Waiterrant – authored by Steve Dublanica, eccobooks, 2008
Waiterrant.net was the first online blog that engaged me and made me into a believer in the medium. Let’s face it; most blogs are drivel, few last beyond the first couple of postings and even fewer have anything substantive to say. The “Waiter’s” postings (he was blogging anonymously until the book was released in July) went beyond simple accounts of service industry transgressions and into the realm of the humanity behind the order pad. Even if you’ve never worked in the hospitality business, the stories in the book will touch your soul.
Like nearly all service industry employees, he ended up working in a restaurant more by accident than by design. The Waiter started his career path at age eighteen destined for a life as a Catholic priest; four years of undergraduate study in college seminary were enough to convince the author “that the institution was also a hiding place for emotionally stunted head cases”. His next career choice, a psychiatric/rehab facility that catered to the rich and famous, wound up getting exposure on prime time television news for insurance fraud and malpractice. “It was like thinking that you worked for the Peace Corps only to discover that you were actually an unwitting goon in the health care version of the Mob.”
Things went downhill from there, (He could have saved himself a bunch of grief by majoring in English Lit, but that’s another story) and, like so many who haven’t found their niche in life, Waiter found himself on the other side of an order pad, doling out delicacies to the yuppie masses at “The Bistro”. (The names in this book were mostly changed to protect the guilty.)
There the sordid saga begins. He begins to connect with his long suppressed creativity and starts telling tales about life at the Bistro. The stories are funny, sad, shocking and introspective all at once, filtered through the soul of a compassionate mystic. Waiter’s self-anger and frustrations with the karmic tests he faces make for engaging reading. I would not suggest this book as appropriate airplane reading, as you are likely to start laughing out loud at any or all of the yarns he spins. Although the subject matter at this juncture happens to be situations in restaurants, the Waiter’s real strength in his ability to tell a well crafted story. You’ll have to read the book for all the ‘low down’ about foreign objects in food, celebrity sightings, sex in the bathroom and sometimes simply amazing behavior on both sides of the waiter’s pad.
The Waiter’s tale ends as the Waiterrant blog becomes famous, the noble literary agent appears, a contract is signed, and the book is written. The book has been on the New York Times best seller’s list for over a month now, and the Waiter’s identity has been revealed to all. The question now is, will this human being escape the “hospitality horror stories” niche market and realize that his true gift lies in the craft of storytelling?