked into the men's room to snicker to myself, and when Tracey walked by the open door she flashed me a shit-eating grin that struggled to hold in a gale of laughter. I then hit the kitchen and trayed up dinner for Missy Anne and her men-folk. When I brought out their meal, the group did their level best to look at anything and everything but my smiling face. When I returned to the kitchen, Tracey came in and said, "That was hilarious, but I had to pee, and I came close to wetting myself!" And the best part of all this was that two of the guys from the table actually stuck their heads into the kitchen and apologized for their friend's behavior.

Not much of a contribution to Black History Month, but as that icon of Black tricksterism, Daffy Duck, once said, "What the hey? I gotta have SOME fun!"


John Bligh said...

"...if to say, "Like how I showed Kunta?"

C'mon now! You're much sexier than Lavar Burton.

Hilarious post by the way. Wish I was there.

And who was more offensive: Stepin Fetchit or the less well known "Sleep 'N' Eat"?

Chez said...

Dear God you just rule in all kinds of ways Bunche.

Anonymous said...

Carol Burnett once said "never mess with anyone with a sense of humor" My hat's off to you!!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, beautiful! But you didn't loudly sing spirituals in the kitchen while cooking, did you?

Sharon Mesmer said...

OMFG, how you RAWK. You are my fucking hero.

Anonymous said...

You know a customer's retarded when she's mean to you before you handle her food.