Just last night, my family (such as it is) got together for a reunion. With me in New York, one cousin constantly traveling, the other in Westchester, and my brother in Florida, this is something that happens only on rare occasions. And really, it only happened yesterday because my brother attended his 50th college reunion in New England this weekend and corralled the family while he was up north.
My mother had a funny line about my brother and his propensity to not pick up checks after they’d dined together. She’d say “Your brother has a glue pot in his pocket.” This as it happened, changed drastically in the last 20 years of her life at which point she essentially depended on her two sons to keep her in the lifestyle to which she was seemingly born into (oy)! But that’s besides the point.
So anyway…my corporate lawyer cousin was charged with picking the restaurant, which as it turned out was a fancy schmancy number at Madison and 60th Street. Conveniently located near my brother’s hotel (the Ritz Carlton) it was. Aimed at your local K mart shopper it wasn’t!
Now I’m not one for fancy dining, as I never met a baked potato worth forking over twelve bucks for. But when in Rome, that much of a pain in the ass I’m not. So I checks out the menu on line to be prepared. And while the selection is not vast, to my liking, or for the frugal, I figure I’ll survive the 28 bucks for a rack of baby back ribs. I mean…ya only live once, right? And pursuant to the thought, I carry cash including small bills so when the time comes, I’ll just bust out with 35 or 40 bucks to whoever’s gonna use his or her card to pay for the meal. That way I know I’m covered.
The bill is placed on the table after the meal is over and all the big shots have that uncomfortable look in their eyes. Me? I’m already in my pocket ready to throw down my portion when one cousin suggests we split it 6 ways. This all wouldn’t be odd in most situations except…the cuz who suggested we split it evenly is worth (along with her husband who was there) about 10 mil. The other cousin’s (the corporate lawyer) net worth is unknown to me. But given that she’s been a corporate lawyer for 40 years…and inherited over a million bucks when my aunt died, I gotta think she’s got a few sheckles stashed. My brother is loaded to the tune of in the ballpark of the first mentioned cousin. And I, government intervention notwithstanding, am of a more modest but still multi bottom line. Yet still, the uncomfortable moment.
Big brother (not the kind that spies on you) chimes in “I put this party together so I’m picking up the bill!” to which my cousin-in-law (a doctor by the way) quips “Ya see! Your brother knows how to pick up a bill!” Which I barely heard because I was too busy putting my money back in my pocket.
I know mom was smiling from above as she watched all this while musing “Well, well. The glue pot finally dried up. Mine son picked up the bill. Will wonders never cease!” All in all, the evening was a success. My stomach, which suffered a puking bug on Wednesday, withstood the rib onslaught like a champion. And none of the family gossip turned negative at any point in our conversations. If you’d been a fly on the wall, you very well might have noted what a wonderfully functional family we are. But how come with all those multi-millionaires…nobody wants to pick up the check? What the fuck is that?!?!