Updates for Thursday, February 26th [2004]

Curb Your Jefferson

2/26/2004

DEAREST FRIENDS,

Yes friends, I have been very busy looking for work, and have filled out applications every day for the last two weeks, since the day of my firing. I had an interview yesterday with a place called the Radio Shanty, and they have hired me, although I am confused as to what they do. Natalie has been encouraging me with my problems, so we both went out to a bar cafe yesterday, and we sat in the up a stairwell seated the back and talked. 10 minutes had passed, we didn't know where the waiter was, so I came down and called him over.

Waiter: Sorry sir, I didn't know you were going to sit out in the fucking back of the bar, you hiding or something? I can take your order if you're ready.

Me: Oh I do apologize, we were not aware of the etiquette, why is there seats in this back expansion if no attendees are going to observe them?

Waiter: Well it's slow as hell today, so we have no way of telling if someone is up here. You guys need to tell people when you come in.

Me: What if, perhaps, you had a bell at the tables? Then you could ring the bell to alert someone to your presence?

Natalie: That's a stupid idea Tom, then we'd have people ringing bells all over.

Waiter: Yeah dude, that's really dumb. Anyways. Can I take your order now?

Natalie: Oh yes, I want a Reuben sandwich, some mozarella sticks, and a cola.

Waiter: And you sir?

Me: Oh, I think I will be fine taking one of these pork salads, but please, only half the measure of pork you usually give. Oh, and a beer, this brand, Miller, seems very familiar. I knew a man named Miller once, he brewed the finest beer, had some citizenship issues though...

Waiter: Okay. I'll be back.

(it was at this point the waiter took his leave)

Natalie: Did he seem a little rude to you?

Me: Perhaps. I'm not too familiar with customs it seems. We probably should not have sat here without telling him, per his instructions.

Natalie: That's no big deal, so, how go things with James moving in?

Me: Well, he seems to be picky about many things about the place, and the couch is very uncomfortable. He seems dishonest with Daniel about things that I do, in particular.

Natalie: Sounds like he should have to take a polygraph test, hehe.

Me: Now, the polygraph, an excellent device. I always feel the need for one when I'm writing, as I occassionally like to keep a copy of a letter for my personal archives.

Natalie: Tom, what are you talking about?

Me: A polygraph. I used to have one in my own home. Finest invention of our age.

Natalie: I don't think you're talking about a polygraph, you know, a lie detector?

Me: It detects lies and copies letters? Amazing.

(it was at this point the waiter came up and dropped off several baskets of food)

Waiter: Alright guys, here's your stuff. Enjoy.

Me: So, I have my schedule at the Radio Shanty written here, on this notecard. I will start there soon, and perhaps will earn enough favor with Daniel once again to sleep in a room.

Natalie: He treats you like shit, Tom. If I wasn't in the process of moving closer to downtown, I'd offer to let you stay with me.

Me: I surely would not impose, plus, there are things Daniel knows that I must extradite from him before I may leave. Wait a minute, is this double the pork on this salad? How much pork could one salad have?

Natalie: Oh, the waiter must've messed up your order. My mozarella sticks haven't come yet, when he comes by to drop them off, we can tell him then.

He, however, did not return for the duration of our meal. We had to issue summons for him to bring our bill, after we were done eating.

Waiter: Sorry guys, I forgot you were up here. Okay, here's your bill, can I get you anything else?

Natalie: Well, I did have an order of mozarella sticks you forgot.

Waiter: Are you sure? I have it here on the tab.

Me: She is indeed most certain. Oh yes, and look at this massive excess of pork, I asked for half.

Waiter: Aha. I apologize. This must've all been the chef's fault. See, I have it written here on the bill, he must've mixed the order up. So sorry. Anyways, here you go.

Natalie: Wait a minute, can you strike the mozarella sticks from the bill? I mean, we didn't get them and all.

Waiter: Oh, okay. You sure you didn't get those?

Natalie: Yes!

Waiter: Okay, okay, no need to get your titties in a twist. Here you go, all fixed.

We paid our tab and mulled for a moment before leaving. Natalie gave me $25 that she told me she'd lend me, and told me from that, to decide what the tip would be and to leave it on the table. I was quite confused as to what a tip was, I don't understand why I'd leave money out on an open, empty table. For what? The waiter to pick up? Isn't his wages and salary paid from his employer? I was confused so, not knowing what to do, I got up from my seat to find her to leave.

As we made our way to her car, I had a stunning realization.

Me: Oh no. It seems that of all the things, I have forgotten my notecard.

Natalie: Notecard?

Me: Yes, that notecard I wrote down my work schedule upon. Remember, when I showed it to you? Instead of placing it back in my breast pocket, I left it on the table.

Natalie: Well, just go back and get it, Tom.

Me: That place was unpleasant, I don't particularly want to go back.

