I am at work attending to the needs of my customers when I see a woman and her young daughter being seated in my section. The girl is about 5-years old. I go to the table to greet them. I smile at the little girl and ask them how they are doing.
“We’re good, thank you. My husband will be joining us shortly,” the woman tells me.
I tell them I will be back shortly to take their order and as I am leaving I notice that the girl’s eyes are transfixed on me. It’s not uncommon for children to be mesmerized by the awesomeness of my hair and I think nothing of it. Hell, I have had complete strangers on the subway ask if they can touch my hair and I willingly oblige as long as their hands are clean and they agree to go to my website later that day. After a couple of minutes, the father is still not there so I go back to the table to see if they need anything. As I am reciting the specials, I watch the little girl stare at me, her eyes looking like they are about to pop out of her head with curiosity. She is desperate to look at me, making her neck move in such a way that she reminds me of Regan in The Exorcist. It’s like she can’t stare at me hard enough.
“Gracie, stop staring!” her mother scolds.
It is now that I realize she is not spellbound by my locks, but confused about the rubber bands in my mouth. Yes, I am 49 years old and I wear braces with rubber bands.
“Are you looking at these?” I ask her. With my forefinger, I plink them, making a sound like the saddest ukulele in the world. She nods her head. “I have to wear these so that my teeth will grow straight. They’re called braces.”
“Oh,” she says. “I wear braces on my feet but I’m not wearing them right now. Only at home.”
I smile at her as the mother apologizes for her daughter’s brazen attitude that allows her to say whatever she thinks. It is not a problem, I assure the mother and continue on with the specials. They tell me what they want to drink and three minutes later, when I return with beverages, I can’t help but notice that the little girl is staring at me again. Maybe she has a rubber fetish. But then I realize she isn’t looking at my mouth anymore. It looks like her eyes are focusing on my hair and all is right in the world again, because everyone should always focus on my hair. It’s my strongest suit. She tilts her head with wonder and I can tell she is about to ask me another question.
“Why are your ears all pointy like an elf?”
“Gracie!” hisses the mother as she spins toward me. “I am so sorry. I am so, so sorry.”
“It’s fine, don’t worry about it,” I say. “It’s totally fine. Gracie? I’ll tell you why my ears are pointy. My Dad was an elf and when I was a little boy, my ears weren’t big enough so he used to pull on them all the time until they got real big and pointy.”
She stares at me in disbelief.
“And now they look like this. Crazy that my dad is an elf, right? But I’ll tell you one thing. It came in real handy at Christmas time.”
Gracie, unsure of what to say next, shrinks back into her chair and finally shuts the hell up. The mother apologizes to me again.
“She’s adorable,” I tell her. “Do you know the movie To Kill a Mockingbird?”
The mom tells me that she knows it very well.
“Well your daughter reminds me of the little girl who played Scout, with her big innocent eyes and eager face. Such curiosity.” I leave out how they both have teeth like a beaver that needs a root canal and how they have identical haircuts that look like they got them from a blind barber with no thumbs who was using a pair of gardening shears for scissors.
I can tell that the mother isn’t quite sure how to take my “compliment,” but she says thank you nonetheless.
“I just love how kids will say anything they want to. It’s what kids do, right?” I continue. “I’ll come back in a bit when when your husband gets here and you’re ready to order.
Little does the child know, she has cut me to the quick. My ears are on my rather long list of things that I am sensitive about and my feelings were hurt just a wee bit. Out of the mouths of babes. Ten minutes later, when the father of the babe has arrived, I go back to the table to say hello. Gracie remains silent but her dad tells me hello. And then:
“Are you wearing braces and rubber bands?”
“How much did those cost ya, like $8000?”
“John!” says the woman. ‘I am so, so sorry,” she tells me yet again.
“It’s okay,” I say. “They were expensive, but when I was a kid, my parents couldn’t afford them. Now that I’m an adult, I can spend my money on whatever I want. Are y’all ready to order?”
It’s one thing for a 5-year old to say whatever is on their mind but when a grown man does it, it just means he’s an asshole. Good luck, Gracie. Now I know where your lack of tact comes from. And the mother should have some business cards printed up that say “I am so, so sorry.”
EDIT: I have removed an reference to actor Geri Jewell which some people took offense to. (By “some people” I mean Barb Chandler who took it very personally in the comment section. Jeez, Barb. If you didn’t like it, all you had to do was bring it to my attention with an email. You didn’t have to be a bitch about it.) It was not my intention to offend Geri Jewell or anyone with cerebral palsy. I simply take every chance I get to refer to The Facts of Life. I’m sorry. And I asked her personally about the joke and she thought it was funny. Also, Barb, you’re blocked. –BW
Elvis, you shut the fuck up! If you sit looking at your device spending your time telling other people off, maybe you should touch some grass you cowardly little bitch.
Elvis, i’m sorry for being an asshole you. that’s wrong of me. you’re right all along.
