It was a most magnificent dream. Perhaps the most magnificent dream not featuring Alyssa Milano that I have ever had. I snuck back to the private dining room between shifts for a little piece and quiet. I must have dozed off for a second because I found myself in a judge’s robe behind the bench. As the defendant approached a catchy little theme song played. Then a voice came from the sky and I realized what was going on.
“In restaurants around the country rude and obnoxious guests grate on the nerves of servers. The worst offenders are sent here for justice. The defendants have all plead guilty and are appearing here for sentencing. Judge Dave delivers his own brand of justice here on The Server’s Court”
Now I didn’t know I had a brand of justice. I did have a brand of cologne about 10 years ago. It was called fryer musk. It was a combination of fryer grease and flat beer. I marketed it towards server groupies. It turns out there are no server groupies. If I ever run into the manager who convinced me to take my first serving job by telling me there were, I am going to dispense some justice on his ass. Anyway, back to the dream.
The bailiff brought in a man wearing a sweater that made me crave a pudding pop. Seriously people, Cosby sweaters are never making a comeback. They along with astrological symbol necklaces, jellies, and permed mullets are dead forever. The bailiff brings the man forward and hands me a file. I opened it, but could not read it. Apparently I am illiterate in my dreams.
The bailiff said, “This man has plead guilty to one count each of repeating an overused joke, falsifying a complaint, and improper use of sarcasm.” From the tone of his voice I knew it was a serious offense. So I asked the defendant to tell me what happened.
“I really enjoyed my meal. In fact, I used the free bread to clean the plate. When the server came to take my plate, I busted out with my best joke. I said, ‘tell the chef I hated it.’ That one always kills when I am out with the guys from work. Next thing I know I am in this courtroom.”
I turned to the bailiff and asked, “So if I sentence this guy, is he going to be able to write a letter to the corporate office complaining about me?” The bailiff shook his head. I pressed on, “Is he going to be back in my section for the next week stiffing me?” He shook his head again. I asked one final question, “So you are you saying that if I tell this guy what I really think, I can’t get in trouble?” The bailiff nodded.
I turned to the defendant and leaned towards him. In the unmistakable tone of a server pushed to his breaking point I addressed him. Not by shouting, but in sharp, concise, aggravated words that were accompanied by a stare that could pierce the soul of a mere mortal.
“Do you have any idea how many times I have heard that joke? I estimate that 80% of all tables make that joke at least once during the meal. If I have averaged ten tables a shift for the last fifteen years, can you imagine how many times I have had to pretend it is funny? It isn’t funny. It isn’t original. It is a failed attempt at humor that your server must suffer through in order to not embarrass you in front of all your friends.”
I was just warming up.
“Furthermore, I would love to tell the chef you hated it. Have you ever seen Gordon Ramsey on TV? I got three line cooks in back with prison tattoos that would make Chef Ramsey look like little miss sunshine. They worked hard on that food and your server worked hard to make it enjoyable. The best you could come up with is a sarcastic response in return? Really? You enjoy sarcasm? How about some of mine? That is a wonderful sweater sir. It doesn’t accentuate your bald spot at all. I am sure you wear it baggy for comfort and not to hide your gut. See, sarcasm can be fun.”
What came next surprised even me.
“So I believe that punishment should fit the crime. For spouting off with such a stupid and over used piece of sarcasm, I am sentencing you to even worse humor. Your sentence is return to your cell and watch the same Dane Cook comedy routine for the next 48 hours.” A gasp was heard from the courtroom.
The man pleaded with me, “but Dane Cook only has three jokes.”
I replied, “apparently that is two more than you know. Furthermore I am expecting you to make rock and roll quotes with your fingers every time he does. Now bailiff, get this guy out of my courtroom.”
The man wailed, as he was drug from the courtroom. Suddenly I hear a chant of “Dave, Dave, Dave” coming from those watching. Soon the voice came through more clearly. It was finally one voice. The voice was of the hostess attempting to wake me from my nap. She said, “table 23 just went down. They need separate checks and asked me to bring them bread.” Alas it was only a dream. Still it was a dream I hope to have again soon. Maybe next time Alyssa Milano can be the bailiff.