Friday, August 10, 2007

Waiter, There's a Fly In My Salad

#279 Waiter, There’s a Fly In My Salad

Feinstein and Rabinowitz are the last two Jewish waiters in New York. They’re sitting together at a table in back of Katz’ and relaxing after the lunch rush. Feinstein has a copy of the Daily News and a bottle of Sam Adams and Rabinowitz has a club soda and a headache.

Feinstein is leafing through the paper and sees this article about how all the boroughs are having minority majorities now and says “Shlomo, we may be the last two Jewish waiters in New York.” Rabinowitz looks up from his headache and says “Not true. There’s Solomon yet at the Carnegie.”

“No,” says Feinstein, “He’s half Iranian. That doesn’t count.”

Rabinowitz thinks about this for awhile and says “weren’t we all kicked out of Iran?”

“Yes,” says Feinstein, “that’s howcome Solomon got here. But he’s still not completely a Jew. Plus he’s too polite.”

“And no more Jewish cabbies, and no more Jews in the Garment District. How can you have a Garment District without Jews?” adds Feinstein.

Then, he taps his finger on the item in the paper and says “See this, right here in the ‘Mirror?’”

“Fifty years the Mirror’s been out of business, and you’re still talking about it. It’s the Daily News!”

“News, Mirror, what’s it matter (I have been wondering why I can’t find Winchell’s column anymore.) Anyway it says here 33 million what-do-we-have-to-call-them-this month—African Americans? And how many Jews? Maybe six, seven million all over the country. So who’s the minority?”

“We don’t count. So, what do you care. You have a nice family, you have a nice place, you have a good job?”

“That’s not the point. The point is, seven million to 33 million. And how many millions of Mexicans and PRs and DRs? I think it’s time we rose up as one and demanded to be counted in this minority thing.”

“Oh c’mon, we haven’t risen up as one since Moses in the desert.”

This is when the door opens and in walk Ted and Charlene Nicely of Pebble Plateau, Iowa. Tourists. Gawkers.

Feinstein folds up his paper, finishes his Sam Adams and says “I’ll take this one. You rest and take care of that headache.”

At the Nicely’s table, Feinstein hovers over Ted and says “So what can I get you.”

Ted wants a ham on rye. Feinstein launches into the soothing, diplomatic explanation of why there’s no ham on the menu, a smooth and polished presentation that only years of table service at a place like this can produce.

He says: “You want ham? Go to Blarney Stone. There’s one right down the block. I’ll point you when you leave.

Ted Nicely does not understand why there is no ham. But, true to his name he elects soup and a salad.

“What kinda soup you want?”

“What do you have?”

“We have chicken noodle, tomato, matzo ball and cream of celery.”

“What’s ‘matzo ball?’”

“Oy. It’s chicken soup but with a matzo ball instead of noodles.”

“What’s a matzo ball?”

Feinstein sighs heavily and says “you don’t want it. It’s not good today. Have the cream of celery.”

Charlene orders a salad.

“What kind of dressing you want with that?”

“French?”

“French? You kidding? Those Arab-loving wimps? You want the ranch. Besides, it’s fresher.”

And I’ll bring you each a glass of tea.

The food arrives. Charlene says “Waiter, there’s a fly in my salad.”

“Oh,” says Feinstein. “So sorry, that belongs in his soup.”

And that’s where he puts it.

Now the Nicelys will have something to talk about back in Pebble Plateau.

Feinstein goes back to his table and reopens the Daily News and looks for Winchell.

Rabinowitz still hasn’t finished his coke. Or his headache.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

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