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There’s a fork for that...


Growing up with entrepreneurial parents often afforded me opportunities that most kids my age could only dream of. Okay, maybe not dream of...but it was pretty cool. How many kids do you know got to be a regular member of the studio audience for the Bozo the Clown TV show or watch the gerbil races from the set of the Captain 20 show?

A private meet-n-greet with the robot from Lost in Space and having Clint Holmes sing “Playground in My Mind” to me (Why? Because “My name is Michael”) were some more memorable moments. Others include getting to wrap the fingers of John Kay from Steppenwolf because he forgot his guitar pick during the tapping of a ‘70s music TV show (pre MTV). I got to spend summers hangin’ with Admirals, Titans of Industry, and CIA Double Agents (boy, the stories I could tell); sit in Evel Knievel’s rocket-powered motorcycle shortly after his famous attempt at jumping the Snake River; be on the “guest list” for every rock concert that came to town; and hangout at Buck Owens’ studio while they were recording tracks.

One particular “opportunity” I’ll never forget was around my 12th birthday. Mom and Dad wanted me to experience “fine dining.” Not that I’d never eaten at a nice restaurant before, but this was different. We’re talking about the kind of place with a name you can’t possibly pronounce; the kind of place where someone famous must of died (uh, I mean a place of historical significance); the kind of place that has three kinds of forks before you even get to the salad.

There must of been a waiter, a busser, and

a water boy for each of us! I don’t remember exactly what we ate; I think maybe I had the scallops. I do remember the embarrassment of my one débutante-type faux pas.

All was going well until sometime around the end of course #7 (and well before dessert). A waiter came by and asked, “Lemon?” Not wanting to be rude, I said “Yes, please,” and he proceeded to place a small plate with a wedge of lemon on it (and another damn fork) in front of me.

I sat there for a while, contemplating how to “best enjoy” this offering. After several moments, I just picked up the fork and popped the lemon in my mouth. It seemed the entire room gasped. Immediately afterward, another waiter came around and asked, “Warm towel?”

The laughter finally subsided after several awkward minutes (to a 12-year-old, it was like years). It seems I was supposed to “wipe” my fingers on the lemon and then use the towel to dry them off. Very common for those who order seafood in a 5-star restaurant. Mom and Dad had always been good about teaching me proper etiquette and manners, but they had missed this one.

I haven’t been back to a 5-star restaurant since...

We at Bakersfield Magazine asked ourselves, “Are etiquette and manners still as important in today’s world and, more importantly, in the workplace?” You’ll have to read the story to find out what we discovered (Social Distortion? starts on page 56). It’s all part of our annual Women & Business Section. We also have a great story on this year’s Women’s Business Conference, which we are, once again, excited to sponsor (page 51), as well as our annual staff favorite “What Women Think.” Think you know? Think again! (page 67).

And we are proud to present our 7th Annual Go Red for Women/Ladies in Red special section in support of the American Heart Association’s fight against heart disease and stroke.

These, plus all our regular features and more, await you in this issue of Your Magazine.

Now, can someone pass me another fork...please.

Mike Corum


Article appeared in our 27-6 Issue - February 2011