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Thanksgiving Dinner Choices

Thanksgiving is almost here, and I’m all atwitter with anticipation. In celebration, I plan to once again partake in the age-old tradition of gorging myself with an embarrassing amount of food, creating gastro-intestinal problems the like of which are rarely experienced in industrialized countries.

This year my family and I are planning on eating out Thanksgiving Day and are in serious discussion regarding the restaurant we want to go to.

Thanksgiving meal options - Charles MarshallRestaurant selection is a big decision that you don’t want to botch. The main issue, as I see it, is whether you want to be waited on or would rather go the DIY route known as the buffet.

If you choose to be served, then your greatest challenge, of course, will be your server. Servers are a strange and mysterious group of people who have their own language and moral code, not unlike the ancient Druids or the David Hasselhoff Fan Club. Those attempting to interact with them must be aware that their language and ours do not necessarily mean the same things.

For example, when the server gestures toward your empty plate and says, “Can I get that out of the way for you?” he really means, “It’s time for you to go now.”

When a server places your check on your table and says, “Can I get anything else for you?” he really means, “It’s time for you to go now, but leave your credit card.”

When a waiter serves your food in a timely manner with a smile on his face, it usually means he did something gross to your entrée back in the kitchen.

Eating at a restaurant with a wait staff has other drawbacks too, like being served by an overworked staff who would just as soon see you choke on a roll than have you ask them for another glass of tea. Because they’re desperately trying to avoid having one more thing to do, these waiters often wait until your mouth is packed like a chipmunk’s before asking if you need anything else.

There’s no way to win in this situation. Your best alternative is to attempt the complicated motor activity of chewing while shaking your head “no.” You’ll most likely wind up looking like a bobble-head doll but that’s infinitely better than the alternative, which is holding up your empty tea glass and saying something like “May ah pweeb haf pum more pea?”

Personally, I would prefer to eat at a buffet, providing:

A] I could get permission to scoot my chair up to the buffet and eat right there instead having to be bothered with all those pesky trips back and forth to and from my table, and

B] There was some type of national standard (or law, if you will) to dictate behavior in the buffet line—namely, just choose a food type, put it on your plate, and move on already. I always get stuck in line behind the guy who weighs each food selection as though he’s making an important life decision.

It’s not an organ transplant. It’s not a home purchase. It’s lunch. Make a decision and move on!

So, when you’re home this year nibbling on your third helping of turkey and sweet potato pie, think of me at the restaurant, and hope the server hasn’t done anything gross to my food.

© 2023 Charles Marshall. Charles Marshall is a nationally known humorous motivational speaker and author. Visit his Web site or contact him via e-mail at


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