Taking the iced tea plunge latest chapter in restaurant drama

Friday, June 27, 2014

There's a scene in the Bruce Willis "Die Hard" sequel where our hero, John McClane, finds himself stuck in one of those "Groundhog Day" situations.

Willis breaks the sacred fourth wall and stares into the camera to say, "Why does this stuff (expletive deleted) keep happening to me?"

I know the feeling, pal. I know the feeling.

Crazy stuff keeps happening to me, too, mostly at local restaurants. Honestly, you can't make this stuff up.

For example, you might remember the last time I went to The Monon. They locked the door behind me, and I was literally the last person served before the beloved restaurant on the north end of Greencastle was closed, apparently for posterity.

Then there was an infamous afternoon at KFC when with water leaking out of the buffet area, I warned one of our most beloved seniors that she needed to give that spot a wide berth. Then, with the clean-up under way, the wet floor literally brought me to my knees as I hit the door to exit. Hello, Putnam County Hospital ER.

Another time a fast-food counter person somehow managed to ring up my order as 99 coffees instead of one. Unflinchingly, she asked me for $89.97 or something equally as ridiculous despite the presence of a single cup on the counter between us.

Or the day technology stood still and the computers went out at Taco Bell just as I tried to pay for my order. They had to resort to figuring bills by hand, adding up items with paper and pencil until computing sales tax stymied them and brought the lunch rush to a crushing halt.

Meanwhile, after all these years, Burger King no longer lets me have it my way (not since I spurned a "senior drink" suggestion), and let me tell you, I've seen and heard enough at McDonald's to write a book. Yep, I'm lovin' it.

But Tuesday afternoon at the Greencastle Wendy's may have taken the proverbial cake.

For there, with a couple four-piece orders of chicken nuggets and barbecue sauce dancing alongside the change ($1 and $5 bills) atop my tray, I made my way to the drink island. Setting the tray down, I added artificial sweetener to my cup and started to fill it from the upright iced tea dispenser.

As I flipped the nozzle down, however, it completely fell off the dispenser into my hand, allowing tea to shoot out the hole in the tank like it was being sprayed from a fire hose.

In seconds Wendy's floor was covered in iced tea (at least it was unsweetened so it wasn't nearly as sticky as it could have been).

Of course, stuff like that never happens when a tank like that is empty. It basically had just been refilled following the lunch rush. So a couple gallons or more of iced tea gushed out as I miraculously managed to avoid getting more than a drop or two on my shirt, tie, socks or khakis.

When the tank began spewing tea, I at least had the presence of mind to tip it backward to keep the liquid from the nozzle hole the best I could.

But when a Wendy's worker wrested it from me, he tilted it further back, knocking the lid off, sending the remaining tea cascading over the back of the drink counter.

No longer feeling like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike, I returned attention to my tray, spying the nuggets floating between soggy napkins and soaked dollar bills now too wet to stick back in my wallet.

Except for the clammy cash, I dumped the whole soggy mess into the nearest trash can.

Naturally, I just happened to know a few folks who were coming and going for a late Wendy's lunch at the time.

Explaining that yes, I had indeed caused the mess that was being cleaned up in the middle of the restaurant, I laughed it off as my attempt to enliven a slow news day.

Yep, dinner and a show at Wendy's ...

Glad to be of some help. Again.