I recently had the privilege to serve a group of gentlemen that I might have recognized if I knew anything about sports. As I graciously attempted to get the dozen or so of them carefully corralled and comfortably seated with their favorite beverage in their hand, one man insisted on getting my attention the entire time.
“I promise I will get to all of you,” I said with my big cheerleader smile. “When you all get settled in and find a spot, I promise we will get this party started.”
“Party! At least she knows she’s serving celebrities,” the same man barked out.
“I believe all my customers have value, sir,” I said as I dropped a coaster in front of him on the table we had pre-set for their weekly reservation.
Then, directing my attention to what seemed to be the table’s self-appointed wiseguy, I asked him with a smirk, “So, what’s your pleasure?”
After a couple of minutes and a few extra trips back and forth behind the bar, everyone was finally seated and subdued with their cocktails. Just then, one of the men began roasting my new wiseguy. Most of these men were old enough to be my dad, if not my granddad. If they had no shame in sharing funny tales, I was open to whatever they threw at me. Humor has no age limit to me. If my guests are requesting me to indulge in spreading some laughter while I am serving them, by all means, I am here to please.
“In all honestly, Billy is legendary,” one of the other gentlemen said about my knucklehead.
Immediately, Billy perked up as though he had just heard the last number called on his winning lotto ticket. By now, all the other men were flinging off-color statements back and forth— the kind of inside jokes only long-time buddies would understand.
None of these guys expected me, the newbie at the club, to be able to keep their drink order straight, more or less to be quick and clever enough to play with them while I kept the spirits flowing. They surely didn’t know I was witty enough to burn their “legend” on his turf on my first time up at-bat.
“Well, Miss Smartypants, can you handle a good joke?” he asked.
“Oh, yes, sir. I can,” I giggled before taking a quick moment to introduce myself to my new buddies formally.
I brag that I, too, had a pretty fancy title as “America’s Funniest Waitress.”
Then, I explained that I have a pretty extensive collection of jokes, and although, rare for me to hear a new one that I haven’t already heard before, I would immensely enjoy hearing what he had to offer. I had already heard the first three jokes he tossed at me several times, so I ran with the punchline in my usual Betty Boop cutesy way and scored big with his buddies. Every time I got up to bat, I hit home runs without even trying. I had so many stories banging around in my head that it would look like a lit-up pinball machine if you could see inside.
I thrive on showboating, and my work release from my grandma/wife sentence is only two days a week. It is always my pleasure to go to work and have the opportunity to mess with total strangers for a change.
A couple of rounds in on their cocktails, it dawned on me that I forgot to ask if they wanted this all to be on one check or should I have been keeping track individually. At that moment, I had been too busy talking crap with my customers to ring it all into the computer correctly. “Are you guys going to be on one check?” I barely managed to ask before Billy jumped up out of his seat, pushed the armchair on wheels out from behind him, pulled out his wallet, and tossed me one of his platinum credit cards from across the table.
“You missed,” he snickered.
“You stink at pitching,” I barely said before laughter broke out.
It was so rowdy that even my manager checked on the racket. It was as if I had just said something super hysterical, yet somehow I was not privy to what it was. I was stumped, and these grown men were almost in tears. I tried my best to cross-reference what I had just said that could have triggered this response, but I was coming up blank.
Next thing you know, a different gentleman from the group interrupts and finally introduces me to my new pal. It turns out Billy is a retired professional baseball pitcher. Go figure?! Leave it to me to tell a “Hall of Fame” baseball player he stinks at pitching. I uplifted his friends with my ignorance of whom I was serving. According to his buddies, who were also well-known retired sports figures, he pitched for Babe Ruth. Wow! That’s a name I did know, and I’m sports illiterate.
I was so excited to tell my husband, Joe, who I had served at work. Looking back, if the man had simply said Billy went to school with George Washington, I would have understood the reference and knew he was pulling my leg. He did not. I ran home with that story, to which my hubby, as usual, quickly informed me how gullible I really am.
If Billy is only in his mid-70s, like I guesstimated, then there was no humanly way possible for him to have pitched to a man that had died just about the same time he was born.
“Nice try,” Joe giggled. “I hope they at least tipped you well, considering how silly they made you look.”
“Oh yes, they did,” I said, pretty proud.
Once I got Billy’s credit card in my hands, he was silly enough to tell me to add in whatever gratuity I thought I was worth. “You haven’t learned anything during our time together, have you, Billy? I asked while waving his American Express card around in my air.
“You better check with his wife first before adding anything to that card. I believe it’s her name on it,” his friend laughed.
Next thing you know, they all start to leave. One man said, “Here, Billy, I’ll help with the tip. It was well worth it watching her strike you out!”
Then, as they each thanked him and gave him knuckles, they tossed some money into a pile on the table. Not to mention the generous amount Billy left me on the credit card because, as he put it, he felt obligated. Either way, it was another win-win work day for me!
Laugh on. Peace out!
Lisa DeMarco is columnist for Villages-News.com.
Columnist Lisa DeMarco recalls serving cocktails to a group of rowdy male customers.