When you’re out to breakfast with your family, you shouldn’t ask the waiter if they have other types of syrup.
Sure, the old run-of-the-mill maple might not be anything new or interesting, but trust me, you don’t want to go there.
I made that costly mistake several years ago. And it’s why I have serious trust issues with waiters and waitresses at breakfast places.
I’m not talking about the waffle or pancake eating experience. I’m sure it’s great. Organic artisan maple butter craft syrup with pure honey sounds like an exquisite complement to a Belgian waffle.
I’m talking about another issue. I’m talking about what happens when the waiter asks the question: “Would you like the syrup to be heated up?”
The natural answer to this question is obviously “yes.” But take it from me — that’s not any old question about syrup, that’s a booby trap. You’re putting yourself and your entire table at risk.
Because here’s what is prone to happen: When little bottles of fine artisan syrup are heated up in microwaves, sometimes lids are not taken off before entering said microwaves.
Such was the case that fateful morning in 2011 at Egg Harbor Cafe in my hometown of Johns Creek, GA.
In typical Caleb fashion, I ordered a Belgian waffle with a side of fruit and a side of bacon. (Extra crispy bacon, of course. People who eat flappy bacon make me sad. Might as well eat bacon-flavored rubber.)
After I gave my order, the waiter went there: “Would you like to try any of our special syrup flavors?”
Silly Caleb: “Yeah, sure. What flavors do you have?”
Young & naive water: “We’ve got raspberry, blueberry, and honey maple.”
Silly Caleb: “OK. Let’s go with honey maple.”
15 minutes pass, and then the food comes out. The little jar of organic hipster syrup, heated up and scalding hot, comes out with it.
And then it happened: The lid got taken off.
My eyes grew wide.
Suddenly, fine particles of boiling hot syrup began raining down on me and my family. It was so hot it took a second to even feel it — as if the nerves in my arm were getting burned off. But even worse, most of the bottle had exploded right into our waiter’s face.
He raced away in agony and came back with an ice pack planted firmly on his forehead, apologizing for the mistake.
I can’t remember if they gave us our meal for free or not. But I do remember that was officially the last time I ever ordered custom syrup.
. . .
What’s the point of this story/blog? What’s the deep meaning here? What’s the grand metaphor?
There’s not one. I honestly just wrote this funny story simply because I wanted to.
And that’s actually the point — that’s the big idea.
Sometimes the best stories don’t fit into everyday conversations and situations.
You know, just like the pastor who spends the first 20 minutes of his sermon telling a story that has nothing to do with the sermon (or the gospel!) “And that’s why accidentally stepping into a hornet’s nest makes me think of forgiveness!”
Just like the friend who brings up a story that has nothing to do with your current conversation. Like… “Wut…. How’d we get from there to here?” I know I’ve been guilty of that.
Just like the random things you see in places like NYC or Venice Beach, CA. (I once saw an elderly dude in a speedo roller blading down the street whilst playing a guitar. I apologize for the imagery.)
Sometimes the best stories are the ones you never hear.
But they’re still awesome, and they’re still worth telling. Maybe you don’t think mine about exploding syrup was any good. Maybe you’ve got a better one that features an African jungle tiger named Cornelius. I don’t know. But here’s what I do know.
Sometimes you just want to tell a funny story.
Sometimes you just want to make people laugh.
Sometimes random stuff happens. Like the time I was forced to pay $10 for some lemonade at Starbucks.
So here’s an idea: This week, when you see a friend, ask them what made them laugh this past week or weekend. Ask them about something funny or random that happened.
Give them a chance to tell a random story, because most times in life, there never is a chance. You’d be surprised at what you might learn. Like how my roommate Sam was at Kroger and a dude gave him 300 cans of Red Bull for no reason at all.
Ask good questions. Hear good stories. Build stronger relationships.
Oh, and the other big point here: Take the lid off before you heat stuff up!
. . .
[P.S. I’m giving the first chapter of my new book away for free! To get it, all you gotta do is subscribe!]