Waiter Confidential: You're Now Free to Roam About the Classifieds

When it comes to playing hooky from work, you'd better be on your game - particularly if you work in a busy restaurant. Where my own exploits are concerned, experience has proven the best teacher. Susceptible to bouts of Cactus League-triggered spring fever, I've called in sick one day and returned to work sunburned the next. Not smart.

But that pales in comparison to the time I conspired to fictitiously kill-off my Aunt Martha for want of an impromptu weekend in San Diego.

Trying to run the ruse of flying home to Michigan for her funeral, I broke my sad news to my manager. Falling for it, he asked if there was anything he could do. I told him that, provided I could leave that night, I'd found a bereavement fare on a Southwest flight.

When I returned to work the next week, my manager called me into his office. "So, how's your family?" he was kind enough to ask.

"Mom's taking it hard," I answered, straight-faced and somber. "She and Aunt Martha were so close." (And probably out shopping together at that very moment.)

"Well, there's one thing you'll remember about this experience." The manager looked me in the eye, about to impart some words of wisdom.

"Southwest doesn't fly to Detroit," he sighed, snickered, and shook his head. And in those days, they didn't. "You're fired," he finished with me, showing me the door.

"But look on the bright side. Aunt Martha just made a miraculous recovery."

Anonymous has seen it all in 25 years of waiting tables and tending bar at some of the Valley's most beloved restaurants.

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