Hero Complex

Grand Cayman is a little speck below Cuba on the world map. Shop Boy knows nothing about the island, but they tell me it’s paradise.

My nephew Vinny I do know a few things about, which is why we’re headed to the tropical island this weekend. He’s a fine young man who met his bride-to-be Natasha, a fine young woman, at Virginia Military Institute. Say what you will about the practice of war and the existence of military schools, but VMI turned out a couple of good ones here. And Vinny introduced me to the movie Happy Gilmore. You owe somebody like that, am I right?

“Wedding invitations? Our gift to you. Destination wedding, huh? Where, you say? Sounds expensive. Um, OK, we’ll be there.”

And Shop Boy knew right then what would happen next. The time and space continuum becomes  a funnel, grabbing the responsibilities and realities of life, the deadlines and the drama, which begin pouring slowly, inexorably down toward the little circle over the departure date.

Translation: We’re scrambling. Again.

Mary’s got a couple of big, tweaky projects closing this week even as  new ones launch, with bids to be written, paper and ink to order,  interns to organize, postmortem reports on her MICA class to file,  phone calls and e-mails to handle … Oh, and as we were driving to  the Shop the other morning, smoke began billowing from under the hood  of Mary’s car as the air conditioner (we think) burned up. So she’s  got a ton on her mind.

Shop Boy’s mind? One thing (roughly maximum capacity):

Yes, menus. Millions and millions of them. OK, thousands. Just like us to pick the best and most popular restaurant in Baltimore as a client.

More exactly, it’s just like us to get so busy printing menus for the
best and most popular restaurant in Charm City that there’s been no time to learn the machine that could do them for us.

And the busier Woodberry Kitchen gets, the more menus it needs. And with so much flying around behind the scenes there, they sometimes forget to tell us that they’re low on — or out of — menus till they begin prepping for that night’s rush.

Which is kind of, um, all right by me. I mean, what guy wouldn’t want to arrive at Woodberry Kitchen to the cheers of the very lovely managers Lucie and Nancy? “Shop Boy! You saved us!”

Shop Boy (in a superhero voice): “Heh-heh. All in a day’s work. To Infinity and be-OUCH!”

That sound you just heard was the slap of Mary’s open hand on the back of my head. Ahem.

So, anyway, with us leaving the country for a few days, well, let’s just say that once the new paper order arrives, Shop Boy had better find his inner hero, because a mighty, mighty high stack of menus is going to have to be produced to hold the restaurant until we return. I’ll be seeing menus in my dreams.

Then again, there might not be time for sleep.

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