>Dear William Preston,
I got your name from your American Express Platinum card – the one you used to pay the bill for dinner for yourself and your friends the other night at our restaurant. I’d like to thank you all for coming, for being only slightly threatening when I told you we were dangerously low on heirloom tomatoes, and for making self-effacing jokes about how you would be my “nightmare table,” which you followed up with a laugh that suggested you weren’t totally joking.
In fact, you were all perfectly lovely. I enjoyed how easily and swiftly you chose your wines without asking for my help (someone’s been reading their Wine Spectator!) and I loved hearing the sound of your laughter for the hour and a half after you paid out. It was the carefree, melodious laughter of the upper middle class, content in the knowledge that your Lexus SUV was right out the window where you could see it, that your gated community home was safe from harm, and that vigilant forces like Sarah Palin and Bill O’Reilly were at work against our evil Socialist (might we even suggest Nazi?) administration and their attempts to make us Sweden.
I particularly enjoyed the fist bump you gave me on your way out the door that said, Hey, we totally appreciated your awesome service to the point where it kind of feels like we’re friends now! I half-expected to open the check presenter left on the table to find a “Great service” tacked on, as I often do whenever a guest leaves one of my tables so fulfilled that he’s moved to physical contact.
But instead of such a comment, there was written: “Col. 3:23” on the credit card slip, just above the amount (over $400) and the tip ($50). Now, I admit, it is easier for me to figure out percentages in my head (12.5%) than it is for me to recall the latter half of the New Testament, so after consulting the internet, I learned that your message to me – at this point, now serving as an explanation for such an incredibly low tip – was this:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
Thank you, William Preston, for those words of inspiration and guidance. Words that no doubt inspire you to wake up every morning and make your own money, which you then spend on nice (but not too nice) dinners with friends, which you then pay for, write off as a business expense, and then complain about our government taxing you to death.
I took a cue from you and wrote this Bible verse on the memo line of my rent check, but wouldn’t you know it, that heathen landlady of mine just wouldn’t accept less money, even though this month was pretty lean. I also tried it when paying for my dog’s expensive medications, but the vet explained she doesn’t work for men OR the Lord, she works for Terriers.
In trying to make sense of the generosity of your spirituality, Mr. Preston, but not of your wallet, I prayed. I prayed good and hard. I dug deep and silenced any anger I might have felt at your hypocrisy, any distress at the loss of what would have been $30-40 more (had you been anyone else), and any sadness I felt at how undermined the serving profession is in America – even at finer dining establishments like mine where the employees study wine and food passionately and make the every whim and desire of perfect strangers their priority 32-40 hours a week.
I set all these negative feelings aside and asked God to help me understand where you were coming from. Were you implying that instead of serving what I thought was a man, I was really serving the Lord? I admit I would never have guessed, given the table’s obsession with discussing bisexuals and Catholics.
Or were you implying that service is its own reward? I thought, does this mean that I ought to be happy with the $2.13 per hour that I make and not be so greedy as to expect tips in excess of 15, 18, even 20 (!) percent? Are you, William Preston, with the American Express Platinum card content with the money you make?
The answer, I think, is simpler than all that.
You are just a giant turd.