I want to give a shout out to all my customers that have recently stopped by the restaurant merely to compliment me on my column’s head shot. Today’s column is directed at you. I would like to thank all you lovely ladies for all your kind words. However to all you “Wise Guys” that have approached me about the age and validity of that photo, “Kiss my grits!”
I would like you all to know that every photograph I use of myself has been taken by my dear friend Tara, who is a gifted artist and an honest woman. So don’t make me make her testify and swear under oath, in front of a judge, in a court of law, that she DOES NOT Photoshop my pictures! I hate to brag, but I really do clean up nice for a Cinderella. Just one wisp of my fairy Godmother’s magic wand and you would be amazed at how good I can look. Yep, I blend in most situations.
For example, I am sports illiterate. I literally have no interest in any type of sports event. Yet I get invited to all the parties. Why? Because I make great snacks, and I am so OCD that I cannot help but keep your house clean and your guests happy, while you actually get to enjoy the game. Plus, if you have kids, grandkids or pets, I become an instant nanny too.
Another one, I am not a very strong woman. I barely weigh in at a buck, and I admit I have Olive Oil’s arms. Don’t let that fool you though, because with my classically-trained ballet balance, I can carry a fully loaded tray like any full grown man. I can also strut in 6-inch heels, with a tray on my head, while walking up a flight of stairs carrying pitchers of beer in my hands. Trust me, I can. Not to mention, even though I’ve lived over a half a century, most adults at first glance – especially on a playground – think I am a child running around like a monkey with all the other kids, until they get close enough to realize I’m just a “youthful grandma” dressed like a 12-year old.
You know what they say, “Kids keep you young!”
I disagree with that, because I do not feel like his presence has rejuvenated me like a dip in the Fountain of Youth. Instead I feel like he has aged me in dog years, making me at least 350-years old?!
So why does everyone always play the Superman / Clark Kent thing with me when they see me out and about? I understand my hair is down and not in my usual ponytail, and yes, sometimes I do wear my contacts instead of my glasses, and, believe it or not my wardrobe does hold more than just my work jeans, Tshirts and Chuck Taylors.
But hello?! It’s me. Skinny, loud, my specific bone structure. How can I just remove my glasses and take down my hair and suddenly all the rest of my distinguishing features seem so unnoticeable? I mean seriously. Most people know me by my voice alone. They don’t even actually have to see me when they enter the building, all they have to do is hear my voice and they know I’m here. So how do these same people not recognize me when I’m standing right in front of them saying my hellos? I’m telling you it’s the “Superman Syndrome.”
I mean I could show up to work in a full body mascot costume and the second I open my mouth anyone who knows me would immediately be able to tell who it was. If I just said the word “coffee” at Billy’s every regular customer in the past 10 years would know it was me.
I will never forget this one situation. I had left a job of 15 years during the off season, and when one of my special snowbirds returned to Florida she found me missing. After asking one of my unfriendly ex-coworkers where I was, her response was, “She is no longer with us.”
Sadly, my elderly buddy took the cryptic message in the wrong way, and literally thought I had passed away, so you could only imagine her amazement when she walked into the local grocery store a few days later, and according to her own words, she heard my voice from across the aisle and almost died. When she turned around to see my “skinny little butt,” she said she knew instantly that it was me.
However, without me knowing anything about any of this prior to that moment, I too was a bit alarmed when I suddenly felt this 4 foot 8 inch, 80-plus year old woman, hugging my midriff like a small child would that had just been reunited with his mother after being lost in the mall for an hour.
Every time I’m out – usually with my 5-year-old grandson – I have to run into at least one male customer that just refuses to believe that I am the same woman that serves him his breakfast every morning at Billy’s. I know it must seem like I’m a bit of a man basher, but the facts are the facts. No woman would ever have the nerve to say to me the silly things that these men have no shame in asking!
So yes, when I talk about my “Wise Guys” or “the gentlemen,” it’s only because I’m trying to be as accurate as I can, not because I’m trying to prove that my gender is intellectually superior or that we have a higher level of common sense. Trust me, over my 40 years in the hospitality industry, I have heard it all especially in regards to my body size or desirability. But I don’t care. Customers are not here to judge me nor am I supposed to judge them, so next time you see me at the square or at one of the local eateries with my family, try not to say stuff like, “Oh Lisa, I didn’t think that was you. You look too pretty. I hardly recognized you dressed.”
To which I will always reply, because I’m a Jersey girl and I have no shame, “Really sir, when was the last time I served you naked?
On that note, remember to be nice to me when you come to Billy’s. First of all, because you should never bite the hand that feeds you. Secondly, don’t forget I’m only here on probation. So don’t make me call one of my cousins up north to come down and straighten you out. Here in Florida they don’t even need a clean up crew after their visits thanks to the alligator population. What happens down south dissolves in the south. So be friendly to your servers, or it could be your last meal. Kapeesh?!
Oh, by the way, before rumors run rampant again through the square, today’s picture HAS NOT been edited. If it had been my nose and mouth would not appear as large. hee hee
Laugh on. Peace out.
Lisa DeMarco is a waitress at Billy’s Cafe and a columnist with Villages-News.com.