Perhaps you have your own personal pool in your own private backyard. Bully for you. You’re living the American dream. Maybe one day you and I will become friends, and you will invite me and my family over for a swim. I bet I can hold my breath longer than you can. Want to bet?
Don’t let my freakish lung capacity fool you, though. I actually don’t have a pool of my own. Instead, I belong to a community pool, the name of which good sense dictates that I not reveal. It is called the KayCee Club. Located in Lake Highlands, it is operated by a chapter of the Knights of Columbus. Council 799 represent! Please don’t excommunicate me.
The KayCee Club, unlike your pool (I’m guessing), has a full-service cantina manned by a friendly staff. Burgers, beer, Ring Pops—items from all three food groups are available for purchase at reasonable prices. Here is how that works: 1) you place your order, 2) you pay for your order, 3) you give the friendly staff your name, and then 4) you wait to be called by the friendly staff over the public-address system to come pick up your order. Step No. 3 is where the process has gone pear-shaped.
From my extensive research, evidence suggests the problem started a few years back. Kids began giving the friendly staff names of cartoon characters and Disney Channel stars. Over the PA system would come: “Dora the Explorer, your order is ready. Dora the Explorer.” Or: “Hannah Montana, your order is ready. Hannah Montana.” The friendly staff never flinched. My son, when he was younger, was obsessed with sharks. “Hammerhead shark, your order is ready.” And: “Megamouth shark, your order is ready.” Back then, the fake names were cute.
Then something happened. I suspect, though cannot confirm, that it was Steve Visneau who took the name thing to the next level. Others have suggested that Tony Casazza is the real culprit. The idea that a megamouth shark was swimming at the KayCee pool and had placed an order for some nachos and a margarita—pretty hard to imagine. But possible. You’re going to tell me there’s no such thing as a talking megamouth shark. Agree to disagree.
What you and I will see eye to eye on is the fact that no one would ever name his child Your Order Is Ready. Over the sound of frolicking children and cannonball splashes comes the voice on the PA: “Your Order Is Ready, your order is ready.” And then, because the friendly staff refuses to be fazed by such shenanigans, once more: “Your Order Is Ready.” For those keeping score, that is three “your order is ready”s.
From there the arms race was on. The rough progression:
“There is no way …”
“I’m lying when I say that …”
“You’ll be surprised to learn …”
“Put down that trashy Us Weekly and come get your food because …”
“Everyone at this pool who is sweating through the summer and observing Stage 4 watering restrictions and who still thinks that climate change isn’t caused by human activity …”
“Okay, I went ahead and placed your order like you asked, even though it meant putting down my book, Cryptonomicon, which you know I’m deep into and have been trying to finish for three months, sort of like an enjoyable version of the Bataan Death March, if that’s possible, because I am a slow reader and it’s 918 pages long, but whatever, it’s just one of those minor irritations that don’t even bother me anymore, unlike that fight we got into after I wrote a story about your unpaid parking tickets, the one that all your friends went nuts over on social media, ginning you up, telling you how sorry they are that you’re married to a lout who would write such horrible things about you, which, frankly, demonstrates that their reading comprehension sucks, because the story in question was clearly self-deprecating, a statement I make with the sort of confidence that can only come from having won a National Magazine Award—perhaps your friends would like to see the statuette?—but that’s not important now, compared to the breaking news that …”
I’ve worked hard to figure out who placed that last order, to no avail. Whoever was responsible, I hope you are reading this. We must put a stop to the madness.