“Waiter Rant”December 19, 2008 at 5:56 pm | Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction | 3 Comments
Waiter Rant is a work memoir by a man who initially kept his identity secret – Steve Dublanica. He was eventually outed, as was the restaurant where he worked, which he called “The Bistro.” Why all the secrecy? Because there are some scandalous things in this book. That was enough to pique my interest right there.
Waiter Rant is more than just a scandalous work memoir, though. Sure, you’ll laugh hysterically, you’ll be grossed out occasionally, and I’m guessing you won’t be able to put it down either. But there’s a certain substance to this book that is not so common. Dublanica attended seminary for a time, and so the book is full of meditations on life and work, sin and redemption, the corrupt and the humane. It’s quite brilliant. Dublanica writes well, and I think he has a novelist’s sensibility. While he is working on another book now, it’s nonfiction, so only time will tell if he eventually turns his skills to fiction.
There were two sticking points for me, though, that are really trivial but that I feel like mentioning anyway. They have to do with misuse of language. On page 47, Dublanica says he is “…especially attenuated to what’s going on around me,” in the context of noticing what his patrons are doing and saying even when his attention is on something else. Well, ‘attenuated’ means stretched out or reduced in strength or efficacy, as in a medication or radio signal. It means the opposite of what he meant, and I think the word he was looking for was ‘attuned.’ The other instance was at the end, when he used the phrase ‘shine off’ instead of ‘shine on,’ as in to blow someone off. Oh, and then he misspelled Aleve and Vicodin in the same sentence. I know many of these types of errors must be due to the absolute decline in copyediting we have seen in the last decade, but still! I hope somebody cares about purity of language.
Anyway. Waiter Rant is one of the all time great compulsively readable books; the sort of book that will forever change the way you regard something you may have taken for granted in the past, in this case the act of dining out. Read, enjoy, but don’t read it while eating in a restaurant.