It is said that one needs an Isosceles triangle of stability in order to be content.

One’s home life should be secure. One’s work should be stimulating (and hopefully financially rewarding) and one should be emotionally nurtured.

For various reasons I cannot lay claim to any of these conditions.

Furthermore, given that the average wage a server earns is a little over two dollars an hour, my financials (as Mr Micawber would say) are dependent on the grace of the diners.

When someone leaves a poor tip it is tragic. Worse, it is wounding. Damaging. Even maiming!

You’d think that because I live in a liberal county, money would be flowing like sand in an hourglass, but strangely ‘liberal’ doesn’t necessarily equate with ‘generous.’

Stupidly I see every table as a job interview. Often I feel as though I am found lacking: I am too old, too thin, too foreign….and possibly too…. clever?

On Monday night I was too clever.

I waited on a table of blokes from the mid-west. As has become the norm, at some stage of the night it is demanded of me to tell where I am from.

“From the kitchen,” I usually say. This response invariably elicits surprised laughter.

But on Monday night, Mr Minnesota became annoyed.

“She’s too smart for the likes of us,” he taunted. ‘She ain’t from Joisey.’ He thumped the table looking to his colleagues to endorse his view.

I was so mesmerised by a gob of Beechies gum that was migrating from the west side of his mouth to the east as he spoke like a mobile tooth (yes, in America grown men chew gum) that I hardly heard the threat in his voice.

When I took the cream and sugar to the table he affected to not know what a bowl of brown sugar was.

“Oh we are not worthy. We are not worthy.”

If giving is indeed the highest expression of potency I’ll wager he was endowed with a pair like wrinkled cashew nuts.

If one is stingy with one’s money one will be stingy with one’s emotions. I often wish I could tell the new girlfriend he’s trying to impress what a poor tip he has given me.

I want to scream at her retreating back ‘He’s the kind of man who will buy the inexpensive tickets…you’ll be so far from the stage Bob Dylan will look as though he could be hanging on a keyring!'”

Given that in America it is the norm to tip twenty percent, its perplexing there is a tendency to undertip. Not by a lot, but by say, a buck fifty.

Thus, instead of leaving a $16 tip on a bill that was $80, Mr Mingypants will leave $14.50 – after earnestly consulting the app on his iPhone 5 which tells him how much to tip.

Its just the tiniest little FU – one the size of the middle finger on a dwarf’s glove…

Haven’t they seen ‘My Blue Heaven?’ Steve Martin’s character says:

“I don’t tip. I overtip! That’s my philosophy!’

Thankfully there are some who do. No names no packdrill, you know who you are.

To the others –

Dear Customer,

I don’t know how many calories there are in the shrimp but I have heard it say that a foodie who thinks of calories is like a tart looking at her watch. Please don’t punish me because the oysters are too large, the steak too chewy, the fish too boney…its not even my fault that the table next to you was noisy.”

I am merely a food porter!

As Santayana said “Our dignity is not in what we do but what we understand.”