Luxury Can Be a Mistress Hard to Leave Behind

by Homeless T

I could get used to this.
2012-06-23. Luxury can be a hard mistress to leave behind--easy to grow fond of, so soft, so clean and sweet-smelling. Homeless T has enjoyed a taste of such living: a beautiful woman, private accommodations since 2010's holiday season, all while starving only rarely, but who cares about food when you have a place of your own? 
Out-of-date donuts are just fine, and cheap. It's possible to eat three meals a day at various food pantries and soup kitchens without spending a dime. But sometimes even the poorest slob wants to live it up. Every pauper deserves a decent meal at least once in his life. So when I ran into a bit of money, I spent it.
Norton's Steak House: Caveat Impecunium?
Old Homeless may have a hard time readjusting to the gutter, now that he has been to Pair-ee--tasted of its opulence, slept in a bed as grand as any king's, and shared love with a woman of surpassing beauty. These were all worth the price. The only item he regrets is the beef steak he purchased too dearly one night, after impulsively following a couple of cinema stars into a celebrity eatery. It was a house of steaks priced for potentates, catering to humans who feed only upon the choicest flesh of blue-blooded cattle, recruited from the bovine aristocracy and then bashed on the noggin with a golden sledgehammer.  



Yes, I was the temporarily flush homeless guy who wandered into the Norton's Steak House in our nation's capital, Washington, DC, and ordered a rib-eye steak. Before the waiter finished with me, I felt as if it were me who had taken the golden sledge to the cranium. Still, I left the scene in better condition than the cow.

The waiter must have pegged me as vagrant by my improvised necktie. In truth, it was a black knee-sock tied in a Windsor knot--but it had come from
Nice necktie, Sir.
Brooks Brothers! Surely that counts for something.

Anyway, this not-so-humble Nortons' waiter decided to give Homeless a little gas. Why? To entertain the celebrity patrons. Since Homeless was not of the Norton's ilk (and a man with a sock tied around his neck is not likely to tip much), this slave to elitism (the waiter) felt at liberty to unleash his sarcastic gas all over Homeless's table. He spoke loudly, to make sure all the surrounding tables could hear him. After all, even Brad and whats-her-name enjoy a bit of sarcastic fun. Ditto, Larry the King.


Homeless had committed the unforgivable faux pas of ordering french-fried potatoes with his steak. The waiter dead-panned to Homeless, in his frostiest tone: "Sir, Norton's does not serve French Fries. You'll find a McDonald's two blocks down. Perhaps you'd prefer to dine there."  He spoke so all could hear.
"At Least It's a
Brooks Brothers Sock"

I heard the celebrity carnivores titter. Brad, Larry, and the good-looking starlet love a sarcastic searing, as long as it's not their hide. Gratified at his success in entertaining his illustrious friends, he threw in a gratuitous zinger to please his beloved celebrities. He smirked and added, "I regret that we do not serve any fried pies either."  That really cracked them all up.

Homeless experienced a revelation, then and there: the irony of America's culture of haves, have-nots, and the sycophants who serve the latter--the interchangeability of its components. Everybody in earshot in this Norton's dining room ate french fries, all knew that this snooty waiter was not so far above the poor person he was embarrassing, even if he was dressed in his waiter's tuxedo, and stars or not, they despised social injustice at some level

I had no trouble imagining the waiter in the privacy of his own cramped apartment, sitting around shirtless all day, watching cartoons and gorging himself on deep-fried cheese-sticks and beer. Sir, Nortons does not serve French Fries! Nor do we have Shamrock Shakes. To me, he looked like the kind of guy who would stick his hand up his own ass looking for a lost cufflink, but what do I know?

Since everybody was paying absurdly high prices, this server to the elite felt at liberty to humiliate me--the customer who belonged elsewhere. The reason Norton's clients pay so much in the first place is so they won't have to look at people like me: guys with socks tied around their necks. Anyway . . 



I ate my $250 steak with no french fries, and had a fifty-dollar baked potato and $90 garden salad instead--but frankly, the meal stuck in my craw. I should've used that cash to buy a young heifer instead, and packed her off to India, where her chances for a happy life would be vastly improved.

All things reach their terminus when allowed to run unimpeded. Sooner or later the server tires of serving and turns on the customer he considers out of place: inferior. What's the title of this damned post? Oh yeh--"Luxury Can Be a Mistress Hard to Leave Behind." Oh, forget the damn mistress!  Let's get back to Norton's and the all-American ending:

I was so upset by the smarty-pants waiter's discriminatory treatment that once I had finished--leaving him a $50 tip, I might add--I thought things over, and called a civil rights lawyer. God bless Larry the King for his honesty in testifying on my behalf!  The other celebrities were unreachable.

Anyways, Mr. Smart-ass waiter lost his job. He is now serving french fries at McDonald's, and wears a paper hat instead of a tuxedo. I was awarded $600,000 by a vegetarian judge, and the D.C. papers had a riot with the story.  Unfortunately, I went through my award in just a couple of months; but easy come, easy go. I shared it with a lot of friends, most of whom I haven't seen since the money ran out.

The Moral of this Story

I can now say with absolute conviction that I favor the quiet dignity of an Oak tree to the pride of lions scrambling to corner the market on wildebeests. You know where you stand with a tree. Not so the carnivores. Nortons Steak House does not serve pigs in the dining room, but you'll find a trough right next door, filled with the milk of kindness--gone sour.