I have participated in an unique and absurd tradition for over 20 years. My brother and I both actually. There may have been just one time when I forgot to "do" this in all of the past 20 years. Other than that, I haven't missed one time. That's quite the statement, especially after you read what the tradition is. I suppose the origin is a good place to start with this one, rather than just coming out with it, beginning in some kind of shock-value fashion. Otherwise I just sound like a really odd guy with an even more odd mental condition.
When I was around 9 or 10 years old going out to eat at "sit-down" restaurants was quite the treat. "Sit-down" places such as Bennigan's, Tia's, Pancho's, The Alamo, Pizza Hut, or many of the Reno, NV casino buffets is what I'm talking about, not the "white tablecloth" status places. We didn't do this too often when I was especially young, so whenever we did, I remember being pretty excited.
On one occasion as the dining experience came to an end, we all got up to leave. My brother, 7 or 8 years old at the time wiped his mouth with the napkin, waded it up in his hands, threw it down on the table, and remarked quite loudly, "I've HAD IT with this place!" as if to say that the restaurant had greatly displeased him, and he, a 7 year old boy weighing 60 pounds, was leaving in utter disgust.
I don't know where he got this, truly I don't. We both thought it was one of the most hilarious things one can ever say in an eating establishment. Since then, even to this day, at the end of every meal at a sit-down place, I have continued this. I love it- a lot.
Over the years my mom got accustomed to it, but she used to get pretty upset about it, especially if we got a bit loud. She would say, "You might make people think you guys are begin serious!" But who trusts the culinary judgment of a 10 year old when they ordered the cheeseburger, with no tomatoes or lettuce, and the dinosaur chicken pieces?
Since childhood, here are the revised "stipulations" that I go by:
- there must be a server/waiter involved in the meal to whom you tip on the bill
- when everyone enjoying the meal is ready to leave, I stand up, take one last sip of my drink, use my napkin to wipe each side of my mouth, crumple it up, throw it down on the table, and exclaim, "I've HAD IT with this place." Then, leave the table with complete satisfaction.
- I have since added this too- the louder I say it, the more disgusted I look, the more it might be believable, the better the eating experience was. For example, Applebees on a friday night - though nominally tasty, not too much of a fuss is made, and I might say it under my breath. Sushi Main Street in Half Moon Bay, CA with the Lawsons or Melting Pot with the Schrutes - very animated, loud projection, and quite awkward.
This is why for years, I am always last to meet to grab the Starlight mint or toothpick after the meal has concluded. I will be last out of the exit door, at least 8 steps behind everyone.
Confession #2- I participate in, and have for almost 20 years, an absurd dining routine. It is childish and ridiculous. But that will not keep me from teaching it to Annabella.
from wilmore, with Love.