Tough Lunches of the 21st Century

April 14, 2006 – “Heartbreaker”
Location: Bennigan’s Brewhouse & Beefbarn
This was when my first wife dropped the bomb on me. We had gone out that day for the Steak & Nearly-Nonstop Salad Bar Special, but the woman didn’t even let me finish my plate of Slammin’ Jammin’ Mozzerella Sticklets before she made with the mouth-foul.

“I find you simple and unfunny,” she said, but there was something about the tone in her voice that made me feel like she meant it this time.

“Consider this your two-week notice,” she said, “I’m going to Mexico and not coming back. Our marriage is over and you are sexually inadequate.”

I took it like a man, sobbing in hysterics and immediately emptying my water glass over my head. She kept her word about the Mexico thing and winning custody of all my possessions, but the Sticklets were delicious!

November 18, 2001 – “The Time I Forgot Texas” (AKA “The Lone-Star Lunch”)
Location: The Texas Cheeseburger Factory
I was on a business lunch with some co-workers and we were eating burgers the size of spare tires. I was drowning my Freedom Fries in mustard when somebody asked me, “What state is this?”

Predictably, I blanked. Having lived here all my life I had taken so much for granted, and it had finally caught up with me. My stomach locked, my lunch rose up my throat and I made hot vomit right there on the table and plates. My tablemates balked, disgusted, and that’s when I had to punch them. I was escorted out of the restaurant by two goons named Nico and fired from my job.

I learned my lesson, though- it was Texas.

May 9 2009 – “Wildcard”
Location: Public Park
Blindly following a forgotten entry in my appointment book made in my own handwriting, I prepared Fluffernutter sandwiches for myself and a schizophrenic vagrant named Mungo Jerry. Mungo was less violent than he first appeared, attempting murder only twice by poking my throat with a spork. The rest of the time we drank Hawaiian Punch and sang folk songs. Mungo showed me his teeth, and after he returned them to his pocket I said, “Friendship.”

“Kangaroo pussy!” he howled back, but I knew this was his way of saying, “Same.”

October 17, 2008 – “The Potboiler”
Location: Fuddrucker’s Restaurant
Sometimes a fellow can take only so much of the hooey do you know what I’m talking about? This was a lunch date with my Grandma, and I had barely bitten into my pulled pork sandwich when she started with the babble… tall tales, bald-faced lies, and sentences without beginnings, middles or ends. Good luck finding a reasonably placed subject OR predicate at the Fuddrucker’s on this particular day. At one point she told me that my cousin- a waitress- had been selected to go to the space station, and that yogurt was technically alive. I nearly spit out my Diet Sprite when she informed me that Arab people sleep standing up, and that albinos weren’t allowed to ride glass elevators. By the time she started telling me about her affair with Spiderman I had had enough. I picked up my cup of coffee and threw it in her face. She was scalded, but silenced, and for the first time in my life, I finally finished my Cole slaw.

July 5, 2005 – “Me Vs. Pizza”
Location: Endless Pizza Buffet
Went to lunch with the wife at this pizza piazza. Just my luck, there’s a kids birthday party going on: twenty-two rambunctious eight year olds. I’m enjoying my pepperoni and mushroom and trying to ignore my wife’s ramblings about our marriage being on the rocks when I feel a spitball hit the back of my neck. I whipped around and saw the kids laughing hysterically. So naturally I let fly with a stream of expletives so profound the children broke down in tears. Being a genuinely kind fellow I approached the birthday boy and asked him what I could do to make him feel better. Through sobs, he predictably answered, “Eat one hundred slices of pizza right now.” It was his birthday… what could I do?

Slices 18 and 19 went down pretty easy, but by the time I reached slice 24 I had to unbuckle my pants. By slice 36 the children were chanting my name in an unknown elvish-type language… they considered me to be some sort of God. By the 41st slice, my wife had enough and took the car home, and by slice 49 I was starting to see dead relatives. Is it me or is it always slice 57 that causes you to projectile vomit and fall out of your chair? The birthday boy was coated in my cheese, and didn’t seem to be in the mood to open his presents. Was he being unbelievably spiteful? Or was he just emotionally traumatized? You decide.

September 2, 2004 – “The Raise”
Location: Houlihan’s
It was time to reward my secretary of 11 years with her first financial raise so naturally I took her to the neighborhood Houlihan’s to deliver the news. I don’t remember why I was in a particularly peckish mood that day, but for some reason the prospect of simply telling her that she was a great worker and was getting more money that she deserved seemed a bit trite, very boring and in need of a little spice.

I began the lunch by telling her that she had put on a few pounds over the years and was quickly eating her way out of a job. “You need to take more pride in your appearance,” I continued, telling her that she could never land a man if her kankles continued to grow in diameter.

Almost on cue the water works started as she began crying. That’s when the waiter came to our table. I asked the pock-faced boy with the uniform to bring one of everything on the menu because ‘tank-ass is hungry’ as I gestured in my secretary’s direction. The tsunami of tears started pouring now as I let her in on my little game and told her about her pay increase.

I’m not sure she believed that she was getting a raise right off the bat, but when I handed her the check at the end of the meal, she must have connected the dots. What kind of guy would rack up such an enormous lunch tab and then make his secretary pay if he wasn’t giving her a raise? She didn’t need to say thank you at that point: her humiliation was all the thanks I needed.

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