The day after my surgery in October, I surprisingly had somewhat of an appetite by dinner time. I had gone two days without solid food and a big slice of lasagna sounded amazing.
The strange part is, I'm not even a huge fan of lasagna. I like my mom's veggie-loaded version. And the first newspaper I worked at had a holiday party at a country club with a fantastic shrimp-and-white sauce lasagna that almost made me want to go through the buffet twice just to jam a hunk into my purse for later. Other than that? Not so much.
So when I requested lasagna, Jerry and my mom, who was visiting for a few days, looked a little surprised, but damned if they weren't going to track it down for me.
Fortunately, Jerry remembered the little Italian place in town. We didn't have a menu, so he crossed his fingers and called. When they confirmed that, yes, they do offer that beloved layered pasta dish, he placed a to-go order for all three of us and left to pick it up 15 minutes later.
He came back with two big bags and an even bigger story.
"WE'RE NEVER GOING THERE AGAIN!" he said, placing the food on the counter.
I had just mustered the energy to come downstairs for the first time all day and the excitement seemed thrilling compared to my magazines and crackers in the bedroom.
"The owner's a total cocksucker ... and I told him that," Jerry continued. "This is probably the only time we'll get spit-free food from there, so enjoy it."
After I instructed him to take some cleansing breaths, the story unfolded. Apparently, when Jerry got to the restaurant and said he had placed an order, the owner asked for his name. Remembering that the girl on the phone hadn't asked for his name, Jerry paused.
"What? You don't remember your own name?" the owner asked snidely.
I guess it took every ounce of willpower for Jerry to explain the situation.
Then the owner snapped something about it being Jerry's fault. So when Jer had the food in hand, he looked right at the guy and said, "FUCK YOU, COCKSUCKER."
I'm not sure if it was the stress of sitting with his drugged-up wife in the hospital the day before, his trying to come to terms with the entire reason behind the surgery, or maybe the guy really was a grade-A cocksucker. Either way, I didn't blame him.
And thankfully, the lasagna was good, but not so good that I'd risk eating it spit-filled. That shrimp lasagna? Hells yes. Even loaded with spit, I would chomp down every forkful with determination.
But after a few months of avoiding the restaurant, it started to sound pretty good. And this weekend, when we both felt like grabbing a little lunch before heading off to work our late shifts, the little Italian place called to me.
Surprisingly, Jerry agreed. Not only to order take-out (where the owner wouldn't associate Jerry with our food before it was packaged and bagged), but to actually go in and eat (where the owner would have ample time to desecrate our order).
We walked the few blocks to the restaurant and the smell outside prevented us from having second thoughts. As we passed the front counter on our way to choose a seat in the dining area, the owner stared us down.
Ironically, he looks a little like the guy who played the Soup Nazi on "Seinfeld," so I had no qualms saying, "If he gets ornery this time, it's my turn to shout obscenities at him."
And, thus, our new favorite game was born: Shouting Obscenities at the Mean Restaurant Guy.
Fortunately, his spit is hardly detectable.