Life’s Little Lessons Vol. 3

February 1, 2010

Fake plants are code for "surprisingly expensive."

Have you heard the expression, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade?” It means making the best of bad situations. Here’s another “what if” situation for you to ponder, pulled from the 24/7 lemonade stand that is your life.

You’re out on a blind date. It’s been a pleasant evening, if a little expensive. You signal the waiter for your check.

As your waiter ignores you, you gaze deep into your date’s greyish-blue eyes. You think, “This could be it.” After several misfires and several thousand dollars, you may have finally landed a keeper.

Sure, the language barrier is slowing down the conversation and you seem to recall her profile photo being blonder and shorter, but all in all, an attractive woman.

The conversation has been a little awkward as she keeps inquiring about your personal net worth and bank account numbers. She also keeps mentioning someone named “Alexi,” who at various points is either in the import/export business, a pimp, her ex-husband or her current boyfriend.

In fact, discussion on this presumably armed and dangerous “Alexi” has chewed up a fair amount of the evening as you attempt to determine which country he is in currently and whether or not he has a valid visa.

There has also been a lively discussion about her name, which also keeps changing. The only constant that has held up all night is that she believes her full last name is “Parashkova.ru.”

Your waiter, having finished smoking a joint with the line cooks, returns to present you with your check.


Holy fuck.

There’s no way this is right.

But of course, it is. Your peroxided companion looks at you expectantly, while sneaking discreet glances at the total. Her dull grey eyes light up briefly when she spots the “$,” the only English word she’s familiar with.

You quickly do some mental math and realize that no single card in your wallet has that much remaining on it. You blindly flip through your cards and come across your “ace in the hole,” stuck between an Amway rep’s business card and a cracked condom bearing the phrase “Party like it’s 1999!”

Your Diner’s Club card, issued in 1981 and last used before the turn of the century.

The presentation of this card will remind management to have a busboy scrape that logo of the front entrance window.

Your waiter picks up the check and dubious credit card, staring at you balefully for a beat or two.

“Thanks. I’ll go have this rejected and be right back.”

Your date smiles vacantly while you gaze into the middle distance and explore your options. You also notice that all the silverware is missing from the table.

Finally your waiter returns with your card and barely-contained smirk. As you brace yourself for the inevitable, you notice that the adjacent tables are suddenly swarming with attentive wait staff, all very slowly and nonchalantly refilling water glasses.

“I’m sorry, Mr. X…” Except he says your full given name. Loudly.

“…but it is our policy to only accept REAL credit cards, not those issued in ads located near the back of the Saturday Evening Post, or those requiring a time machine and a bad moustache to verify.”

A burst of laughter escapes from one of the nearby waiters, inadvertently (and inappropriately) punctuating a patron’s anecdote, which had just gotten to the point where the surgeon found yet another inoperable tumor in his mother’s lungs.

“Our manager would be more than happy to work out payment details in person. If you’ll follow me…”

You tell Katarina Parashkova.ru that you’ll be back momentarily, gazing briefly and hatefully at her nearly untouched filet mignon/lobster combo meal and the several completely finished champagne bottles.

She tells you that she has to use the restroom. She gets up and heads to the ladies’ room, which she apparently believes is located somewhere in the parking lot.

As you and most of the wait staff make your way back to the manager’s office, you spy your vehicle passing by the front windows, driven by a pony-tailed and dangerous-looking man in an ill-fitting suit. Parashkova.ru is riding shotgun and displaying a new set of table settings.

So. What have we learned? Or more importantly, what haven’t we learned? After an experience like this, it’s probably wise to deal with only hypothetical questions for a while. It will keep you from realizing there are really no good answers to questions such as these.


Here’s an inspirational poster.

Ah. That's better.

Coming up next on Life’s Little Lessons:
Shoplifting: My Anti-Drug



  1. CLT,

    Oh, how I’ve missed your insightful yet “not really relating to me” life lessons.

    True story, whenever anyone asks me a unique life-related question, I always refer them to your blog. I say “I’m sorry, but I can’t help you with that. But I know someone who can…”

    I then give them your website address and proceed to change my phone number and block them from my email, so they can no longer bother me with their social-ineptness and/or extremely awkward personal issues.

