Sunday, May 10, 2009

From Hero to Zero

The odds are pretty good that you've never heard the name Steve Dublanica. Reason? His identity was closely guarded as he wrote, a blog based on his experiences as a waiter in a Manhattan restaurant.

Then he got a book deal! "Waiter Rant - Thanks for the Tip - Confessions of a Cynical Waiter" by The Waiter Ecco, a Harper Collins imprint $24.95 302 pages

He starts off strongly with a conversation with a cook (unprintable here) a la Anthony Bourdain. The book moves along with a little more whining than I like, but, hey! It's New Yawk! They do that there.

He recounts the customers -- the good, the bad, the indifferent. But at least the last third of the book is a downer -- "Why me, Lord?" He rues having been a waiter for most of his '30s (at approximately $200/night take home pay.) He regrets The Life which is the opposite of the 9 to 5-ers and the difficulty of having friends outside of The Life. Very tedious. Several times I wanted to yell, 'So -- quit awready!"

It wasn't until the appendixes that it got amusing again. 40 Tips on How To Be a Good Customer; 50 Ways to Tell You're Working in a Bad Restaurant; Items a Waiter Should Carry at All Times (or Have Close By) such as "Matches - lightning birthday candles, covering up the foul stench in the employee bathroom; burning the place down (use dupe pad soaked in Bacardi 151 as a starter.)"

If, despite my misgivings about recommending it, you do read it, it is critical to remember that it was written about a Manhattan restaurant which is pretty much the reverse of any of ours. We're not living on a thin shelf of concrete over miles of deep subway tunnels; our rats aren't nearly as big nor our cockroaches as hardy.

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