Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Amusing Anecdote

I mentioned the Sylvania Diner in this post and was reminded of an incident involving my younger brother Shotgun Bob, who is about ten years younger than I am (now how do you think that happened?), and the head chef and owner of the Sylvania Diner. Any of you men out there who have a younger brother should empathize with my position in this situation immediately; to any who don't, this is typical.

Bob and I used to eat at the Sylvania Diner every once in a while, mainly because we were hungry, we wanted breakfast and it was close and easy to find. Let me enlighten all those reading this who don't know: When you've been drinking heavily all night and want coffee in the morning followed by some food, the very last thing you need is to drive around looking for a place that's open, serving breakfast and not filled cheek to jowl with noisy humanity. The Sylvania Diner fulfills these requirements, and since it featured a large smoking section the soccer moms and dads would cart their tribe of chimpanzees to a different zoo where they could throw food pellets and dispense merry hell to a more tolerant crowd.

One particular morning when Shotgun Bob and I were at the diner Bob's hash brown potatoes were undercooked, causing him to flag down the waitress and send them back, telling her to "Just put Chef Torch on it; he'll get 'em cooked!" The waitress laughed and that was that. You'd think so, anyway.

About a month later I stopped in for breakfast and noticed that the cook was glaring at me through the order window. Well, maybe he was having a bad day. The service was good and the food wasn't any better or worse than usual. Then I had a week where I ate breakfast out about every other day, and since the Sylvania Diner was close and free of soccer families, I'd choose it over everything else. Every time I went in there, the cook glared at me like he wanted to throw a skillet at me. I stopped going for a while, but then I came back. After all, it could be my imagination, right? So I'd come back in and suffer the cook's dirty looks. The waitresses were so nice to me and happy to see me I figured what the hell, right? When you're a beat half to death fifty something it doesn't hurt your feelings to have a cute young waitress smile at you and bring you your coffee before she waits on a bunch of other guys. Am I right? This went on for months.

Then one day the waitress giggled and told me that Chef Torch wasn't working this morning, but that she would see to it my hash browns were cooked thoroughly. Chef Torch? I laughed. What's this deal?

"Oh, sure - Chef Torch. All the girls started calling him that ever since you started it with the hash browns. Especially when he gets on our case about something."

Okay, wait up here. Since I started it? Me? I didn't bother to deny it. What's the point? The damage was already done and the real miracle is that I didn't find some ground glass in my scrambled eggs. Likely the waitresses have been looking out for me. I tend to leave generous tips, and did so that day.

I called Shotgun Bob and explained what was going on. Bob laughed until he choked.

"Chef Torch! I love it! Who would have thought they'd remember something like that." Bob started laughing again.

"Yeah, that's a real howl alright. What if that guy had poisoned me or something?" I asked.

"Oh, well, good old Chef Torch wouldn't do anything like that. Chef Torch! What a scream! And you say the girls call him that?"

Yep, they did alright. The poor man remained Chef Torch right up until he sold the place. The new owners remodeled it and changed the menu around. Clearly the cooking has improved, but somehow eating there just isn't as much fun as it used to be.

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