Lake Tahoe Poop Face

Lake Tahoe, California

Lake Tahoe Restaurants

Who doesn’t love Lake Tahoe? It’s an incredibly beautiful place. The lake, the mountains, the lifestyle … it’s undeniably one of the top places to visit in the world.

Unfortunately, this otherwise shining jewel of a town is marred by the lazy, white, mentally challenged, ski-bum douchebaggery posing as food-service workers. I mean, what the fuck is the deal with some of these servers and bartenders? Is Lake Tahoe near a college for embedded stupidity? Oh that’s right, Sierra … whose credits aren’t transferable to anywhere but Heald.

Sometimes I wonder if they test people before hiring them with the mirror-fogging test. “OK, Brad, thanks for showing up to your interview on time; extra points for that! Would you mind zipping up your zipper? All right, good job! Says here on your resume you worked for your dad in your backyard … nice. You must be a really hard worker. OK, now here’s a mirror, breathe deeply and try to fog it. Imagine you’re taking a bong rip, and just let the mirror become incased in smoke. Ready? Go! … Nice, really nice. Wow, Brad, you actually fogged half of the mirror; you’re hired! You’re our new lead bartender!”

Arriving at the Lone Eagle Grille in Incline Village, thirsty as shit after my long drive, I walk up to the bar, where a few bartenders display—let’s say somewhat exotic personal hygiene, along with some really fancy tattoos, each with hair in bun. You know the type.

I take a seat as the crew focuses on stocking the bar. I sit there for a few minutes, waiting for someone to acknowledge me. I’ll admit to not being the most patient guy, and after a few minutes, I pipe up with, “Hey Gentleman can I get a drink?”

“Oh, hey, sir. Can I help you?” says one of them.

“Can I get a wines-by-the-glass list and a menu?” I inquire, whereupon the guy—let’s call him “Tanner”—stares at me the way a child might whom you’d just asked if they’d pooped their pants.

“Umm … hold on,” he says. “We just have the bar menu available now.”

“OK,” I say, “what time do you start serving dinner?”


I glance at my watch, which indicates that it’s now five-twenty. I sit there for a minute, blinking rapidly, and say to myself, Is the menu being held hostage by ISIS till five-thirty, dumbass? Tanner proceeds to look for the wine-by-the-glass list, then mumbles to his bar back. Obviously he’s lost the wines-by-the-glass list.

Paralyzed, Tanner stands there, frozen, staring off at two waitresses on the other side of the bar. I sit in silence, my mouth agape, waiting for something to happen. My eyes pan back and forth between Tanner and the waitresses as if I’m sitting in front of a tense ping-pong match. In my head I’m mentally coaching a five-year-old. C’mon, Tanner, you can do it buddy, you can do it!

Like I say, I’m somewhat patience-challenged, and so eventually I just yell out to the waitresses, “Do you have a wine list?” At this point, Tanner turns and looks at me like I just gave him a free puppy. You know the look your child gives you when they admit they pooped their pants.  After a few more minutes, a menu is in my hands. Success!

I look at the menu for a minute and say, “I’ll have the Albariño please.” Again, Tanner gives me the same pooped-in-my-pants look. Proactive and a forward thinker that I am—and wanting to get this thing done before spring thaw—I decide to help him out by turning the menu around and pointing at the wine on the list (Dis one, dummy!).

Studying Tanner, I can see the cogs turning ever so slowly as he starts rummaging around the fridge. After five minutes of snorkeling, he surfaces with the wine in hand. Holy shit, Tanner, good boy!

Our transaction concludes successfully and Tanner promptly disappears. Still hungry and it being past the dinner-menu hostage-release period, I ask the next person behind the bar—let’s call him … “Zeke”—“Can I see a dinner menu?” Zeke looks back at me with the same poopy-pants look as Tanner. I decide that I should mirror Zeke’s poop look back at him. So there we are, stuck in poop-face purgatory. I start leaning toward him, forehead wrinkling, trying to communicate my need telepathically. Menuu, meeenuuuuu!

And then Zeke speaks: “Ohhhh, the dinner menu.”

“Yeesss,” I respond, with a slow and very deliberate head nod, “Menuuu!”

Zeke meanders to the side of the bar and grabs the menu, handing it to me with a casual flourish. With excitement something akin to that of the discoverer of the Dead Sea scrolls, I peruse the menu quickly and realize that I just can’t handle another minute of poop-face interaction.

Dejected, yet triumphant in my determination, I slam down my glass of wine, rise to my feet, walk out the door, and head into the Hyatt Casino, where I sit down at a blackjack table. The dealer promptly welcomes me, and I look up in wonder and awe, realizing that I’m interacting with an actual sentient being. Sweet bliss! But before I can put my money down, he leans over and whispers, “Would you mind pulling up your zipper, sir?”

If you enjoyed this story check out one I wrote on a painful morning at SFO, SFO Terminal Illness.

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4 replies
  1. MAG
    MAG says:


    I’m dying! Anyone born before 1979, can CLEARLY relate to this (I would have written before 1989, but I thought that may be pushing it). Something like this just happened to me at Starbuck’s (my one vice, now that I live in the mountains…the only thing I have to remind me of my NYC walks). I ordered a basic drink and they had to pull out their encyclopedia of drink recipes. Both “baristas” had to lean in and flip the pages as I stood there watching them.

    I am patience-challenged as well (working on it), and it took everything I had to walk around the counter and make it myself.
    However, they found the page before I took action…thank goodness.

    In other words, I feel your pain.

    Great post!

  2. Elise Baril
    Elise Baril says:

    Hey, there are a lot of places that are really challenged to find decent waiters, etc to hire. There is a VERY low unemployment rate these days, so we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel of who is left to hire. I am not in the food industry, I”m in a different sector, but the last two ads for employees I ran got ZERO responses. That’s the answer, my friend.

    • Jim Sloate
      Jim Sloate says:


      I totally hear you about the difficulties to find good people in any industry/location. Having started, built and sold a few companies in my time. I have hired and fired more people than I would like to remember. Its a painful part of business.

      With that being said, I am in and out of restaurants daily, bad food or bad service, is just what it is, bad. And when its real bad, writing about it, is a great outlet, versus getting mad about it.

      Thanks for reaching out, appreciate the support. Happy Holidays!



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