I was fretting over an essay I’m working on called “The Relative Humorlessness of Veganism: A Nonjudgmental Lament” when the red phone rang. It was my good friend Monty Gelstein, calling, quite coincidentally and unwittingly, to provide a case study. It was also an opportunity for me to amuse myself.
“So, I’m at this mostly vegan restaurant last night,” he started to tell me.
“What do you mean ‘mostly vegan’?” I asked, knowing it would annoy the shit out of him. “That’s like saying ‘mostly pregnant.'”
“I mean most of the dishes on the menu are vegan,” he said. “That’s not the point, though.”
“Right. Sorry,” I said, thoroughly enjoying myself. “So you’re at this mostly vegan restaurant …”
“Yeah, right,” he said. “So, I’m eating my dinner and I can’t help but to overhear the conversation this dude’s having with his wife at the table behind me. He asks her if she thinks Bill Clinton’s eaten there.”
“Where?” I asked him.
“At the restaurant,” he said.
“The mostly vegan restaurant,” I added, for clarification.
The line was silent for a good 10 seconds before Monty asked, angrily, “Do you want to hear the fucking story?”
I told him that I did.
“So, the dude asks his wife if she thinks Bill Clinton’s eaten at that restaurant, and she doesn’t understand the question. So he explains, ‘It’s a vegan restaurant, and Bill Clinton’s a vegan.”
“Is Bill Clinton’s really a vegan or mostly a vegan?” I asked.
After telling me that he no longer knew what the point of the story was (thanks to my scrutiny), Monty called me a pain in the ass and hung up. At some point I’ll let him know that he provided some good material for “The Relative Humorlessness of Veganism: A Nonjudgmental Lament.”