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In The Weeds: Look Grandma! I’m Famous!

December 1, 2009

Dec/Jan '09 Reader's Digest CoverMy grandma called my parents yesterday from her doctor’s waiting room in Florida and said she was reading the Reader’s Digest and saw my name in it.  She wanted to know if it was really me they were talking about.  My name is kind of unique.  Being that Reader’s Digest is the People Magazine for senior citizens, she was impressed.

But before we get to all that, I have to confess a few things to you today.  We’ve been seeing each other for a while now, and I feel it’s time.  I can trust you.  So humor me with a little therapy session, won’t you?

Okay. Well, the first thing is that my recurring dream is back.  No, not the one where all my teeth crumble and fall out and I am almost to the end of a college semester but have forgotten to attend class and can’t find the building to take the final exam.  The other one.  The one where I dream that I am working at The Capital Grille again.  I’m there, I’m working, I’m laughing with my co-workers, I’m talking to guests, I’m making money, and I’m doing it all on the sly.

Within a week of being fired (back story here), I started dreaming that I was still working at The Capital Grille but without my boss’s knowledge.  I would approach a table, take a drink order and start to tell them about the features when another server would whisper “Here he comes!” and I would dart around the corner clutching my server book tightly to my chest while waiting for him to pass, and then I would come back to the table to complete the order.  It’s so hilarious to imagine in real life, but it’s deadly serious business in the dream.

The dream went away for a few months, but now it’s back with gusto.  After a spirited Thanksgiving at my mom’s farm, where I enjoyed several root beers spiked with Stoli Vanilla that my husband had to mix in the back seat of our car (Baptist parents if you recall), I went to bed happy and content.  It was a classic holiday really.  My step dad even called my husband a “Palin-Hater.”  I told you, classic!  But that night under the influence of diet A&W and tryptophan, I had the dream again.  Only this time, my boss had invited me back.  I delivered martinis, opened wine, made sweeping gestures as I put steaks in front of eager guests with no anxiety, and my boss was smiling and chatting with me.  Just like old times.  After waking, it took me an entire day to shake the dream.  I was truly disappointed that it wasn’t real.

What does this mean?  Several things, I think.  First, it means I’m a total lame-o.  It’s a job.  A serving job.  Let it go already.  Second, I believe the new version of the recurring dream was sparked by the holidays.  The holidays were the best time to work at The Capital Grille.  Not only was the money amazing, there was just a special feeling in air from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve.  The holiday spirit is what it was.  Lastly, I really do miss the job and the people.  And I’m a total lame-o.  (Side note: I know from our site tracker that corporate people, the regional manager, and the GM keep track of this blog.  So I will speak to you directly here with two words.  Peer Review. Is there a statute of limitations on that?)

Surefire Stereotypes in Reader's DIgestAlright, confession number two.  I wanted to tell you about my Reader’s Digest article, but it uses my real name.  So, I have to tell you my real name.  And since I don’t think that I’ll be getting my job back or working in the serving industry anytime soon, here it is.  Charity Ohlund.  My name is Charity.  And I’m a blogging addict.  “Hello Charity.”

So here is a link to the full article, written by Michelle Crouch entitled 30 Secrets Your Waiter Will Never Tell You.  They reprinted my “Surefire Stereotypes” column as a sidebar, AND the article was featured on The Today Show yesterday.  A Reader’s Digest article and a third-hour time filler on the Today Show?  My grandma is beaming.

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13 Responses to “ In The Weeds: Look Grandma! I’m Famous! ”

  1. Mr. Smarty Pants on December 1, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Cool deal CJ. Seriously, that’s friggin cool!

  2. Dad on December 1, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    What a coincidence. In the dentist office reading Blog and there it was Reader Digest.
    By the way, you insult a fine publication like Readers Digest with a comparison to People

  3. Twitted by JackiMieler on December 1, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    [...] This post was Twitted by JackiMieler [...]

  4. Linh on December 1, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Yay Charity! Congrats on your newly found fame. Hope you don’t forget the little people, living in obscurity.

  5. katmcginty on December 2, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    I found your blog through the MSN article link, and I am sorry that you don’t have:

    a. your job back
    b. a steady PAID writing gig
    c. more entries for me to read

  6. Inna on December 3, 2009 at 12:43 am

    I feel personally offended by your comment about Europeans who always tip 10 percent. I am a European (with a European accent) who lives in the US and so do most of my friends, I have never tipped less than 20 percent. I am currently a broke student and even if I have a $15 bill I will never give a tip of less than $7, and that is the honest truth. I don’t know what part of town you have served in, but as a current New Yorker after reading your blog I and all of my friends who are of European origin feel personally offended. Unless you served in a touristy area, I do not see a valid point. You must have some nerve to claim that this happens always.

  7. teleburst on December 3, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Congrats CJ! I’m jealous . Can’t believe that they didn’t consult me .

    Inna, don’t be offended. You’re the exception, not the rule. And it doesn’t just happen in “touristy areas” either. Thank you for doing the right thing. I wish more foreigners would do the same. This is one generality that just happens to be true, regardless of where you work. No, it’s not always 10%. Sometimes it’s 5%. Occasionally it’s 12%.

    However, US tourists (even in “non-touristy areas” of the US) can be just as bad because they know that they won’t be coming back anytime soon (or their credit card is maxed out from all of the postcards, trinkets and hotel bills that they’re having to endure). Sad but true.

  8. cj on December 3, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Thanks for all the kind words everybody! And thanks for having my back Teleburst. If you read the original post of my Stereotypes column, Inna, you’ll see the disclaimer at the bottom that mentions how I don’t intend to offend anyone and that the list is meant to be light hearted. I dated a Brit for years who was an excellent tipper – probably from the training he received from me – but at any rate, thank you for being the exception. You have an accent that your servers will truly remember with gratitude!
    Original post found here:

  9. jackie on December 7, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    I hope you realize how many times a waitress “forgets” about food allergies and brings something containing the allergen and it is an unlisted ingredient. When ingesting a food can kill you it is always better to be careful and diligent than to be dead.

  10. cj on December 7, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks, Jackie, for your thoughts. If a food allergy can KILL you, I would just lead with that. Don’t mess around with “Excuse me waitress, but I’d like to let you know that I am allergic to onions.” Just say, “If you serve me an onion, I will die.”

    But I’m also confounded by the fact that if you could indeed die from one ingredient that any amount of reminding would suffice in your mind. Is it after reminder number 6 that you finally think, “Okay, now I’m sure I’m not going to die.” Little too Russian Rouletty for me.

  11. wat up on December 27, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    not always but often, a corporate man is tryin to show off his money, a corporate woman’s climp up can make her a bit stingy with money(but there are alot of other reasons).

  12. Don on January 13, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Really offended by some of your comments in Readers Digest. I’m one of those 50 and over females, and if anything, I’m going to tip above average. Two of my kids have worked in the food business. I know most of their income comes from tips. Some servers, waitresses, waiters, or as my daughter just informed me, she is now a personal consultant, don’t make much over minimum wage. I don’t mind tipping when good service warrants the tip. As a substitute teacher, I don’t make much above minimum wage either. No one ever offers me a tip for doing my job well, and I do!

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