Coke Smart

My phone rang. I answered it.

“Iiiiz dis Meester John Samoon?” The caller asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Dis iz de comftroller for de Mavns Campny (she meant the Marvins Company. She spoke English poorly in a thick Italian accent).


“You have de sloverdooo in-voice.”

She was telling me I owed money on a bill I later found out was two weeks overdue. This was a company I had faithfully paid for 10 years without fail. Because I was two weeks late, the company thought it prudent to call me right when I was sitting down to dinner using a customer service representative, an immigrant who couldn’t speak English.

“How much do I owe?”


“How much?”

“Jew you have uuurrrr recicical (receipt)?”

“What?” I asked, exasperated.

“Jew must make-a-dee paimint (payment) by Septober 24, or a-deee campny, she iieez foerced to make-adee credot note (translated, in other words, if I didn’t pay right away, I’d be in trouble).

“Go to hell!”


I slammed the phone down. I felt bad a moment later that I had lost my temper. You see my wife and I get so many bills. Luckily, the woman on the other end of the line hadn’t understood what I said.

The next day, I decided to grab a hamburger at a fast-food joint. I drove up to the order window.

“Can I take uuurrrr over (order)?” A voice came out of the speaker, a heavy Hispanic accent.

“Yes. I’ll have a number three with french fries, a small soda and an order of fried onions, and I’d also like a cup of water please.”

“Vas dat wit de urge taters or dem’s the numba uno?”


“Jew vant a sooooda?”

“Yes, I want a soda.”

“Dat numba trez……..Jew have de onins on dat?”

“Look! Look! Just make sure the burger has extra lettuce, okay? I like extra lettuce. Can jew (I was starting to talk like her)….I mean, can you… that?”

“Uxtra letts?”

“Extra Lettuce!” I shouted into the box.

“That’s coke smart.”


“Coke smart!”

She meant that extra lettuce “costs more” (she said coke smart).

“Why don’t you go back to Timbuktu or wherever the hell it is you come from,” I snarled to myself as I drove forward to pick up my food. She got the order wrong, but it still tasted good.

After I’d calmed down, I realized that no American would do that kind of job, taking burger orders.

I went to a park to eat my food. I struck up a conversation with a man wearing a turban on his head. He had a red jewel positioned between his eyes.

“Where you from?” I asked him.

“Keeen-tucky (Kentucky),” he said in a thick Hindu accent. 

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