Tara said that with eyebrow-crinkling rage while we were out grabbing drinks on a laid-back patio. She shook her head sternly and surveyed our table of belchy beer drinkers for emotional support.
We offered none.
In my defense I had no idea what she was talking about, so I just took a sip of my beer and wiped my foamstache. When I casually glanced back at Tara I saw she was still steaming so I tossed her a thin-lipped nod and a flimsy half-hearted response.
“Your tip, huh. Boy, that is really too bad.”
I figured we were done but she wasn’t stopping. No, she slapped her palms on the sloshy metal table covered in soggy beer coasters and lemon wedges, leaned her head in real close, and popped her eyes out like a B-grade horror actress who’d just been axed in the back.
“You know, the tip of my pumpkin pie. He ate the tip of my pumpkin pie! He knows I love tips. I always talk about tips and he just stole it from me. He ate that perfect, delicious triangle at the front of my dessert. I was so mad!”
And then I suddenly got it.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, what’d you do,” I asked, suddenly sucked into this tale of sugar robbery.
“Oh, you want to know what I did? I’ll tell you what I did. I ate the tip of every single piece of pie left in the dish. There were seven left and I just scarfed seven delicious tips!”
Now this really got my attention. What a feisty little nibbler, I thought. Some dude jokingly stabs his fork in her dessert and suddenly lightning bolts flicker in her eyes, her teeth start grinding, and her lips curl into a dark clownish smile.
I kind of liked it.
Frankly, we all did. Yes, we all laughed at Tara’s tip-eating rampage that sunny afternoon and realized that, come on, tips are great. I mean, let’s think about it for a second here:
1. Slice of pizza. Bubbly cheese, crispy pepperoni corners, and tiny drips of hot orange oil swirl around at the center of the pie. It’s the nucleus of the pizza and the core of all taste. No, there’s no danger of uneven sauce coverage here and the crust is nice and thin. Plus, if you’re lucky, you might score a cheese dangle, which involves your pizza tip using the power of the melt to snag excess toppings from a nearby slice. And hey, if your tip is the one getting robbed of toppings here, no worries. You just scrape up bits of cheese and sausage from the rest of the box and toss on top. Everybody gets a great tip.
2. The top swirl of a Dairy Queen cone. Folks in the biz know it’s an art to create that delicate curl on the top of a cone. It’s the only real baby-nibble on the cone and therefore a nice tease for the next few minutes. Most of the way down you’re licking and biting your ice cream, so that top swirl is a yummy appetizer.
3. Quiche. Does anybody actually eat quiche? Well, if you’re in the game for this one, I’m guessing you’re loving that chunky broccoli, salty ham, fluffy egg, and oily crust combo at the front of your slice. Très yummy, yes pas?
4. First crispy nacho from the top of the tower. Full-size triangle chip with crisp corners, bubbly cheese, and little salsa puddles, waiting innocently for you to dive in. We’re not talking about bland, lettuce covered shards at the bottom of the heap. No, we’re talking about the tip of the nachoberg here.
5. First sip from a bottle of beer. This is the liquid tip. Not as triangular or pointy, but let’s face it: For those who drink that first sip of beer on a Friday after work can be refreshing, bubbly bliss.
6. Cakes. We saved the best for last. As those tall, wobbly cheesecake towers arrive at your table or you delicately carve out a thick slab of black forest at a birthday party, we both know you’re eying that delicious triangle tip right up front. And look at it sugar-shining in the light just waiting for you. It’s practically saluting and pledging allegiance to your mouth.
So people, come on. Let’s all hold hands today and remember the many great tips we’ve enjoyed over the years. Yes, smile at all those delicious first bites and first sips that surprised your tongue and teased your tastebuds with hints of what’s to come.
Love tips, love bites, love tips, love life.