“I was hanging around London
I was singing my heart out
for the BBC
a little girl stopped me
on the street, I thought
to ask for my autograph
and tell me I was hot
she said with a twang
I thought I recognized you
you used to pump my gas
back in old KC Mizzou”
-Bob Walkenhorst “Little Tiny World” The Rainmakers
My girlfriend told me the other day that since I was a published author I should not worry so much about being accessible to my fans. I told her that since they both had my cell phone number it shouldn’t be an issue. No worries about be going all JD Salinger on you. I still wear an apron and intend to for a number of years. I will respond to as many emails and comments as I can. The important factor will be finding my computer when she hides it so I will stop working and spend some time with her.
Thursday was a pretty incredible day for me. My book was released. So many bloggers that I have tremendous respect for gave my book outstanding reviews. I was contacted by a number of other bloggers wanting to review copies. The premier local food critic gave it a rave review. Two radio shows, a TV show, and a couple of local papers wanted interviews. I even had a book release party in the private club above my restaurant attended by some of the most important people in my life. It was an incredible day.
Coincidentally enough, Saturday night I worked a private party in the same room. As I was schlepping the trash down two flights of stairs, I thought to myself with a grin, “I doubt Tom Clancy is doing this tonight.” There were still crumbs to pick out of the carpet and drains that kept clogging. Glamour is temporary, humility will always find you. Quite frankly, I prefer it that way.
I’m still not convinced that my signature on a book doesn’t reduce the value. I was far more comfortable last night asking guests to sign credit card slips that I was signing books. I know I am a good server, but I am at best mediocre as a writer. I write about serving though so I can trust that the knowledge balances out the grammar. I also had five grammarian friends and a professional editor tear apart the book. I think that is the equivalent of having your picture taken by Annie Leibovitz. They made even my Olan Mills skill level look good.
Serving gives you amble opportunity to find humility. No matter how good you are, you are just one 10% tip or empty water glass away from remembering how capable you are of making a mistake. No matter how many cute college girls say to you at a party, “You are the guy that writes that blog? I love your writing style.” There will still be a ring of disaster around a high chair on your next shift. Learning to carry four glasses in one hand will impress a handful of guests, but they will still shout “oopah” when you drop one at the beverage station.
Without humility, you could never be a server. Mac Davis would have been the world’s worst server. The ability to laugh at yourself is what makes for career longevity. All the professional servers I have known have a fair amount of insecurity. We all take our mistakes with a grain of salt or several if the mistake is knocking over a salt shaker. This of course can’t be bad luck because if it was I would be a 35 year old server. (Try making this joke in front of your guests sometime if you want the least comfortable punch line ever.)
So thank you to all of you who read this blog or purchased my book. I promise to remain as humble as ever. None of this can go to my head as I still scrape gum off the bottom of tables. It was a pretty good week for this server, but I look forward to tying the apron back on and returning to life as a server. I am far more comfortable in that role. Being an author is fun, but it will never get me the thunderous applause I get from dropping a plate in a full dining room. I know where my true talents lay.