My plastic hamburger. Doesn't everyone have one?
Today at 11:00am sharp I had lunch with my dad at Irma's Burger Shack.
"Eleven a.m.!" You exclaim. Why so early? Well, there is a very specific set of guidelines for having a perfect work-week-lunch with my dad.
"Dad Lunch" Best Practices:
1. Start early. Get in. Get your food. Don't get stuck waiting for your ticket when the real lunch rush hour hits.
2. Call ahead. Give dad a ring ten minutes before you're about to leave to come get him. That way he can almost perfectly time stepping out the glass doors as you pull up to the curb of his downtown government office building.
3. Order simply. Hope you don't get a waitperson who asks "do you want cheese with that?" or "what kind of dressing would you like?" He doesn't like to be asked too many questions. It make him very flustered and manically mumbly. Sometimes I think waitpeople think he's a bit Rain Man meets Ozzy Osbourne. They don't realize he's just playing it up.
4. Let him play it up. If he's in a really good mood he may announce to the staff as we walk through the door that we're the first customers of the day. Or that his favorite daughter is buying (he especially will do that if my sister, Kathleen, is with us).
5. Try not to get annoyed. Like by cheese or condiments sticking to his face. It's endearing. Whatever.
6. Tell him everything. Dad likes to hear about my life in this order: "what's new with the boys?" "what's new with work?" (my dad has a fantasy that he will retire and come work for my advertising agency as an "idea man" that just sits at a blank desk with a lightbulb and a chain that he pulls whenever he is struck by inspiration, and someone will scurry over with pen and notepad in hand and take down his brilliant concept) "have you heard from Donny lately?" and "what do you think about this thing Kathleen's doing?" The Kathleen thing could be trekking Everest or deciding to go gluten free.
7. Offer to pay. Because it makes him proud that his grown children can buy him lunch. But usually he pays because he likes to earn points on his Bass Pro Shop credit card. He's a good tipper, too. Usually by then the waitperson has caught on to the fact that he's not spazzy after all, but a really smart funny dad... with ketchup on his chin.