I would have thought that unleashing the greatest zinger of all-time would have left me feeling all-powerful, even omnipotent. High-fives, free drinks, and keys to cities I’d never visited would henceforth rain down upon me for every remaining minute of my sassy, wit-filled life.
I found, though, that I couldn’t have been more wrong. There were no high-fives, no free drinks or interesting keys, and any admiration was fleeting. A few comedy fans in the restaurant may have tittered a touch when I initially said it, but all swiftly stifled themselves with fake coughs and free bread, lest they be associated with a modern-day monster. Apologies for injecting a bit of irreverence into work-a-day life—why should I be crucified, all I said to the waitress was, “Who cooked this burger, Wolfgang Puke?”
My date did not titter, did not smile, did not do anything except power cringe further into Ulcer Country. “I’m sorry,” she offered to the reeling waitress, “he’s not a real adult.” She glared at me now with a hot sigh of contempt, “And everything is a fucking joke.”
“Babe,” I said, knowing the stakes of Date Three, “am I not impressing you with my sharp tongue?” And then I said something absolutely filthy about sharp tongues and the waitress fainted. She fainted even though she was objectively younger than me and should have almost certainly grown up being exposed and desensitized by the Internet, barring some sort of Mennonite or other bubble-positive upbringing.
My date threw her napkin down and snapped up. She checked the waitress’s pulse and her pupils. “Call 911,” she ordered me, but I was dumbfounded, squinting like this whole situation was one big Magic Eye. Realizing I was uttering variations of “Check please,” my date asked the beefcake at the next table, the more attractive one who was there with his buddies, to call for help. “I told you, like three times,” she stared right through me, “I’m doing a surgical residency at Johns Hopkins starting this summer.”
I hadn’t known any of that, especially the part about me having been told it three times. “If we wait for an ambulance,” I said, “I don’t know if we’re going to have time to make the movie.” I didn’t want to press her to “do healthcare” or whatever faster, but she knew I really liked movies about Spring Break. I had told her that at least four times.
She didn’t look at me though I could feel her eyes roll. This third date was a disaster, and even after I’d spent the whole afternoon on WebMD, “doing healthcare”, and diagnosing that my heart was—both physically and emotionally—healthy enough for sex.
The paramedics arrived. Apparently the “handsome hero” in the visor who had called 911 was also just completing medical school and was taking a residency in Philadelphia. It seemed, instantaneously, they both knew so much about each other and listened so well. The guy made a joke about a less-traditional “meet cute” and my date laughed hard instead of seething hard, and then she tried to ignore the tasteless thing I said about meat.
“Maybe just leave,” she finally said to me. “Don’t call. Go find someone at your teen comedy who laughs at ‘Wolfgang Puke.’”
“Ah,” I cringed, my eyes wide and my head shaking, “you’re butchering it.”
I didn’t wait for my doggy bag. Like I said—probably four times—the burger had tasted awful.