FORMAL SOIREE’ STRUGGLES FOR ELEGANCE……zuki discovers his salad fork

formal dinnerGood Morning Denizens of the Salad Fork,

This weekend was served up like over boiled cabbage soup and banana pudding spilled in my lap; pants around my ankles. I shall not go into the first part as it involved someone I euphemistically refer to as “The coke whore.” You can conjure up what you will here, but suffice it to say, ole zuki has a bit of a spring in his step this morning.

I had an opportunity to attend a formal gathering/reception for an old friend of my Dad who was being honored for his many and varied accomplishments and retired his jersey as it were. It was held downtown Denver at the Hilton Hotel forcing me to break out the coat and tie.

It was a lovely soirée with ice sculptures, open bar, and a snappy little quartet playing ‘big band’ music. The event began with cocktails and a rich variety of hors d’oeuvres such as Artichoke & Spinach Filo Tartlet, Beef Wellington, followed by one of my favorites, Thai Curry Samosa. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves amongst background noise only 50 separate conversations can make.

VT firmly in hand, I began to wander around looking to join a discussion that would highlight my particular brand of piffle. Doing my best ‘Cliff Claven,’ I managed to introduce myself to three women and a wimp-ish looking fellow with a limp handshake. As it no doubt surprises few, I broke in primarily due to the genetic distribution of the women’s assets.

Leading the chatter not caring what the topic was, I sensed the women were a bit put off. From what I could gather, they were discussing proper dinner etiquette and the woeful ignorance of those charged with setting up formal occasions. In a formal dinner setting my only hope is to escape without creating stains on my tie or shirt and/or avoid spilling wine on my pants and onto the floor. To pretend I knew anything about place settings, table settings, Wedgwood vs Noritake, or whether to use Sterling Silver or Platinum would most certainly expose me as the slug I am. My goal was to see if I could turn the conversation to Art & Design.

Sally politely updated me as to the topic being discussed and asked if I agreed. With everyone waiting for a reply, I tried to remember something I’d heard my ex-wife say about a center piece being too large for the table and blurted, “Have you seen the centerpieces on our tables? They’re HUGE! It looks as though someone barfed up a flower garden! All it lacks is a Pig’s snout with an apple in its mouth, jeez.”

The planted smiles all disappeared. In fact, Sally looked nearly ashen. I got the feeling I’d just stepped in dog shit. But before Sally could utter a word, our demure hostess was ringing a bell to announce that dinner was being served.

As everyone was being seated, I began in earnest on the ugly center piece thinking I was on a roll. Sally was giving me a look reminiscent of my ex, so I highly suspected I was in trouble and backed off. Sally was obviously pissed as my attempts to make conversations were mostly ignored. At the end of the geezer’s award ceremony the host began to thank those who donated time and/or money. Sally was asked to stand where she was thanked for the BEAUTIFUL CENTER PIECES! While the crowd acknowledged her contribution, she again looked at me with a definite “fuck you” look. Stupefied, I shrugged my shoulders and politely gave my heart-felt applause, at which she looked away. I tried to apologize, but obviously the damage was done.

The moral of this accounting is not so much in knowing which fork is the salad fork; rather, make sure you understand the proper way of removing one’s foot from one’s mouth! Jeez.

zuki