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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2018

    Table Breaks Presents: Two Men in a Diner


    Time is a construct; continually moving forward towards an unknown end of which no one wants to see. But for The Diner, time seems to stand still. It has been a landmark of the community for as long as anyone can remember, constantly reinventing itself, but at the same time staying very much the same. Some of its customers would tell you that it’s the only place they’ve ever gone; its wares as delicious as the first time they tasted them. Others who have passed through will tell you that The Diner is overrated and should have been closed long ago; that it no longer serves what today’s customers want. Yet The Diner continues on with both old customers and new, constantly expanding its menu to try to capture every single customer’s needs.

    Throughout its changes, one thing in The Diner has remained the same; the two men who sat in the back corner booth. Together they’ve shared that booth for darn near twenty years. And while they’re not there every day, the staff of The Diner know to keep it free should they show up for a meal or two. Very few have been there since the two first showed up together. Those that have will tell you that while their looks may have changed, they’ve stayed very much the same people they were when they first walked through the door. The men would tell you something quite different, but those that know them know the truth.

    It had been a while since both had shared the booth together. The younger of the two came several times a year, ordering his usual Triple Stack with a side of ham. At times he seemed lost, as if part of him were missing. Occasionally a friend would join him, but things weren’t quite the same without both of them there together. You could always tell when they were there, as both men would get into some pretty heated discussions quite regularly. They’d argue over how one got sucked in by religion, about the theory of Evolution, and pretty much everything in between. But at the end of the day, the argument always went back to which one was better.

    The older of the two hadn’t been in The Diner for a few years, but when he was he normally ordered Blueberry Pancakes, with extra blueberries. It had been rumoured that a few years ago the men had a falling out, which wouldn’t be at all surprising to anyone. At any given time you’d have expected a butter knife to be thrown across the table at the other. But the staff knew to give them their space. After all, they’d been coming to The Diner so long it was if they’d owned the place. Who knows, maybe someday one of them will.

    As mentioned, it had been a while since the staff had seen both of them together. The younger man, looking more and more grizzled as time started to catch him, was in a particularly good mood. He’d planned a party for a dear friend. The wait staff and the line cooks had prepared a wonderful meal, topped off with the most beautiful cake they could prepare. It was the happiest they’d all seen the man in quite some time. Some of his friends stopped by, a few that had been seen around The Diner from time to time. They too were there to help celebrate this the momentous occasion. The staff were amazed that this solemn man they’d seen for years seemed….dare we say……Happy! But as time ticked on, the mood changed. He began to worry, as his friend was nowhere to be found. As closing time approached, the staff began to shut down The Diner for the evening. Then, out of the blue the older man was there, sitting in the corner booth, glaring at his old friend.

    We’ve all had that friend that we’ve known for years that we put up with out of pure complacency; the one that believes they’re as close to you as they can get, but in reality just doesn’t pay you that much attention. That was how the older man looked at this particular friend. That was how the older man looked at most people quite frankly. For much of his time he felt undervalued for the commitment he showed to The Diner. He’d get his menu second. He’d get his coffee second. He always felt second best. But should he have? He truly gave as much to The Diner as the other did. Why should he be made to feel any less important?

    From the viewpoint of the Diner staff and its other customers, it was just another in a long line of arguments between the two. And despite the continued business the two brought to The Diner, they were actually starting to drive away other customers. They were coming up on their busiest time of the year, yet here they were again, taking the focus away from The Diner’s renewed push for a younger crowd. The staff too had seen enough. They should be spending more time with the newer customers, trying to keep them coming back for more business, but this constant insistence for attention was perhaps taking its toll on all of them.

    Perhaps this argument would be the last. Perhaps this argument would finally free up the coveted corner booth of The Diner. Perhaps now the staff could clean it properly; washing away the stale smell of age and monotony. The staff used to care about these men; about their arguments. They'd take sides, often finding themselves at odds with each other. But the caring had long gone and the only people that seemed to care about their latest argument were the men themselves. The staff had moved on. The customers had moved on. Why couldn't the two men? There’s only so much you can do when more and more customers are waiting at the door without anywhere to put them. And with a brand new Diner opening, do you risk losing those customers and perhaps even staff for somewhere fresh and inviting?

    Two men sit in the corner of a diner; two men who need to find their way home and give up their seat to someone else.

    Do I have your attention now?

    Until next time,
    Rob Out!
    Last edited by Rob S.; 03-22-2019 at 03:51 PM.

  2. #2
    90% of reading this: "WTF IS HE TALKING ABOUT?"
    Last 10% of this: "OH, CLEVER BOY!"

  3. #3
    Very enthralling .. Delayed going out to finish this...liked the analagy, but the execution made it go.

    Think I'm going to try my local diner, today...tired of that commercial taste

  4. #4
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    Fantastic column, the subtle hints throughout were well placed and it all came together as one towards the end. The brand new diner being AEW I take it?

    I've tried taking up column writing, check it out here!

    Words from a Gooner #2: 7 Treatments for Wrestlemania Fever

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2018

    Burn- LOL! I love when I can make a reader think and then re-think when writing a column. This one rattled around in my brain for a while. Wasn't sure I could get it to work, but I'm happy with it. Thanks for reading

    Benjamin- thanks for the kind words. I do appreciate a good local diner myself. I often think of myself as the local diner. My style is slightly out of the norm, so I guess I sort of fit in that mold.

    Gooner- Glad you got all the subtle hints throughout there. I think I placed them strategically. One of my favorites was the Triple Stack with a side of Ham. That's always how I think of him, always slightly on the hammy side. And yes, AEW was the new diner. Good catch.

    All- Just as a side note, this piece sort of rattled around from the opening line of a Fountains of Wayne song called "New Routine." It starts like this:

    "Two men sit in the corner of a diner
    Both of them look quite a bit like Carl Reiner
    One of them is smoking even though the sign says not to
    The waitress says to stop, he says "Sorry, but I've got to"

    I mean that's kind of them right??

  6. #6
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Got to say, this one didn't fool me as it apparently did some others. I knew where you were going as soon as you mentioned the two old guys taking up the best booth in the diner.

    The only thing that confused me was the references to who was the older & younger of the guys. Aside from that it was obvious you were talking HHH & Batista, but until this very minute when I googled it I didn't realise Batista was the older of the two!

    Got to say though, I don't think this needed to be about any two guys in particular. It just needed to be about the old guys taking the best slot in the house. Over the past few years there are a number of people who could have had that table reserved. If anything, this year it's less of an issue because they aren't burying a newer talent or hogging the title. They're just trying to bring older fans back. Lets just hope they don't get the usual HHH award for longest match of the night.

    FACT or FICTION: Ladies and Gentlemen, Elias.
    PM me to get involved.

  7. #7
    Great stuff! Really loved the storytelling in the piece, it's very well written and brings you in the story as well.

    Old habits die hard, I guess!

  8. #8
    The Brain
    Join Date
    May 2018
    I bloody love that you're writing again. I knew you couldn't stay away, even if it's just the occasional column. Awesome stuff Rob, cue the "you still got it" chant.

  9. #9
    I read this a couple of times, I had a good idea of the overall approach early on but found a few more of those easter eggs on the second read. Great stuff Rob!

  10. #10
    Nothing short of brilliant.

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