Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

October 11, 2012

Around the Town: Fact is stranger than fiction

By Jan Boston Sellers
Chronicle correspondent

CROSSVILLE — I have had a couple of very interesting dining out experiences over the past week. My co-worker and I were in an episode of “Glee,” and Michael and I encountered a host of celebrities at another restaurant.

One day last week at lunch, Shane and I were sitting next to a family who was watching what appeared to be a family reunion slide show on a laptop. The slide show was set to '80s music. As we ate, we also had somewhat of a retro musical playing behind us. Not that either of us minded: we both are fans of that genre of music. Additionally, standing beside the '80s table was the cutest two-year-old girl ever. She had curly blonde hair, huge blue eyes and dimples and she was singing “Happy Birthday” to every single patron who walked by her at the top of her lungs. Repetitively.

Halfway through our lunch, I heard someone else singing. I mentioned to Shane that I was hearing other vocals. We at first thought it was the radio competing with the slide show and the "Happy Birthday" music. But, as we glanced around the restaurant, he realized the music was coming from another section of the restaurant, and they were singing praise and worship songs.

Shane looked at me and asked, “Are we in an episode of "Glee?'”

I suspected we were, or we were being punked for “Candid Camera.”

We finished our lunch somewhere between “Amazing Grace” and “Roxanne” and round 40 of “Happy Birthday.” But as comical as it seems writing about it, it was actually pretty entertaining at the time. Seriously, it isn’t often we pay for lunch and get a musical for free!

My second "fact is stranger than fiction” restaurant tale comes from the Chattanooga area. Michael and I stopped for a quick breakfast at a restaurant chain known for its fabulous pancakes. I walked up to the hostess desk to give her our name for the wait list when I saw she already had cards printed out with celebrities’ names on them. She handed the people in front of me the Angelina Jolie card (which was quite funny because they had four children themselves, just short of the actresses’ six) and I knew we were getting the Brad Pitt card.

I asked the hostess if I could have anyone other than Pitt’s.

“Oh," she said, "you must be Team Aniston.”

“Actually," I said, "I am.”

“Well," she said, "I can’t mess up the order so you are going to have to take the Brad Pitt card.”

I did. Just before Tom Cruise and Liv Tyler’s families were seated.

As we sat and waited for our table, I couldn’t help but wonder why they were using celebrity names rather than the customers own names. I assumed there was a reason, but since it wasn’t April Fool’s Day, I just couldn’t determine what the reason was. So, being the inquisitive person I am, and knowing right then it was column fodder, I asked.

“Well," she replied, "one day, not so very long ago, we had two men with the exact same first and last names. We called out the name and both arrived simultaneously at the hostess table to be seated. Obviously, we had only one table available at the time, and the two men literally almost came to blows over the table. Therefore, we came up with the idea to just use celebrity names.”

I thought the reason for the celebrity name use was sad. But using the celebrity names? Quite innovative. I just wish we could pick our own celebrity names so for one meal, at least, I could be either Jennifer Aniston or Jennifer Lopez. And Michael? Well, of course, he would be Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

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Cumberland County students are on fall break next week. Students will return to their studies Monday, Oct. 22.

This year’s King of the Mountain title goes to Stone Memorial High School after a win over Cumberland County High School on Panther Field Friday night. This weekend both teams are back in action as the Jets host Coffee County. That game will begin at 7 p.m. on Holder Field. The Panthers will face the Alcoa Tornados. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at SMHS.