Part of my job as a children’s librarian is to share stories, pitch reading to your child to parents, and talk about library services. I was at a CEDA/Hadstart site, little kids, and a little boy, about 3, kept staring at me. I went through my schtick, read a few stories acting them out, and finally asked if anyone had any questions about the books or the library. My tiny stalker raised his hand and asked, “Are you a man or a woman?” Universal shock from the adults and I was roaring with laughter since I do have a very short haircut. “I’m a granny, honey”, I replied and he said, “Oh, OK.”
Barb must be a blast at Happy Hour.
Wow this barb lady is an angry lil bird. Barb dear, giving your kid a swat or two on the rear is not abuse. By all means you are entitled to your feelings but wishing disabilities on people and calling people’s parents abusive is a little extreme. Maybe you should spend a little time talking with jesus about the hate that is in your heart before commenting on blogs.
For someone who is supposedly standing up for people with disabilities and Latino mothers who are being accused of ‘abuse’ this barb woman sure does have some nasty things to say about our good friend tbw and other servers. Must think she’s better than us. I bet she is the lady who wants hot water with extra lemons and a house salad for lunch only to sit in my section for hours and leave me a dollar fifty. Keep doing you bitchy! She can only wish to be as fabulous as you!
The mother simply snapped at her kid? When I was her age and I asked a stranger a question like that, my mother would’ve slapped down $20, dragged me by the arm to the car and rapped my butt about 3 times. Twice or even just once if she was feeling kind that day. Having a Hispanic mother has certainly kept me grounded, that’s a given. Dang, Gracie’s got it easy.
Just because your mother was abusive is no reason to paint all Hispanics in the same, horrible light. I hope you do not have children and perpetuate the cycle of abuse.
Shut the fuck up, Barb.
Look, she’s right! You just don’t want to admit it.
no, you shut the fuck up, elvis! she’s right about what she told Lia. you refuse to admit ‘cuz you have shit for brains.
That’s something I agree with you on.
I just had a four year old punch me in the stomach while on the way to the bathroom with her mother. Mom didn’t apologize to me.
Never had that kind of interaction with a kid in any of my server jobs. But back in the 70s when I was a teenage babysitter, one of my charges complimented me with ‘You look just like Wonder Woman with pimples.’
Bitchy Waiter, you are hilarious. As a fellow server with adult braces and (ugh) rubber bands, I feel your pain. People are always gonna be morons and breed morons. At least we are better looking than them with better teeth and smiles. And in your case, hair.
You hypocritical and shallow dunce! How the hell can you feel his pain when you called him hilarious? Hilarity is for losers!
Also, why the fuck should you care people? It isn’t the fuckin’ outside the matters! Instead, that does, dumb-ass!
Uh oh. I forgot to put “it’s the inside”between “Instead,” and “that.” Sorry.
e you make fun of someone with demonic possession. Linda Blair was a relief to see on screen for people like me, I have a cursed son! Figure out other ways to whore your adspace and book without making fun of demons.
One role does not encapsulate Linda Blair. You should become disabled or have it strike someone in your family and you’ll change your sick little tune, lazy tip monkey.
That’s an absolutely atrocious thing to say. As a disabled person I would not wish this on anyone.
You tell her, Samm.
Barb, you’re a crazy, vicious bitch!
Damn right she is.
Lazy tip monkey? You must be as uneducated about food service employees as you are pretentious, entitled, and vicious. I get the same feeling of disgust reading your comments as I got last week when I found an old sippy cup of milk under my son’s bed. Rotten to the core.
Please stop telling people it’s okay when they make rude, personal comments. It’s not okay. The mother is trying to teach them proper behavior and you are giving them permission to continue.
He doesn’t like it, then turns around and makes fun of a woman with cerebral palsy! A woman that was exploited by sleazy producers to get a cheap laugh from slack-jawed, bucktoothed morons back in the 80s.
The Bitchy Waiter
I edited the post. Happy? And maybe you saw Geri Jewel as being exploited by sleazy producers back in the 80s, but I saw her as an actress and comedian who saw an opportunity to further her career and she took it. Give her some fucking credit.
She saw herself as being exploited. They didn’t pay her shit and treated her like a freak show. They wrote her out when she asked for more money. Why celebrate a band of lesbian dope fiends?
The Bitchy Waiter
Calm down, Barb. I changed the post and I reached out Geri herself who is totally cool with everything. Relax.
Why should she, Waiter?
Why didn’t you allow my apology to dead_elvis appear here? I was wrong about telling him off.
The child also needs to learn that what is OK for one person may not be OK for another. A child asking innocent but pointed questions is OK with TBW, and it’s fine for him to say that.
Besides, the mother is fighting an uphill battle, what with her husband setting the worst of examples. TBW saying it’s OK pales in comparison to a parent modeling bad behavior.
I have alopecia universalis, it doesn’t have any adverse effects aside form making all of my hair fall out, including eyebrows and lashes. Most adults assume I have cancer, but the children, oh the sweet little children.. Many just stare and whisper their inquiries to their mother, but some blurt out ‘hey you’re bald!!’ before continuing on to ask for chicken nuggets and chocolate milk. I’ve decided that next time this happens I’m going to pretend I had no idea I’m bald and freak out.
