When Jerry Met Harry

Sometimes, life imitates art. I was reminded of this the other day when Tara and I went out to dinner. We were at Red Lobster, taking advantage of a Facebook coupon that gave us $10 off two Lobster Fest entrees (hurry – this is a limited time offer), when we encountered a character straight out of a Seinfeld episode.

Our waiter was a Low Talker.

You remember the episode, right? Jerry and Elaine are having dinner with Kramer and his new girlfriend Leslie, whom they dub a Low Talker because they can’t understand a word she is saying. Jerry mentions that he is making a guest appearance on The Today Show to promote a benefit for Goodwill, and inadvertently agrees to wear the Puffy Shirt that Leslie has designed. “You can’t wear that,” Elaine says. “You look like the Count of Monte Cristo.” Here’s a clip.

God, I miss Seinfeld. Pure comic brilliance, I tell you.

Anyway. That was our waiter Monday night. He introduced himself and might have talked about the daily specials. Or perhaps he was mentioning the weather, or telling us to kindly go $%#@ ourselves. We couldn’t tell, because we had no idea what the hell he was saying. Just like in the Seinfeld episode, we were all “What?” and “Excuse me?” And also, just like in the Seinfeld episode, we got to a point where we just nodded our heads and agreed with him. “Mmm-hmm,” we said, regardless of the fact that we didn’t have the faintest clue what he was saying or asking or suggesting. Fortunately, our food was delivered correctly, though he did initially overlook applying the coupon.

And then, to make matters worse, there was a lady in the booth across from us who was a character straight out of a Rob Reiner film. Specifically, she was the title character played by Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. The female title character, of course, a real-life version of Sally Albright. Remember how particular Sally was when ordering food in a restaurant? She was notorious for ordering in the most complicated manner possible, and liked things “on the side.” Here’s a clip from that movie.

Hilarious stuff. But fake. Not so on Monday night.

“I want the shrimp,” this lady told the waiter (who fortunately was not the Low Talker; there’s no telling what would have happened if those two worlds had collided). “But I want exactly four ounces, no more and no less. And I want the broccoli, but I also want four ounces. That’s a total of eight ounces. And I would like a salad with ranch dressing, but I want the dressing on the side.”

I kid you not.

The poor, frazzled waiter had to check with his manager to see if this was even possible. He came back and told her the shrimp weighed something like 4.3 ounces before cooking, but would shrink down to 4 ounces by the time it hit the plate. She was apparently satisfied, but if you ask me, I wouldn’t be surprised if the chef hawked a loogie in her clarified butter. There’s picky, and there’s picky verging on ridiculous. This woman was way beyond both. So, after we paid our bill, I told Tara I was going to walk right by her table on the way out and call her Sally. Sure enough, I made a detour, passing by their booth. I looked at her, she looked back, and I said, “Bye, Sally!” 

That was immensely gratifying. I have no idea if she made the connection – I high-tailed it out of there right after – but, come on. She had it coming. If you’re that particular about the food you eat, don’t go out. And if you do go out, don’t sit across from me. I am not afraid to call you out on it.

Joie de Vivre, folks.

Nothing To Crow About

Last week I was reading a blog by The Paranormalist – Renae Rude, in which she sang the praises of crows. I replied that I have a love/hate relationship with the creepy black birds, only minus the “love” part. She then challenged me to write about my hatred of crows while she would take the opposite approach and talk about her love for crows.

Does he look evil, or what?
Does he look evil, or what?

Don’t get me wrong: there are some crows I can stomach. Like Counting Crows. (But mainly their early stuff, “Omaha” and such, not the Shrek dreck). But the birds? No way. I can’t stand them. Ms. Rude calls them “smart” and “mischievous” and that is precisely what I hate about them! I am creeped out by the idea of a smart bird plotting ways to mischievously take a dump on my just-washed car (or worse, my just-washed hair). Most annoying of all is the fact that crows are loud. And they’re not just loud, they’re loud at inconvenient times, like 5:00 in the morning. Many a time I have been awakened by their godawful caw caw caw caterwauling outside my window. Once, I even sat up, pulled back the curtains, and yelled, “Shut up!!!” at a bunch of crows making a racket, but they didn’t listen to me. Because crows are so smart, I am convinced they are completely aware that they are bothering sleeping humans with their cries, and take great pleasure in doing so. Which makes them smart and mischievous AND ALSO evil. Oh, and I think they’re ugly. Please don’t pull the race card and say it’s a black thing either, because I love ravens. But ravens are not crows. How do I know this? Well, have you ever heard a crow say, “Nevermore?”

