(Don't) Eat at Joe's

Every time my family drives past Joe's Crab Shack, I know that at least three people in the car are all thinking of the same thrilling event:

One Sunday, when my mom was out of town, my dad took Joon and me to Joe's for lunch after church. Joon and I had been there before, on a Sunday night, but my dad had never been. We both loved the atmosphere of the restaurant, where the waiters would dance in the middle of the floor and sometimes yell through one of those loudspeaker things to the entire place.

We're not a big seafood-loving family (this dates back to the tragic Salmon/Asparagus Dinner of 1983), but Joe's serves hamburgers and chicken too, so we weren't too worried about that.

But, of course, we didn't take our waiter into account.

So look, it must be a very tricky thing to be a waiter. I have had waiters just slide into the booth with me, talk to me like they've known me forever, call me sweetie and honey and doll and angel, hit on me, hit on my sister, and spill stuff on me--sometimes all on the same night. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it is just creepy.

Our waiter at Joe's Crab Shack was probably an aspiring comedian. The kind who has an axe to grind with everyone and whose comedy is driven by a childhood of neglect.

All three of us--my dad, Joon, and I--ordered hamburgers for lunch. The waiter gave us a funny look, but wrote down our orders and promised to bring them right in.

The next thing we know, here he comes back with a BULLHORN, and he is speaking through it and POINTING AT US.

Okay, so we are a very low-key family; none of us likes draw attention to ourselves, and just about the WORST thing you could do is ask a waiter to sing "Happy Birthday" with his buddies at a restaurant. When my dad turned fifty, we went to El Porton for his birthday dinner, and he had SPECIFICALLY told us that he didn't want to have anyone singing to him. So we all went along with his wishes, except Joon's husband MJ (who was just her fiance at the time), who asked for a birthday package with all the fixings. So now there is a picture of my dad hanging on the wall in El Porton in which he is wearing a giant sombrero and his face is beet red and there are a bunch of Mexican people standing around him. I think he almost tried to talk Joon out of getting married after that.

Anyway, back at Joe's Crab Shack, our waiter was making an announcement: "I want everyone to look at this family over here. All three of them ordered HAMBURGERS for lunch! They must not know what restaurant we're in; this is a SEAFOOD PLACE! On the count of three, I want everybody to MOO at them! One, two, three, MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!"

I think I lost consciousness, because I don't remember eating dinner or leaving the restaurant. I just know that it's been almost eight years, and we haven't been back.

And I'm pretty sure that waiter didn't get a tip.

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