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January 15, 2014
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Jerry's Ink


I'm Losing It


It's a new year and I've decided to start it off by getting a few things off my chest. I don't want my unreasonable anger to linger. It will cause a year of heartburn.

I also don't want the people who are the subjects of my ire to suffer. I just want them to be humanely executed.

At the top of my list is the guy, who invented those little dark brown salt and pepper grinders that you now find in every single restaurant.

They don't work.

99.7 percent of the time they are empty.

That's because the restaurant staff never remembers, or knows, how to fill them.

So now I'm in a restaurant and my food arrives at the table. There is no salt at the table.

Why?

Don't ask!

It could be a chef who is a tyrant and insists his food is so delicious it doesn't have to be salted.

It's some sort of a trend and even the worst greasy spoon restaurants in a crappy food town like Utica, New York, think it's the sign of a great restaurant not to have a lousy salt shaker on the table.

Anyway, when my food arrives the first thing I ask the person who sets it down in front of me is 'May I have some salt?' Now, I know I'm sort of a weird looking guy and usually they look at me as if I'm with Immigration, so they nod with fear in their eyes and never come back to my table again.

As my food is getting cold I have to find another server. That takes some time. They finally come back with one of those cockamamie little brown, fake wood salt grinders.

Of course it's empty. Now my food is getting colder while the entire restaurant staff goes on a hunt for a grinder that has a single grain of salt.

Then by the grace of God somebody brings the only salt shaker in the restaurant. It's a good old-fashioned salt shaker. But that doesn't work either because at the beginning of the night the staff fills the lone salt shaker in the restaurant up to the tipity top. It now ceases to be a salt shaker because the salt is jammed against the top and you can't shake it.

When you do as I do, and unscrew the top, the salt explodes all over the table and my food. That's when I start chanting:

"Death to the inventor of the useless salt grinder."

"Death to the inventor of the useless salt grinder."

"Death to the inventor of the useless salt grinder."

You would be surprised how fast the service improves after that.

Now let's talk zippers. Let's talk about the problem that I'm having with zippers on my winter jackets. Remember when zippers were simple? One slider which you formed when both halves of the zipper were meshed together so you had one pull tab slider, which you pulled up and presto you were warm and happy.

Then some fashion maniac decided that it would look better if two pull-tabs were on top of each other. This involved an operation where everything must be lined up perfectly.

You must hold down two pull-tabs in your left hand and try to get the little metal/plastic part on the end in your right hand to mesh perfectly.

For me it's like trying to thread a needle while blindfolded and riding downhill on a bike you can't steer because your hands are full. It never works.

It's not just me. The other day at Michael's restaurant in New York City the entire staff was trying to help some poor soul whose zipper obviously had gone up on a bad angle and he was trapped in a heavy coat.

For a while it looked as though they were going to have to call on "The Jaws Of Life" to extract him.

Death is too good for the inventor of the double pull-tab zipper. I say we strip him naked in a Minnesota winter and watch him try to get a double pull-tab zipper coat on before he freezes.

While I'm ranting I want to talk about old age. It sucks. Just the other day Mick Jagger turned 70. Can you imagine a 70-year-old Rolling Stone? Someone should point out to Mick the physical changes that happen to a man at 70.

For one thing when he wakes up in the morning and starts to make these horrible sounds in his throat. He will find out that every 70-year-old man is made up of 97.9 percent phlegm.

And finally let's talk about death by cell phone. Is there no way to stop these idiots who cross the street against the light, not looking at traffic, with a cell phone stuck to their ear?

The phone was always seen as an instrument of death in my family. When I was a kid in Brooklyn, we didn't have a telephone in our house and had to depend on a phone call going to Barney's Candy Store on our corner.

When one of the kids who hung out in front of the candy store was dispatched to our house to tell us we had a call, my mother and father would say in unison "Somebody's dead."

My Grandmother would fall to her knees and start to scream and cry for all of our relatives calling their names out in sort of a roll call of her favorites. She would prayerfully add the word "Not" in Italian before each name. "Not Pasquale. Not Guiseppi. Not Nina. Not Ida. Not Cheech . . ."

By the time my father came home with news about the call we were all exhausted with worry. It was never a death. Most of the time it was just a relative who wanted to talk.

