Source: The Independent

I'm Losing It

by Jerry Della Femina

January 15, 2014

Itís a new year and Iíve decided to start it off by getting a few things off my chest. I donít want my unreasonable anger to linger. It will cause a year of heartburn.

I also donít 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 donít work.

99.7 percent of the time they are empty.

Thatís because the restaurant staff never remembers, or knows, how to fill them.

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


Donít ask!

It could be a chef who is a tyrant and insists his food is so delicious it doesnít have to be salted.

Itís some sort of a trend and even the worst greasy spoon restaurants in a crappy food town like Utica, New York, think itís 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 ĎMay I have some salt?í Now, I know Iím sort of a weird looking guy and usually they look at me as if Iím 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 itís 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. Itís a good old-fashioned salt shaker. But that doesnít 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 canít shake it.

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

ďDeath to the inventor of the useless salt grinder.Ē

ďDeath to the inventor of the useless salt grinder.Ē

ďDeath to the inventor of the useless salt grinder.Ē

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

Now letís talk zippers. Letís talk about the problem that Iím 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 itís like trying to thread a needle while blindfolded and riding downhill on a bike you canít steer because your hands are full. It never works.

Itís not just me. The other day at Michaelís 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 ďThe Jaws Of LifeĒ 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 Iím 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 letís 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 didnít have a telephone in our house and had to depend on a phone call going to Barneyís 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 "Somebodyís 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 didnít want to waste a good, wholesome bout of hysteria.

Now you know where I get it from.

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