If you could arrange for video footage of that, I would be eternally grateful.
e you make fun of someone with cerebral palsy. Geri Jewell was a relief to see on tv for people like me, I have a special son! Figure out other ways to whore your adspace and book without making fun of the challenged. I’d be surprised if the father didn’t pass the ages waiting on you to bring their refills by asking his daughter to guess where you were hiding the corncob. Maybe if you didn’t suck so much, your teeth wouldn’t be so crooked.
You bet that she is.
TBW’s comparison of the child’s neck position to Geri’s isn’t making fun of anyone with cerebral palsy, it’s just a comparison. Like if I told you that my patience for your comments is shorter than Vern Troyer, I’m not making fun of Vern Troyer.
How are you going to say that anyone in life faces any greater challenge than another when the very way we perceive those challenges is so incredibly unique to each and every one of us?
Don’t judge someone based on the topic of the joke because it’s good as long as you it’s funny. If it’s not, give me a single reason why you are so concerned with and offended by what random people think. It’s just your opinion. You probably have dozens or even hundreds of others, each one of which is again based solely on your own perceptions.
Does complaining on the internet make you happy?
jokes are for losers.
*staring or saying rude shit
Sorry I hate typos!
I have scars on most of my body (60% 3rd degree burns and a bunch of donor site scars) and I get all kinds of comments from kids as you can probably imagine. If a kid is simply curious I’ll talk to them and I usually get pretty good responses because they were simply curious and it helps them learn about that people with differences are just people. Sadly those kind of kids are the minority. Kids are assholes sometimes. I was shocked the first few times a young kid said cruel things to me about how I look. Now it doesn’t surprise me. I also hate the older kids who stare nonstop when they should definitely know better. Dirty looks usually take care of it. 🙂 It’s also crazy how many parents do absolutely nothing when their kids are starting or saying rude shit. Not surprising though because I’ve gotten even more messed up comments and stare downs from adults. I don’t let it get to me like I used to but it still sucks.
I got suckered into teaching summer camp, mostly for underprivileged youth. I am amazed at the things these kids say and do. My bosses tell me to be gentle because of their upbringing, but i want to march right up to some of these kids’ parents and ask what the hell are they thinking/doing? For these kids to even be so rude to me, they have to have learned it somehwere. I’m all for sarcasm, and have a pretty “tough it out” look on life, but to be so downright mean to their fellow classmates, and teachers, and counselors, and even other adults. I’m never getting sucked into this job again… only 3 more weeks to go!!
I had a grandma come in with her 2 grandsons, prob between 4-6 years old..the youngest one stood up in my chair, looks me straight in the eye and says ‘I will smack you dead in the mouth!!’ AND THE GRANDMA SAID NOTHING!! My grandma would have knocked my ass backwards outta that chair and THEN we would have taken a little trip to the car…. And it’s not that I hate children. I hate parents who allowed and taught their kids to be turds.
That’s really sad because the kid probably hears shit like “I will smack you in the mouth” all the time from adults and considers it totally normal. Kids repeat what they hear and tend to give others exactly as much respect as they themselves have been given.
Bitchy Waiter, high five for your composure and dignity (and having watched your videos, your hair is indeed fabulous!). If the man and his kid haven’t grasped yet what is and isn’t appropriate to say to a stranger, I’m sure it won’t be long before someone less patient will teach them.
Lizabeth, I am in awe of your class, grace and humour. Yours is the very essence of the right attitude to have when life hands you the ol’ proverbial lemons, and I hope you’re doing well and feeling top-notch as possible following your illness.
I have a horrendous, ugly scar across my forehead that I get looks/questions about all the time. I got it splitting my head open against a kerb when I fell during an epileptic seizure. Not an epic story, sure, but, living in a pretty rough part of Glasgow, working in dive bars and serving mostly ‘hard’ men and women similarly coarsened by this part of the city’s obnoxiously prevalent culture of fighting and drinking, people always assume I got it whilst engaging in one or the other. I used to always either blurt out the short version of the truth, or that I used to be a street fighter or a stunt double or some other clearly made-up bullshit, but these days, if they’re particularly wasted and annoying and I’m nearing the end of or finished my shift, I say, ‘Want me to show you?’ Mature, no. Bt it sure does shut them the fuck up and maybe make them mind their manners in future.
What a twist!
These are the kinds of stories that make me grateful that my kid has a speech delay and is hard to understand.
Oh yeah. And that she’s not an asshole.
Recently, I approached a table and a girl, probably 3, said, “Are your eyebrows fake?”
Her parents wanted to die and apologized. I responded, “Well, they’re tattoos because a little while ago I had to take a medicine that made all my hair fall out and my eyebrows never grew back.” The rest of the meal was awkward with the silent we-feel-sorry-for-you glances.