Natalie: Just go back and get it Tom, I'll wait out here. Go.

Me: Okay, I shall return.

So, it was that I entrepidely returned to the cafe, and when I walked in I went up to the table, which had been cleared away. I found the waiter, to ask him what had been done with the contents of the table.

Waiter: So you lost a notecard, eh? Had some important information on it?

Me: Yes, indeed. Please, could you tell me where to locate it?

Waiter: Let me just ask a question first, did you like the meal?

Me: Oh, yes. Besides the excessive serving of pork, it was good.

Waiter: And the table was good? It was great, wasn't it?

Me: It was okay.

Waiter: And the service was good?

Me: It was... fine.

Waiter: Well you see, typically when we provide good service, a customer pays us with tips, and you didn't leave one. I make my living off my tips. Must've slipped your mind. Yeah, so, I cleared off the table, since that's my job. I'm in the middle of something right now, so maybe you can go back there, in the kitchen, where we throw all the garbage. Cheapskate.

So it was that I ran out into the back, and dug through a pile of garbage, but indeed I could not find my notecard. I do not have their phone number, and I knew not if tomorrow or the day next was my first day of work.

So it was this morning I spent the day walking over to my new place of work, to acquire my schedule in person, only to find that I did not work today I like I thought but indeed, I worked tomorrow. All because of this waiter from hades.

To you, my friends, I apologize for the long period of absense. It has been a couple of weeks since I have written last, but things have been problematic and busy since being fired, as my free time has been occupied with looking for new work. I will be sure to return with more as things develop. Adieu,

- Th. Jefferson

Editor's Notes:

This TeeJ update is inspired by the HBO original series "Curb Your Enthusiasm" starring and directed by executive producer and co-creator of the hit tv series "Seinfeld", Larry David. The show depicts Larry in many hilarious social situations, that are really all-too common. Fans of the show will probably recognize certain situations in this update that parallel with Curb episodes (particularly the restaurant scenes in episode 4 "The Bracelet" and episode 9 "Affirmative Action", the bell reference is from episode 21 "Chet's Shirt" - a shirt that I own by the way - and there are a couple other Curb-esque things sprinkled about). But more importantly, Curb is filmed in a specific way, and I used that as inspiration for the post.

For instance, this post was done on the fly. Once I got started, I just stormed through the dialogue, little correction was done after. In Curb Your Enthusiasm, the dialogue is totally unscripted. Secondly, Larry David often uses real life situations as inspiration for Curb, so I decided to open with a real-life situation I had: I went to a cafe with my friend Xavier to sit and eat in the back and it was kinda a big deal that we sat back there and didn't tell anyone, and felt like a total asshole afterwards for not knowing the etiquette. They forgot our mozarella sticks, too, but unlike this post the waiter was nice and when he gave us the bill he didn't argue with taking those mozarella sticks off, and I gave him a respectable tip afterwards.

Of course, that wasn't the extent of tidbits thrown into this piece. Jefferson ate meat, but he wasn't fond of it, which is what I'll poke at with things like the pork salad incident. Ellen Coolidge said that "the little meat he took seemed mostly as a seasoning for his vegetables". The comment about Miller beer has an interesting, although irreverant, side story to it as well.

Captain Joeseph Miller and his daughter were leaving on a ship towards Norfolk during the time where the war was beginning between the colonial Americans and the British at the start of 1812. It was seized by French privateers and then British ships of war and didn't reach Chesapeake Bay until February 1813. Problem was, the ship was turned north by American blockades, and when he finally got to Norfolk, he was forced further inland by American authorities due to his British citizenship. The man finally came to befriend Jefferson and locales, and it seems that Jefferson and Miller hit it off because Miller had been trained to brew beer - which Jefferson loved. So Jefferson fought to get Miller's citizenship, which he acquired by lying about Miller's origin (in a quite symbolic lie, he said that Miller was born in July, 1776 in Maryland... which itself is a comment on how Jefferson felt about citizenship for the hard-working immigrant). Miller even helped train Peter Hemmings, one of Jefferson's estate slaves, to brew beer for the estate.

Of course, Miller is in no way related to the popular Miller brand brewery or their family. Miller and his daughter were forced to start from scratch, but once they had gotten citizenship, and his brewing skills became in demand, Miller settled in America as a free and financially established. His descendants even live on his late Farmington estate in Albemarle, North Carolina to this day.

The polygraph crack was actually aimed at one of Jefferson's favorite devices - the polygraph - which was a dual-pen holding machine that allowed someone to write with one pen and have the second pen make identical strikes on paper, to copy letters and other important documents. Jefferson loved it and used it often. Of course, a polygraph today is designed in a similar way - it holds writing lines which move in tandem, but they don't trace hand motions, they trace heart rhythms and other responses which help report whether or not the subject is telling the truth. Of course, good ol' TeeJ doesn't know the difference.


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