The case of the decrepit pickle

All I wanted was decent pickles.

But things are seldom that easy for me. Hence my recent lunchtime meltdown, which will be referred to in my memoirs as The Icky Pickle Incident of 2016.

It began one day when my lunch companion, let’s call him Paul, because that’s his name, and I visited a local dining establishment for sustenance. We both ordered hamburgers with pickles. I also ordered mustard on mine.

When our food arrived, I opened my burger bun and noticed there was no mustard. I also noticed that I had received two of the nastiest looking pickles I’ve ever seen. I caught the server’s attention and asked for my missing mustard.

“And could you please bring me some better pickles?” I asked, pointing at the ugly ones on my burger. She said she would gladly bring me mustard and more pickles, and left.

Meanwhile, Paul opened his burger and there lay two county fair grand champion pickles. He gave me a smug grin, and I rolled my eyes.

Soon the server brought me some mustard and a plate of pickle slices that weren’t much better than the original two. I examined them and selected the two most edible pieces. As soon as I put some ketchup on my fries, I would be ready to dig in.

I reached for the ketchup squirt bottle and … empty.

“Are you kidding me?” I asked nobody in particular.

The next thing I knew Paul was laughing so hard he just about spit out his perfect pickles.

“What’s so darn funny?” I growled.

“First the mustard, then the pickles and now the ketchup,” he said. “It’s just one thing after another with you.”

Perhaps Paul found this incident so funny because it came on the heels of my having been completely forgotten about two times in a row at another establishment.

The first time it happened I placed my order before Paul. They called his name shortly thereafter. Hmm, I thought, wondering why he got his food before me. After a few more people got their food, I went back to the counter and asked about my order.

“What did you order?” the manager asked. I told her and she checked her screen and said, “I don’t see that anywhere. We’ll get it right away.”

A few weeks later we returned to that same restaurant. Paul placed his order first this time. I then ordered the exact same thing. Paul’s name was quickly called. Then John. Then Shirley. Then Mike.

I went up to the counter and asked about my order.

“What did you order?” the manager asked. I told her and she checked her screen and said, “I don’t see that anywhere. We’ll get it right away.”

I took it well. I gnashed my teeth and tore my clothing and whined, “That’s two times in a row you’ve forgotten to make my food. Am I invisible or what?”

As I said, I took it well.

So perhaps I had a bit of a dill chip on my shoulder when the pickle incident occurred. Well, at least I provided Paul with some free lunchtime entertainment.

He laughed even harder the following day when we went to yet another restaurant for lunch. We again both ordered sandwiches with pickles. Paul even ordered extra pickles. When our sandwiches arrived, Paul removed his top bun to reveal five of the most beautiful pickle slices you’ve ever seen.

“Just watch,” I said, preparing to check my sandwich. “I’ll bet you anything I’ve got shabby pickles under this bun.”

I removed the top bun to reveal two pickles, or at least what was left of them. They were more like pathetic pickle rings. It looked like someone, or some animal, had eaten the centers out of my pickle slices.

“Perfect,” I said, as Paul tried his best to hold in his laughter. He kindly offered me one of his perfect slices. As he handed it to me, he said, “It’s hard being you.”

“Well, at least I have food,” I replied. “They didn’t forget me like that other place.”

I’m thinking of boycotting the forgetful restaurant … and probably pickles. And I’m hoping Paul’s new nickname for me, Shabby Pickles Showalter, doesn’t stick.