    But I digress.

    Now, I realize that your last question (re: asking us to talk about what we haven’t learned) was hypothetical, but I was wondering if it might also be rhetorical as well? Only because I don’t think I have enough time (or keystroke life-expectancy for that matter), to answer it in a way that I feel would be adequate for a man of your intellect.

    I mean, I could say that I still haven’t learned why these men who can’t get a local girl to look twice would think a Russian model-type would like them for “them”, or who the fuck still buys Amway anymore for that matter, but I think you’ll agree that those answers are just the tip of the “yet to be understood real-life lessons” iceburg.

    Anyway, even though nothing that I’ve just written makes any sense whatsoever, that doesn’t take away from the fact that your life lessons are truly awe-inspiring.

    Suffice to say that when it comes to life, you, CLT are a real liver.


    Ps. Thanks for the inspirational poster.

    • I appreciate you sending confused non-livers (?) to me to help straighten out their lives through the power of obfuscation.

      I usually start out with big words like that and before you know it, we’re all out shopping for inspirational posters, Thomas Kinkade limited edition prints and lower rates on our auto insurance.

      Really, it’s something for everybody, which usually means it does nothing for anybody.

      As for your two-pronged rhetorical questions, let me go ahead and destroy the fourth wall of Q&A etiquette and go ahead and answer them.

      1. Re: Russian model-types – Men are stupid and will believe pretty much anything with only the slightest encouragement.

      2. Re: Buying Amway – the only people buying Amway at this point are the bottom-rungers (?) who are forced to buy X amount of product to make their quotas or else face a life of poverty as someone with a useful job not related to pyramid-schemery.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment, bschooled. We all could learn a thing or two from. And by “we,” I of course mean “other people.”

  2. As always, CLT, your finger is on the pulse of all things dangerous, exciting, and funny as hell when it’s not us in the passenger seat of a slavic sedan.

    True story: I’ve got a very wealthy cousin who is a killer in business but – shall we say – easy pickins in love. He’s a really nice guy in Minnesota. ’nuff said.

    His first wife was a peroxide Sioux Indian who spent 7 years dealing in Vegas. She took him for everything.

    He recovered and recouped . . . enter the woman from a tiny village in Peru, where he literally went to score his desperate third-world wife. She was hot before the kids, and that bright new English word; D-I-V-O-R-C-E. You guessed it, CLT. Everything.

    Now he perms his hair and goes by the nickname “Heff”. Man that glass ceiling is tough, but if it’s a mirror, we can see our mistakes and fall short next time.

    Brilliant and funny stuff. Thank God he didn’t marry a hustling Russian, Sorry for babbling on!

    • Dan –

      Your cousin is the kind of person that makes life interesting for the rest of us. If we all didn’t know someone like that, than what would we write disparagingly and at length about? The weather?

      I think everyone is entitled to make a certain amount of mistakes, but I think we can all agree that you’ve fished your limit when your start perming your hair and giving yourself a nickname.

      Thanks for the visit, Dan. Avoid the .ru domains at all costs.

  3. After reading this post, I’ve realized that I have never dined. You talk about such a wonderful life, filled with wonderment and, well… fancy plans. It’s rich and sweet and quite possibly responsible for my diabetes. Thank goodness you have returned, ’cause I had become angry and depressed and angry.

    • You should really get out and dine sometime, preferably with someone who’s willing to spend you under the table and lift the silverware.

      I’m sorry about your anger, depression and angry depression. I would recommend anger-management but I find the overbearing “stop threatening to shoot people in face” speechifying way too depressing.

      If God didn’t want us to solve all of our problems with handguns, then he wouldn’t have made (or allowed to be made) Bad Boys Parts I and II.

  4. True story (all good BS starts with this caveat), I knew a guy who pretty much did this routine with an Asian woman. We went to dinner and he later asked me what I thought about her and I told him she was a gold-digger and he should stop thinking with his penis. He got upset and we didn’t speak for a few months. When I finally saw him again he thanked over and over for being the only person who “told him the truth.”

    So. What have we learned? Its all about the genitalia!!

