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Ah, Books: Gatekeepers Of The Intelligent, Apparently

, , , , , | Right | August 23, 2021

My first job is as a busboy when I’m in high school. It’s a small mom-and-pop bar/restaurant that’s sort of the dedicated hangout spot for all the suburbanites of the area.

One notable regular we have is a banker who routinely comes in during the later hours to get completely wasted. He’s sort of the condescending, know-it-all type that assumes he’s smarter than everyone else when he’s drunk, but he never gets too belligerent and he’s a great tipper, so most of the staff leaves him be.

On this particular evening, he’s going into a long-winded speech about how people in the service industry, teenagers especially, are uneducated; when I’m making a run through the dining area with a few empty plates, he beckons me over.

Banker: “Hey, what’s the last book you ever read?”

I respond without so much as missing a beat.

Me:The Count of Monte Cristo.”

Apparently, that completely takes him off guard as he sputters for a few moments while trying to come up with a proper retort, the bartender near him wearing a smirk.

Banker: “Well, what about before that?”

Me:The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.”

The banker frowned and returned to his drink, apparently admitting defeat as the bartender tried to suppress a laugh. Out of all the people he had to come at with that question, he managed to pick the only bookworm in the entire place.