In which I discover the senior menu at Denny's
OK, it has finally happened; I ordered a meal from the "Senior" menu at Denny's.
Since my 60th birthday earlier this year, I gave up my ski boat to spend more time on the pontoon boat. Then I started driving a mini van. Next thing you know I'll be pulling my pants up under my armpits and wearing socks to church.
For those of you who have not yet heard their family doctor say, "Wow, you really remind me of my grandfather — only older," you'll find the Coot Cuisine on the back page, just below a Kid's menu that features highly nutritious choices for those precious little growing bodies — like a heaping bowl of goldfish crackers.
I have to admit it, Denny's offers a pretty good selection of Geezer Chow. If your wife is sitting across the table and giving you The Stare, you can go the healthy route and order an egg white omelet, a cup of fruit and a bowl of oatmeal. There are more than 8 grams of fiber in that meal, so the odds are pretty good you'll be enjoying all your new-found health on the crapper.
If you're not downwind of The Stare, you can go all daredevil and enjoy Country Fried Steak with a side of bacon, smothered with sausage gravy. If your heart actually explodes in the booth, Denny's will give a two-for-one coupon to your next of kin.
The first thing I noticed about the stuff on the Wrinkle Ranch Roundup is that the portions are smaller. This is presumably because us Wrinkle Ranchers don’t get all that hungry, now that we no longer move any faster than a glacier or a Department of Motor Vehicles worker.
On the other hand, it may just be that they figure that we won’t have the strength to carry a doggie bag out to the car.
The other significant thing about the Dodder Fodder is the prices, which seem to acknowledge the idea that most of us older folks are not totally up to speed with a world in which we pay $2.50 for a candy bar or more than $4 per gallon for filtered tap water in a crappy plastic bottle.
After carefully perusing the Fogey Fare, I decided to go throw caution to the wind and go for the Country Fried Steak. Since my wife was with me and The Stare was there, I skipped the bacon and opted for a side of green beans.
Waiting for the meal, I found myself feeling a little bit giddy, secure in the knowledge that I was saving both calories and money, while everyone else in the restaurant would be none the wiser. They could go on assuming that I was, like Richard Gere, just prematurely gray.
Then the waiter brought our dinners. He strode up to our table with his firm waiter stride, carrying two steaming plates of food in his waiter hands, and asked in his booming waiter voice, "Who ordered the SENIOR CFS?"
Of course, I failed to dodge the obvious bullet. "I’m sorry,” I said, “What is a cfs?"
"AH," he shrieked, deciding that my problem had to be a faulty hearing aid. "IT’S A SENIOR COUNTRY FRIED STEAK! SENIOR CFS! IT’S RIGHT WHERE YOU FOUND IT, ON THE SENIOR MENU! SENIOR CFS IS SENIOR COUNTRY FRIED STEAK! HA, HA! HA! SENIOR!"
And so my cover was blown. As I ate my meal, my wife seemed completely oblivious to the snickers and stares from everyone else in Denny’s that night. I swear I could hear them saying things like, "I understand all the selections on the SENIOR MENU are a lot easier to chew..."
The final blow came when a gray-haired man with a long gray beard hobbled up to our table leaning on a walker with bright yellow tennis balls on the ends of the legs. He stopped, turned on his hearing aid, adjusted the air flow from his oxygen bottle, and said, "How was that meal, old timer? In just a few more years, I’ll be able to order Grandpa Grub myself."
I kicked the walker out from under him and beat him senseless with his doggie bag.
Mike Ball is the Erma Bombeck Award-winning author of "What I've Learned So Far..." and the book What I've Learned So Far... Part I: Bikes, Docks & Slush Nuggets.