Billy and Julie's Hot Tub Talk, Ep. 4: The lessons of waiting tables will keep you -- and America -- out of the weeds

What we learned from the egalitarian sisterhood/brotherhood of fajita slinging. It could save your life -- at least from flood-loosed moccasins at the door of your Chili's.


The service industry — especially corporate “casual dining” — is the graduate school version of “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.” People curse and hook up a lot more; but other than that, the table-waiting ecosystem reinforces the kindergarten ecosystem — right down to the annoying sing-a-longs and birthday rituals.

Indeed, probably no other institution but public school kindergarten throws together as many different types of people as a Chili’s on a Saturday night — both customer and employee. And no other profession but waiting tables unites the high and humble born in such a flattened power dynamic. Pleasantly debasing oneself in the hope that a four-top family will make it rain as part of a weird social/economic custom that lets businesses outsource labor costs to customers is experienced universally.

Doesn’t matter that you’re studying Physics or writing the Great American Netflix script by day if you can’t keep the Monty and the Chicken Fried Steak straight by night.

One such Chili’s threw Billy and Julie together years ago in suburban New Orleans; and we’re both better off for it. (Marriage notwithstanding.) Today, we’ll tell you why.