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Hold the Tomatos


Deborah KleinWe sat across the table from each other in a local eatery. A hip, pierced and tatted young man was ready to take our orders. The person with whom I was sharing dinner asked, “Are there any seeds-like poppy-seeds or peppercorns, in the burger or the bun? If you don’t know, please find out. And please leave the strawberries off the summer salad. I have diverticulitis and you’ve no idea how painful it is.”

I died a thousand little deaths as I watched him recount his disease, complete with hand gestures indicating the area where the colon is found in his body and how the seeds lodge, (a jabbing motion with his finger,) in the soft pink lining and then become inflamed, (the same hand gesture commonly used for an explosion.) He waited for a response from the server to assure him that he understood the gravity of the matter.

I blocked them out and slipped into my macabre fantasy world. In it, I ordered my dinner.

“I’ll take the salad, only please make it with kale instead of iceberg lettuce. Dr. Warren told me I suffer from gastritis and iceberg is one of the triggers. You don’t want me crop dusting my way outta here, do you? And don’t put tomatos on it because they remind me of cat placenta, especially the stewed tomatos, which wouldn’t be used on a salad anyway, but you know what I mean. Also, if you don’t mind, please leave beets off of anything I order that might include them. They make me pee red and I always forget that I’ve eaten them so I get scared that I might be hemorrhaging.   Oh, and would you be so kind as to bring a bunch of toothpicks? I have gaps in my teeth from receding gums and dry-mouth that I get from my medication. I can’t smile after I eat because my teeth catch bits of food as efficiently as Derek Jeter caught grounders.”


I snapped out of it, realizing that our server and my dinner companion were staring at me as if I’d had a little stroke.

“Oh! My turn to order!   I’ll have the kale salad, hold the tomatos. And would you please bring me a toothpick?   And I would like two Pinot Grigios.  And if it isn’t happy hour, bring me two anyway.”

~written by Deborah Klein, Safety Harbor resident blogger


  1. Addendum: I have a problem spelling things I don’t like. So I see I miss-spelled Tomatoes. Spell check did not correct me. I also have trouble spelling exercise and practice. Two other things I don’t like.

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