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Carla’s gonna kill me for this, but she’s built like a woman and so anytime something spills on the way to her mouth it lands on the nearest platform, and that ain’t her lap.

Same with me. I swear. The tiny li’l lap napkins they give you at eateries are part of a worldwide conspiracy by the dry-cleaning cartel to make sure we bring in a steady stream of stained shirts and blouses.


Like, the other night, at a Chinese joint, I’m kinda gesticulating to make a point. Have chopsticks in hand. Rice in chopsticks. Soy soaking the rice. White shirt.

Say no mo’.

By the time I’m finished dipping napkins in water and rubbing, the shirt looks like a tie-dye.

So I’m thinking, Why don’t we pick up the damned napkin off our laps to where it can do its job?


Answer: because we feel stupid, like some kid in a high chair, or messy like grandpa.

But maybe we should go back beyond grandpa — say, to Lincoln’s time, or even better, Henry VIII’s? Henry? That boy knew how to eat hearty, and I bet he wore a huge napkin around his neck, to protect all those royal ruffs and velvets and firkins and jerkins of his.

Can just picture his bawdy dinners at long trestle tables with peasants hauling whole roasted pigs and venison around on poles for everybody to cut pieces off.

And wine in goblets and straw on the floor, and curs slinking underneath, waiting for chewed bones to fly over royal shoulders.

Because, hey, with those mega napkins, people didn’t have to be careful and neurotic about spilling stuff. They'd glug wine (not sip) and rip meat up with their hands (not nitpick with knives and forks).

And all because of a decent-sized napkin.

So, I think I’m gonna bite the bullet, find me some big swath of cloth and, next time I eat, tie the thing around my neck and have at it, fearing neither tut-tuts from Emily Post, nor guffaws from the crowd. Because they'll be paying dry-cleaning bills tomorrow, not I.

And then I’ll market "Ed's Mega Napkins," get stinking rich, and fling a fang around whole venison every night like Henry VIII. And my li’l white shirt underneath will be safe and sound.

And Carla will worship the ground I lay straw on.

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