Friday, February 12, 2016

Embarrassing Moments #1

I have to preface this story with a little background.  First, I am at heart a country boy.  I don't care for big cities and I'm not into fancy things.  My idea of an upscale restaurant is Olive Garden.  This began to become a problem when my success as a software designer put me in close contact with wealthy city people.  In my memoir I tell of being embarrassed in an exclusive Miami club when I told the waitress I didn't care for their biscuits only to have her blurt out too loud, "That's not a biscuit, its a bagel."  Well I'd never seen a bagel, so how would I know.  I also need to explain I am also the oldest of three brothers and both my younger brothers are gay.  And that in 1986 I legally changed my first name to Clayton.  My name had been Roger since birth. That should set the stage well enough.

My youngest brother Lance and I had just completed a long hard week installing our software for a customer in Philadelphia.  As is the case with most software jobs, we'd had major problems and had worked through most of the previous night, so Lance and I were exhausted.  To celebrate the job's completion the customer and his top three people took Lance and I to dinner at a posh Philadelphia restaurant.   All of us were giddy from fatigue and stress, but none more than Lance and I.

A server delivered water and other fancy restaurant paraphernalia, and explained that our waiter would be with us in a moment.  As she said this our waiter, a young man who was obviously gay got our attention and mimed that he'd be right with us.  Without thinking I said something insensitive like, "Great, a fag waiter."  My gay brother knew me well enough not to be offended, or if he was offended was numb to my boorish ways. Our customers on the other hand went silent with shock.  I realized I'd stepped in it, but I'd never cared for political correctness so I doubled down.

"Have you ever noticed that all gay waiters are named Ricky.  What's with that?"  Again, no response, so I continued.  "He'll come over and say," then in my best gay voice I said, "Hi, my name is Ricky.  I'll be your server."  I sensed everyone was about to laugh at my great gay waiter imitation, but all went quiet when our gay waiter walked up to the table.  When the poor guy stopped, all of our eyes went to him expectantly.  I was praying, "Please be named Ricky, please."  In a gay voice nearly as good as mine our waiter said, "Hi, my name is Roger.  I'll be your waiter."

Recall that my name at the time was Roger.  There was no holding back.  Everyone at our table exploded in uncontrolled laughter.  I felt bad for poor Roger, but I couldn't control my laughter any more than everyone else.  Of course the joke was on me, but it was hilarious.  We weren't actually asked to leave, but it was clear we were no longer welcome, so we found a restaurant that didn't require a reservation.  Something more to my speed.

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