Didn’t think so.

(Please note that I like ravens, but not the Baltimore Ravens, because they beat my Denver Broncos in the playoffs last year and can go take a flying $&^# as far as I’m concerned).

Often, I’ll be driving down the road, and will see a crow or two digging into somebody’s discarded fast food bag. This actually happens a lot, which makes me wonder if tossing your not-quite-empty fast food bag out the window when finished, instead of finding a proper trash receptacle, is a “thing.” Who knows. Anyway, whenever I see crows in the road eating cold french fries instead of worms, I always step on the gas and try to swerve and hit ’em. Oh yes, I do. I’ve never been successful – they always fly away at the last possible second – but one of these days, I will be responsible for “a murder of crows.” And I’ll probably feel good about it, too.

In summation: Seinfeld good. Real-life Low Talkers bad. When Harry Met Sally good. Real-life picky-as-hell Sallys bad. Crows: the devil’s spawn.

Feel free to comment on any or all of the above.

15 thoughts on “When Jerry Met Harry

  1. I can’t stand low talkers…they drive me crazy…even if it may be partially my fault since I am 90% sure I have a small hearing loss that aims specifically at the low sound end of the spectrum. However, I’m not even 30 yet and refuse to truly address this issue until many moons down the road.

    I would have died laughing at the “Sally” lady…I may have even developed and evil streak and sent the low talking waiter over to her table telling him there was something she was needing and her waiter wasn’t around…just to watch how those two worlds would collide 🙂

    On a side note, hooray!!!! My computer actually let me comment, it has not been wanting to load pages properly so I can comment and since IT won’t give me all the major passwords I can’t install the necessary updates.


    1. I’m glad you’re able to comment! And, it’s funny you should mention a hearing loss…that’s my area of writing expertise these days. I research hearing-related issues all the time. If you ever want more information, let me know and I can point you in the direction of some good resources. (Trust me, hearing loss affects people at much younger ages these days thanks to the proliferation of iPods, etc.).


  2. LOVED both clips, Mark!!!!!!!

    I HATE low talkers, and do you know why? I actually think they do it intentionally so that you have to ask them over and over again, “What did you say?” It’s a way for them to get attention. I once knew a guy who did this constantly. He talked so low that you couldn’t hear him even if you were in a library.

    ““But I want exactly four ounces, no more and no less. And I want the broccoli, but I also want four ounces. That’s a total of eight ounces. And I would like a salad with ranch dressing, but I want the dressing on the side.”

    OMG…I surprised the chief didn’t come out and STAB her with a steak knife!!!

    Crows: I know a lot of people who feel as you do, so I understand. But I have to say, crows are actually my favorite bird. In fact, I’m not really a bird person at all, but crows I love. I love how they look and I love their smartness.

    Also, I LOVE your new template design. It’s AWESOME! LOVE the lava lamp!


    1. I love crows too, Ron. DEAD crows. Heh. (Sorry!). As far as favorite birds go, obviously I’m keen on owls, although my parents would say the only good owl is a dead owl. Funny how we’re all different birds of a feather.

      Interesting theory on Low Talkers. I never considered that they might be talking that way on purpose. I think Tara and I should have just responded to our waiter in low voices, too.


  3. Lava lamp? What lava lamp?

    I, too, love the new design…but I’m not seeing a lava lamp.

    Okay…I’m with you. I dislike crows almost as much as seagulls and pigeons. They are all pretty smart, they are all devious, they are all carrion eaters and to me, they are pretty evil…especially the crows.

    Happy to hear that I’m not the only one who tries to run over those stinking birds. I believe you have to be driving over 70 mph in order to do so. Might want to ask Tara. She decimated a bird once.


    1. The lava lamp is immediately to the left of this white dialogue box, but the background image automatically adjusts to the width of your screen, so you may not be able to see it. Gotta admit, it’s pretty cool – and perfect for me!

      70 mph, huh? At least that’s easier than hitting the 88 mph necessary to go back to the future!


  4. That’s crazy! I have had so many of those “Seinfeld moments” before. The best one was probably when I asked the lady in the stall next to me in a public bathroom for toilet paper since I was out, and she completely ignored me and walked out. Absolutely bizarre, but I couldn’t help laughing and thinking about the lady who didn’t have a “spare to square” for Elaine!


    1. Love it! Can’t say I’ve ever had a “can you spare a square” moment myself, but then again, I’m a guy so my public stall time is considerably less than yours, I’m sure.


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