Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

The Grifters

Recently, I had an unpleasant experience in a restaurant. After finishing our desert, I suddenly heard a loud voice behind me saying: “No, it was disgusting!” Apparently, she had responded to the waiter’s question: “Did you enjoy your desert?” She also pushed 3 empty desert plates in his hands.

Actually, that desert had been excellent: fried (!) strawberries with ice cream, blackberries and black pepper. We had both ordered it following the unusual combination of ingredients; the mix was excellent. Their empty desert plates suggested that their (similar) desert had not been disgusting.

Moreover, they started laughing behind me, after the waiter had left their table. He had apologized to them and promised them compensation. The entire incident felt surreal. My mind had even already mitigated the harsh words spoken (ie, from “niet te vreten” towards “niet te eten“).

In our post-mortem evaluation of that evening, our conclusion was that these people had been grifters looking to scam the restaurant. Both of us had never experienced such a lack of shame before. My table companion noticed that one of the people (behind me) did display symptoms of shame.

That incident spoiled our entire evening. In a different restaurant, I might have defended the restaurant. This restaurant was, however, brand new to me. Moreover, one of the waiters had been a jerk to me, on our arrival. Subsequently, that waiter had displayed some symptoms of guilt and shame.

In the 1973 film The Sting (rated 8.3 in IMDb), actors Paul Newman and Robert Redford are playing two professional grifters trying to con Robert Shaw, a mob boss. It features a famous quote: “No sense in being a grifter if it’s the same as being a citizen.” (eg, source).

For me, the choice between the life of a criminal or a citizen is easy. I would not be able to live with the guilt and shame of being a grifter. Laughing about it, is not a solution.

“As for working with a partner, he didn’t like that either. It cut the score right down the middle. It put an apple on your head, and handed the other guy a shotgun. Because grifters, it seemed, suffered an irresistible urge to beat their colleagues. There was little glory in whipping a fool—hell, fools were made to be whipped. But to take a professional, even if it cost you in the long run, ah, that was something to polish your pride.”

A quote from The Grifters (1963) by Jim Thompson, (1906-1977), an American writer and screenwriter

Shameless (2019) by Camila Cabello
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-artist, Wiki-song

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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  1. Irene

    Interesting, I am wondering if it is a real story or just writing.

    • Leon Oudejans

      It’s a real story, Irene. Unfortunately. Nevertheless, many thanks for your implicit compliment.


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