    • It is all about the genetalia, FJ. The sooner we can get women to think with theirs (or preferably, ours) the better.

      Good almost-save there. Too bad he didn’t realize you were actually telling him the truth (you know, rather than just being an asshole) before it was too late.

  5. So that’s where you’ve been CLT….chained to an industrial dishwasher in an overpriced, gaudy restaurant, while the other dishwashers blow pot in your face and give you sips of other diners unfinished Shirley Temple’s for a week straight. Thank God you made it back out. -just kidding, but I hope everything is copasetic with you.

    Thank God, I’ve never been a traditional dater. I either was friends with the girl first, then came the long term relationship, or I met them in a club and …… kissed them on the cheek and told them to have a pleasant evening. If I were in that situation, I would have seen the writing on the wall, ordered even more drinks, told the waiter that the ‘date’ was going to ‘take care of the bill’ later in the parking lot, told the skank I had to make a call, sucker punched Alexi, and drove home.

    I seriously can’t understand how men can be so stupid. Did the suburbs kill the street smart?

    • It was pure hell in that kitchen. Like “Hell’s Kitchen” only hell-ier. I did catch a glimpse of Anthony Bourdain for a second but other than that all I saw for most of a month was Maria Batali’s orangutan-like underside. (He wears surprisingly little under those aprons.)

      As for the stupidity of men, I don’t know. It could be the suburbs culled some brain cells, but the inner city is swiftly growing its own stupidity, only with more guns.

  6. Reminds me of one of my last dates which happened to be blind: a trial attorney who currently teaches high school (why wasn’t I tipped off there??) invited me for dinner at Joël Robuchon, a very expensive restaurant in Las Vegas. Over the years, I have learned that the more expensive the restaurant, the less likely I am to find something I will eat (I won’t eat foie gras, pintade fermière, le bœuf de Kobé OR for that matter, any food item described with diacritic markings). Knowing there may be ‘issues’ when I arrive, I placed a discreet call beforehand and spoke with management. I explained that I was a vegetarian and could they suggest a dish that could be modified. We narrowed down a salad and perhaps a fish dish and they took my name and reservation date to flag for when I came in. I knew my date was not ‘quite right’ within 15″ of meeting. It seemed he had memory deficits (even more profound than my own) and was perhaps suffering from Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. This was not good. We arrived at Joël Robuchon and were seated. Now we have a problem. I see my dates eyes pop when he sees the menu prices (insanely expensive). He is startled and confides that he did not realize how expensive the restaurant is. Being the good (and perceptive) date I am, I decide we can dine elsewhere. But, the wait staff presents me with the salad I had pre-ordered unbeknownst to my date! We are also both presented with an amuse-bouche which, of course, was made from foie gras. I eat the amuse-bouche anyway, he orders an appetizer and we fill up on bread and the damage was not too bad. We head back to the car and he tries to kiss me at the elevator. I am SHOCKED and tell him so while jumping back three steps. I tell him I don’t even hold hands unless I am very serious with someone. He tells me he wants to know if we “have any chemistry.” I tell him I won’t know that without knowing someone for a few months. We head to the car. He has forgotten where he parked. There are approximately 13,000 parking spaces at MGM Grand so this is a problem. After a solid 30′ search on multiple levels we locate the car. He wants to visit the Palms Casino. This time I take charge and memorize the parking spot and take the led in touring the Palms. I can NOT wait to get home. I dated a judge for six weeks following that escapade (blind date as well, but much more rewarding). So what did I learn? My Diner’s Club card is always good at my homestead.

    • Ha!

      If I had a nickel…

    • Elizabeth –

      Fascinating stuff, full of fun details and French words.

      What troubles me is that you say that you won’t even hold hands with someone until you are very serious, but on the other hand, call ahead and order a vegetarian meal. How the hell does that work?

      You’ve got one part of you grasping the courtship rituals of the 90’s (18-) and the other part bossing restaurants around with your 90’s-esque (19-) vegetarian meal selection.

      You’re going to rip some serious holes in the space-time continuum with that sort of ambiguous behavior. And when you do, bschooled will be all out of nickels.

  7. *lead

    • There’s no need to correct comments here, e3. I don’t even bother doing that to the posts.

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