Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Lot to Live Up To . . .

The firm took all of the attorneys and their spouses out to dinner last Saturday at Morton's in Georgetown. It was a very classy event (and I was very much looking forward to wearing a nice wool sheath dress that I'd just bought from Ann Taylor the day before), so I was on my best and classiest behavior. Minding my P's and Q's, engaging in polite and mildly witty conversation, mostly drawn from my best dinner-party-conversation-source, All Things Considered on NPR.

After we'd all mingled during a standing appetizer course, we all took our seats. Each place setting was bestowed with a thick leather menu that said "Morton's" on the front in gold lettering. Uber-fancy.

I was studiously turning the pages of the menu when one of the partners leaned over suddenly and said to me, "You'd better check the first PAGE of the MENU to make sure that you've SEEN everything!" He was nearly shouting the words.

I looked at him for a second in surprised confusion, and then flipped back to the appetizers page. I scanned the list. Everything looked normal. A long list of normal appetizers -- iceberg lettuce wedge with blue cheese dressing, heirloom tomato salad, crab cakes -- all the usual suspects. He nodded toward the menu again, and I nodded back. "Everything looks delicious!" I smiled.

He grinned and glanced at another partner, who chimed in and said excitedly, "Yes, did you get a good LOOK at the MENU yet??"

I looked at her, then back down at the menu again. I was starting to feel a bit like a crazy person. I stared at the appetizer items again, then flipped back to the main course items, not really sure what I was looking for. I felt my hands getting clammy with nerves. Was this some sort of crazy pop quiz that they give the new associates? "Find the legal issue in the menu"? Did Morton's accidentally leave out the warning about undercooked meats? What am I missing??

Luckily, Steven (the bastion of common sense) was sitting beside me during this entire back-and-forth. I shot him a glance in desperation, and he must have realized I was a bit troubled, because he leaned over and subtly pointed to the inside cover page of the menu.

Here's what it looked like:


"Oh!" (Thank God, its not some insane bar exam question hidden between the mashed potatoes and the creamed spinach after all.) "Thank you!"

The partners all grinned, despite the fact that it took me a solid ten minutes to notice MY OWN FIRST NAME in the menu. Clearly I have set a low bar for their expectations based on this interaction. (Which must mean I can only improve from here on out, right?)


Steven Steele said...

Loved every minute of it! The firm is lucky to have someone like you!

Matt Huff said...


kellymjohnson said...

okay, I feel stupid, but why were they so excited about the names being on the menu? Did everyone have their name on their menu? Was this some type of lawyer initiation that I'm unaware of? Now, I'm feeling dense, as well!