"...and here you are, sir: hamburger, medium-rare, and fries. You're sure you don't want anything to drink?"
"Thanks, I'll just stick with the water."
"Fine. You let me know if you need anything else, OK?"
"Well, there is one thing..."
"This hamburger. I ordered a cheeseburger."
"I must have missed it -- no problem. Gimme a sec, and I'll have some cheese put right on there. You want cheddar, or Swiss?"
"Swiss would be great."
"Not a problem. Sorry I didn't get it right the first time. I -- "
"Oh, and the soup."
"Mushroom-barley soup. You never brought the mushroom-barley soup."
"I'm sorry, sir, but I don't think you ever ordered the soup. I mean, I'm happy to get you some soup, but I don't have it here on my order pad."
"I'm sure I ordered the soup. If I didn't, I certainly intended to order it."
"If you'd asked me whether I wanted soup, I'm sure I'd have told you."
"But I always -- "
"Not about mushroom-barley. Not specifically."
"If you'd said 'Would you like a cup of mushroom-barley soup?' I'd have given you an answer to that."
"So some Swiss cheese on the burger, and a cup of the mushroom-barley -- coming right up."
"A bowl of the mushroom-barley."
"But you just said -- "
"I want a bowl of the mushroom-barley! There's no inconsistency here!"
"Look, I'm happy to -- oh, hi, boss."
"Is there a problem, Jimmy? Good afternoon, Senator Burris -- nice to see you again. Is Mr. Burris having some difficulty?"
"He keeps changing his order! Every time I think I've got it, there's something else!"
"Now, I'm sure you and Mr. Burris are just having a little misunderstanding."
"That's what I keep telling him -- I've always ordered my meals with honor!"
"Let's everybody calm down, OK? I'm sure we can settle this peacefully. Now, Jimmy, what's the senator's order?"
"Well, now it's a cheeseburger with Swiss, medium-rare -- "
" -- medium-well, with fries, and a bowl of mushroom-barley soup."
"Well, that sounds simple enough, doesn't it? I sure we can -- "
"What about my salad?"
"HE DIDN'T ORDER SALAD!"
"Let's not make a scene, Jimmy. If the senator says he ordered the salad, I'm sure he ordered the salad. Isn't that right, Senator?"
"Absolutely. And a Sprite."
"And a Sprite. I'll bet he just didn't hear you, Senator, with all the noise."
"There were several facts that I was not given the opportunity to make during my order."
"Of course not -- it could happen to anyone."
"God knows we shouldn't even be here!"
"Well, we're delighted you're here! Now, just give us a moment, and Jimmy and I will have everything all straightened out to your complete satisfaction, won't we, Jimmy?"
"With a smile for the senator, Jimmy."
"Sure. We'll have it all str -- wait a minute!"
"What is it now?"
"Where's the silverware?"
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at email@example.com