‘You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too’


We ate out at a nice restaurant last night.

(I won’t say which one. Normally, everything is great, so I don’t want to call negative attention to it.)

The ambiance, meals, and service were wonderful as usual—but towards the end…

Waiters and waitresses routinely ask if we would like dessert. The restaurant gets an add-on sale and since the bill is higher, the waiter or waitress is likely to receive a somewhat larger tip.

Most of the time we decline though, partly since dessert isn’t the healthiest part of the meal.

However, the chocolate cake at this restaurant is delicious, so we placed an order.

About ten minutes later, we still haven’t received our cake.

Then suddenly our waiter walks past our table holding a chocolate cake high over his shoulder.

Wait a minute. Did one of his other tables place a dessert order just before we did?

The waiter rounds a corner, reaches for something with his free hand, and pulls out a fork.

Oh, maybe he was just getting an extra fork in case we needed it.

That’s when I see him poke the fork into the cake and eat a bite out of it.

My brain is racing. I don’t like confrontation.

He didn’t put the used fork back into the cake for a second bite. The fork that was used never returned to the cake.

I reasoned that the cake must still be okay then.

At least he did this out in the open where I could watch the whole thing. (Just imagine what they do in the back room when you have no idea what’s going on. Actually, let’s just imagine that never happens.)

In fact, once the cake arrived, I couldn’t see a place on the cake where a bite was missing. Maybe, just maybe, there had been an excess piece of frosting sticking out and he used his fork to make the cake look nicer. (Of course, there were better ways to go about that.)

Later on, I realized that it would have been hilarious if I had had the courage to ask, “Did our cake taste yummy?”

(Their cake really is irresistible!)

So we ate the cake. We didn’t complain. We did gain a nice story to tell.

It’s not quite over though.

When he brings the bill, he does a second thing that I’ve never seen a waiter or waitress do.

He mentions that there is a spot for the tip on the credit card receipt. He only used 3-4 words (I forget exactly which ones) and his voice was quiet, but the point was clear.

(Wait. Do you mean the free bite of cake wasn’t enough of a tip?)

As an author, I’ve been trying to think of a proper analogy. Just imagine that you visit a bookstore, purchase a book, and then the cashier reads the first page of the book, rips it out, and hands you your purchase.


It’s almost ready. I’m working hard every day to put the finishing touches on it.

Looking back through my old files (and my first WordPress post announcing it), I see that I’ve been working on it for 3 years.

After two major overhauls, it weighs in at over 500 pages on 8.5″ x 11″ sheets of paper (obviously, it will also be available for Kindle).

I’m so close. The cover looks fantastic, and I want the inside to make the reading experience just as magical as the cover.

This book is a big part of the reason that I haven’t blogged much recently, nor much towards the end of last year.

I have several good posts lined up though. As soon as I press that golden Publish button, several articles will start coming out.

Today, for example, I was polishing up the index for the print edition, and I realized I have some advice for how to put one together.

Chris McMullen, author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of workbooks