The Importance of Trying To Be Larry David
Photo by Angela George [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
If I'm being honest with myself, which is rarely the case since rationalization and self-delusion are a lot simpler and less painful, I want to be Larry David. And I could be. If I were more talented and successful. A lot more of both. The reality is I am way more George Costanza than Larry David.
But, earlier this week I was able to, for one brief shining moment, enter a state of Larryism. This is because a lunch I went to this week turned into a full blown Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. And I got to be the star.
Wednesday was, apparently, National Meatball Day. I don't know if that is a real thing, but one Italian restaurant in town claimed it was, and sent out electronic coupons to help hungry folk celebrate this glorious day by offering spaghetti and meatballs for a measly $5. Including salad (or soup if you are so inclined, which is shameful if you are).
Mine only came with two meatballs, but you have to admit this looks delicious. Photo by jeffreyw (Mmm... meatballs) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The marketing was effective, and no one wants to be the person accused of ruining an important national holiday, so a group of us went to the restaurant for low priced pasta and balls of meat.
Lunch was fine - delightful even. When I received my bill, I was charged a whopping $5.46 for the meal. The restaurant honored their deal, and we had helped observe the completely legitimate occasion.
So excited was I, and so filled with pride in my celebration, that I paid with cash, which is a rarity in these troublesome times. So, I slapped down a ten dollar bill (a Hamilton, if you must in order to be trendy and so on), and waited for change while basking in my post-meatball glow. When the change arrived, the waiter (a very nice and efficient fellow), gave me back $2.45. At that point he left.
Now is when Larry David entered the picture. I stared at the money and tried to parse out how we got to $2.45 change from a $10 bill on a check that was $5.46. No amount of cyphering could get me there.
Now, this is not one of those rants about having to tip. I always tip. Even when service is terrible I tip. I usually overtip. Because I am not a monster.
The thing is, I actually INTENDED to tip $2. That's a whopping 40% (pre-tax!). So, I wasn't upset that the waiter had kept $2. (Or, $2.09, I think. This is entirely too complex an equation to work through). My concern was that if I didn't explain the situation to the waiter and didn't leave an additional tip, he'd think I stiffed him. And I wasn't concerned he'd talk bad about me; he doesn't know who I am. My concern- truly - was that he would think I was intentionally not tipping, and he'd feel bad.
I spent about five minutes waiting for him to come back, explaining the dilemma all the while to my co-workers. Who did not care. They were like a chorus of Cheryl Hinses telling me to just leave a tip and not worry about it.
Just tip for the meatballs, Larry!" Photo by David Torcivia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons