The last day of summer camp was Awards Day. The people in charge had decided that all the campers, even the especially bratty ones who repeated everything you said for hours at a time, were deserving of special recognition. With nearly 200 campers, we had to get creative, which is why some kid went home to her bemused parents and showed them her award for Best Rendition of “Fergalicious” Sung While Dancing on a Picnic Table.
In that same spirit, here are my completely meaningless awards for the 2013 season.
Best Use of Passive-Aggressive Bullying Tactics: Given to the self-described doctor (we later Googled her and discovered she was a psychologist specializing in overcoming emotional bullying) who attempted to coerce me into giving her a free dessert because, in her words, “I spent $47 at your establishment. No one told me the prix fixe had to include an entree. I think the right thing to do is to give me a dessert since I essentially paid the equivalent of what an entree would cost. I’ve ordered only appetizers before, and I haven’t had to pay for dessert! This is just not right. I definitely didn’t pay for dessert before and I shouldn’t have to pay for one now! You just tell [the owner] about this. I’m sure D will agree with me. You will tell the owner, won’t you?”
Best Five-Cent Tip Left by Well-Meaning Children: Given to the two boys wearing Polo Ralph Lauren shirts — the combined cost of which is more than I generally make during a lunch shift — who ordered steak and salmon and left $80 on a $79.95 check, despite one of them coming up to me and saying, “My friend is cheap so I left a little extra.”
Best Overheard at the Bar: Given to a woman with a Louis Vuitton purse telling another woman with a Louis Vuitton purse, “East Hampton has become like Madison or Fifth Avenue. Sag Harbor still has local flavor.” First-Runner Up: “I could pass out face down and still go to work the next day.” Honorable Mention: “I sucked face with a Venezuelan. I think.”
Best Interruption: Given to the gentleman who walked over to me from his table while I was in the middle of explaining the ingredients in the seafood mac-and-cheese to a young couple, and proceeded to shove his plate of steak under my nose and say, “This isn’t cooked right.”
Best Random Request: Given to the woman who asked, “Do you have black napkins?” First Runner-Up: “Do you have fake cheese?” Honorable Mention: “Can I have 10 fries?”
Best Misuse of Company Property: Given to the couple who bring their grocery bags into the restaurant and ask us to watch them while they go to a movie, saying they’ll get them when they come in for dinner after the movie’s over and would we mind putting the fish in our refrigerator until then?
Best Thing We Found in the Bathroom: Given to the woman (presumably) who left her underwear on the floor next to the toilet. First Runner-Up: A condom wrapper. Honorable Mention: A blond hair extension.
Best Compliment: Given to the man who said to the bartender about the Bombay martini, up, with a twist, she made him, “It’s not bad.” (What is with martinis? Don’t people realize it’s just straight booze in a glass? Why don’t they say, “I’d like Bombay in a martini glass. Can you shake it over ice first, because I prefer to get drunk on gin that’s cold”?)
Best Prediction About the Future of the World, Perhaps Even the Universe: Given to the woman who asked me for a French 75, and when I said I didn’t know what that was, I would ask the bartender, she explained, “It’s a gin drink. Gin and champagne. I guess it hasn’t made it out here yet. It must be a New York City thing. Just wait, in a few months it will be all over the place.”
Best Hope For Humanity: Given to the 12-year-old girl who told her friend, “The good thing about Red Bull is you can drink it and it speeds up your metabolism.”
I hope you all had a lovely summer. Please drink responsibly this holiday weekend, and if you need a recommendation for a charming Irish cab driver, I know just the person.