Some people rub me the wrong way and Phil definitely falls among them. He’s a friend of Jimmy’s I’ve mentioned before. You may recall him as the slovenly guy who ate finger foods at lunch one day, after taking a crap and exiting the men’s room without washing up! As I’ve learned from two subsequent get-togethers, he’s also a cheap, conniving braggart – qualities which really irk me. Yet the third time’s the charm and I don’t expect Phil to brag much more once the wager at our luncheon today plays out.
I initially witnessed Phil’s trio of bothersome tendencies in action a couple of months ago. It was the first time he’d joined Jimmy, Matt and me for lunch since our inaugural meeting last October. This time around, I avoided the men’s room altogether and insisted on everyone ordering separate dishes!
Phil selected the priciest item on the menu, filet mignon. After consuming half of it (with gusto), he sent the dish back. He said the meat didn’t “taste right.” Rejecting the server’s offer to bring a replacement filet, he instead ordered a burger, at a fraction of the filet’s price!
When the waiter walked off, Jimmy explained Phil’s conduct: “Richard, he always does that. He eats half his food, returns it, and switches it with a lesser item off the menu. He’s a master cheapskate!”
Phil didn’t disagree. To the contrary, he bragged of his ability to perform the same maneuver at any dining establishment, no matter how pricey. His pronouncement made me detest him all the more.
I ignored his braggadocio that day, but not this afternoon. During our third lunch outing together, Phil regaled us with an expansive forecast of his upcoming trip to New York City. He also pulled the old food switcheroo again, exchanging his half-eaten lobster tails for a Cuban sandwich! That’s when I saw my opportunity.
Interrupting his diatribe, I challenged: “You swear you can pull your food switch at any restaurant, with any entrée, right? Well, I’ll bet you a hundred bucks I can find a place and dish where you won’t be able to eat half without paying something for it!”
Backed into a corner, Phil had no choice but to accept. The only question remained how to prove the outcome. But I’d prepared an answer for that one: “Take one photo of you with the dish and one with you and the dish half-eaten. And make sure they show you sitting at the same table at the same restaurant. I’ll tell you which day to go, and you bring back your receipt dated that day, at lunchtime.”
I expect to be a hundred dollars richer upon Phil’s return in two weeks … after he’s dined at Norma’s restaurant in Le Parker Meridien Hotel and ordered a tuna sandwich in replacement for his half eaten “Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata” – the $1,000.00 a plate Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata, that is!