Once my father came home to proudly tell us that he had "hit the numbers" and had won $600, which was about four months salary for him. My Grandmother continued to cry even as we celebrated. She just didn't want to waste a good, wholesome bout of hysteria.

Now you know where I get it from.

If you wish to comment on "Jerry's Ink" please send your message to jerry@dfjp.com.

  1. print email
    January 15, 2014 | 12:09 PM

    you my man are too fucking funny

    tesch
  2. print email
    zippers
    January 15, 2014 | 12:27 PM

    Enjoyed the zipper comment. Not for nothing am I the family zipper maven who is asked to un-jam a derailed slider for my grandkids.


    Arnie
  3. print email
    Let's X the Xmas advertising
    January 15, 2014 | 05:13 PM

    How about Christmas advertising after Thanksgiving--oh wait they now begin on Labor day--

    While we are at it how about killing the unreadable nonsensical Captcha words we have to type in to submit our comments on this site.

    Michael Travis
  4. print email
    "Monk" Knows Best
    January 15, 2014 | 07:16 PM

    Jerry ... Without a doubt, one of your best columns ever. Couldn't stop smiling as I read it.

    Meanwhile, having always been called "Monk" by friends dining with me in a restaurant, here's the way to have a better dining experience:

    1) After being seated, survey your table top and re-arrange everything the way you want it to be. Get rid of all "promo" cardboard and put it on the table or seat next to you.

    2) Then, determine what's missing ... Like salt and pepper, knife, fork, or spoon, napkin, menu, wine list, whatever.

    3) When the waiter finally decides to come over and ask if you'd like a drink or cocktail before ordering, say "Yes" ... and then tell him/her that you'd also like S

    Bill Crandall
  5. print email
    salt grinders. yes.and while you're at it
    January 15, 2014 | 07:31 PM

    Great post. Now. Can we get on with the kill the guy who "invented" those milk cartoon pull-downs. Death to you, pal.

    mardel monet
  6. print email
    "Monk" Continued ...
    January 15, 2014 | 07:38 PM

    My previous commmentary was cut short for some reason, so here's the rest ...

    3) When the waiter finally decides to come over and ask if you'd like a drink or cocktail before ordering, say "Yes" ... and then tell him/her that you'd also like to see S

    Bill Crandall
  7. print email
    Forget About It
    January 15, 2014 | 07:40 PM

    I give up! This post isn't posting, so nevermind. BC

    Bill Crandall
  8. print email
    Truth Be Told
    January 16, 2014 | 07:22 AM

    Funny, true and validating too!

    Linda Walder
  9. print email
    SAlt
    January 16, 2014 | 07:07 PM

    Jerry,
    I know just how you feel. My mother was a wonderful cook, kosher Jewish east European cuisine. It was delicious. However, every now and then, I felt a need to add some salt (pepper didn't exist in that world). It was a crisis, an insult. How was it possible that we little pishers could improve on her cooking! We approached the matter with utter trepidation, and, of course. it was met with a steely look directly at us.
    Also, how did it happen that the wonderful Jewish cuisine of eastern Europe has for the most part gone by the wayside? Every ethnic restaurant in the world is all over New York. Jews, more than a fifth of the area, have to go hunting for Jewish culinary pleasure, and they find only a handful. An embarrassment. This is a serious historical-social discussion, the Americanization of a whole people.... but only us. You guys from Bensonhurst, Italians, terrific food, you, and everyone else, your restaurants proliferate. What happened to us Jews?


    Larry Kuznick
  10. print email
    Utica
    January 17, 2014 | 10:22 AM

    Utica "a crappy food town"...some of the best Italian food I have ever had has been in UTICA!!!!!


    Kathy
  11. print email
    Give Utica a Try
    January 17, 2014 | 05:47 PM

    To commentator Kathy's post ...

    Ever wonder where mob rats and whistle blowers go after testifying?
    The U.S. Federal Witness Protection Program!

    And where are they relocated? To places like Utica. Which explains the availability of great Italian food almost anywhere outside of NYC. In fact, I know a great Italian restaurant in Peoria that has the best ... LOL, Bill Crandall

    Bill Crandall
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