Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It's Just a Bill

As many of you might have noticed, Christmas occurred a couple weeks ago. I flew down to California to spend time with the family and tease/mock/annoy my nieces and nephew. In a nutshell: everyone is fine and my mother didn’t hand me a bill when I left, so it was a win all the way around.

However, I did remark on a particular custom that my brothers and I have, mainly because a SWAT team almost became involved. The custom, you ask? Who pays for the bill when we all go out to dinner.

It goes like this: When we’re out with the extended family and the bill arrives, we all make a grab for the check and whoever gets it usually pays. The losers (ie the ones not paying) attempt to throw money at the winner (who is paying) and eventually the whole thing gets settled.

Yes. In this scenario, the winner gets to spend money, while the losers make frowny faces and attempt to surreptitiously give cash to the winner.

Now then, the above scenario occurs when there are other family members around, like my mom, wives, and/or the kids. We are, as you just read, mostly polite and good-natured about the whole thing.

Now, when it’s just us three brothers out, things get a little more interesting, in that we start with subdued threats and work up to graphic depictions of what we’ll do to each other over the bill.

NOTE: If my sister happens to be present, she doesn’t participate. She just hands us money and threatens to tell mom. She’s the smart one.

For example, here’s a bit from the last time the three of us went out:
The waitress arrived at our table and deposited the bill, which was immediately grabbed by the eldest, Rick.

Me: Gimme the bill.

Rick: Nope.

Greg (the middle brother): Fine. Give me the bill.

Rick: I’m treating.

Me: Are not. I’m treating.

Greg: No, I am.

Rick: I’m the oldest, so I get to.

Me: I will kick your ass if you don’t give me that bill!

Greg (grabbing a steak knife): I’ll cut you if you don’t give me the bill.

Rick: I’ll shoot you both and I’m a cop, so I can get away with it!

Greg: I’m a programmer! I’ll destroy your credit!

Me: I’ll go back to school, study physics and invent a time machine, just so I can go back to when you were kids and slap the crap out of both of you!

Rick: You’re not that good at math!

Greg: Yeah! Otherwise you’d already have brought back an army of T-Rexs to conquer the world!

Me: That’s still a good plan, dammit!

The situation escalated, until Rick threatened to call in a SWAT team on us. Neither Greg nor I could match that, so I we were forced to acquiesce (though I managed to throw in some cash for the tip).

This happens anytime we go out for food, even if it’s just two of us. We’ve scared a few waiters in the past, but we’re big tippers, so hopefully that makes up for it.
Then there’s the yearly argument about who’s getting mom what for Christmas. We get really nasty then.



J. Alexander Van Belkum said...

My Granddaddy always pays when we go out to eat. One time, my parents managed to pay by getting the waiter to give them the bill. They talked to him before we even ordered. The next time, Granddaddy adopted similar tactics.

Don't people normally fight about keeping money?

Jason Janicki said...

Hence the irony :)

Kris said...

I kind of wonder how many gift options are available for your mom if you have to fight over them.