Elementary School Drop-out

Steve Katz

Steve Katz

Steve Katz
Provincetown, Massachusetts, USA
November 27
Norma Glamp's
Steve Katz, owner of Norma Glamp's and Memories Gallery, began his career as a school teacher. He has taught art and ceramics at the high school and elementary school levels. His family is in iron and steel. His mother irons and his father steals, In 1988, he took a break from teaching to seek fame and fortune in Hollywood. While finding neither, he did manage to secure a recurring role as an extra on the TV sitcom, 'Cheers." Duties performed included sitting, standing and leaning against walls making silent conversation. Returning to the east coast in 1992, he became a full-time Provincetown resident and founded his two galleries to showcase his hand-colored Polaroid transfers and woven photographs. He lives with his partner Herb and his cat Louey in a home located on the most bumpy and rutted road in North America.....are you listening Provincetown Highway Department???????


Steve Katz's Links

MARCH 28, 2010 7:49PM


Rate: 45 Flag

"Give me sixty-five cents more," my boyfriend Bradley said to me, as we rode downtown in a cab.

"Why?"I asked?" I really didn't know.

"Give me sixty-five cents" he insisted. "Hurry. The driver is stopping."

 As the taxi slowed down to let me me out, I divided the meter total and added the tip. As I carefully handed the money to Bradley, he whispered. "Because I live two blocks further downtown than you do. By the time the taxi reaches my house, I will owe one dollar and thirty cents more." He held out his hand. "Your share of the extra is sixty-five cents."

My boyfriend wasn't cheap, he was CHEAP.

But a taxi ride isn't what I want to tell you about today. We'll cover that some other time.


Bradley had a nasty habit. One might call it  Salad Syndrome.

It had been going on for months.

Once a month, six of us went out to dinner on Saturday night. We all worked hard and lived frugally.  Our monthly Saturday dinner was our one evening to splurge.

That night, Etta ordered the fish.

Peter ordered the steak.

Well, you get the idea. I don't have to  go around the whole table telling you what everyone ordered.

Then it was Bradley's turn. "I'm not hungry tonight," Bradley would invariably say. "I'll just have the $3.50 house salad."

"That's all you want, Bradley?" I asked mockingly. "Certainly you want more than a little salad..."

"Nope," he'd say every week. "That will fill me up."

"One side salad it is," the waiter repeated, giving Bradley a sideward glance.

 This wasn't MacDonald's here.

 This was a real restaurant.

With real table cloths.

And real knives and forks. Not plastic.

The food arrived.

Etta got her fish.....

Yeah, yeah, I know I don't have to tell you what everyone ordered.

"And one house side salad for the gentleman," said the waiter. Did I imagine it or did  he slam the salad down onto the table in front of Bradley?

"Dig in everyone!" Etta said excitedly.

Then the fun would begin.

"Etta," Bradley said, "That fish looks so good. May I have a taste?" Etta looked at him with disgust. This was not the first time. he had made this type of request.

"I'll just take a little taste," he said as he cut off a third of her portion. "Ummmm....good," he said, smacking his lips.

Then on to Jack. "Mind if I take a little taste  of your steak? he asked. His knife and fork were already on the plate.  "I hear the steak is really good here." Again a third of the portion ended up on Bradley's plate.

Do I really have to explain te rest  to you? Bradley went around the table and "sampled" everyone's dinner. By the time he was finished, he had eaten more than any of us.I imagine five good-sized portions of our dinners was quite satisfying....and let's not forget the house side salad which he ordered because he wasn't very hungry.

The check arrived.

We all settled up.

"My fish was $15.95 plus tax and tip." said Etta as she handed over her share of the check.

"My steak  was $17.95 plus tax and tip," Jack said as he also paid his share.

I'm sure you get the idea without my spelling it out. Everyone paid their share of the bill.

Lastly (always lastly,)  we heard from Bradley, "I had the $3.50 house salad. A five dollar bill should cover it."


"I'm sorry Steve," said Etta apologetically the next day, "We love going out with you, but Bradley has pulled his food tasting stunt  for the last time....eating half our dinners and paying for a dinner salad." She went on, "I spend all this money and I don't get enough to eat....and all that bastard  pays for is a dinner salad." I'm sorry Honey," she added, "but we just can't do this anymore."

I sat and thought about what Etta said for quite a while. She was right. The situation was ridiculous. As his partner, I was embarassed. What he was doing wasn't fair to our friends.

 I wondered how teach Bradley a lesson.

 It finally hit me.

I called Etta. "Just one more dinner. Please.  Come with us next month.   I promise  you  won't be disappointed."

"OK," she said warily. "Jack and I will be there on Saturday. But no more funny business from your boyfriend."


That Saturday arrived and the six of us met at the restaurant. Menus were placed at the table. Dinner was ordered.

Etta ordered first. "Let's see, " I'll have the lamb chop," she said. "And oh yes," she grinned,  "and a house salad."

Jack ordered the fish and,"oh yes, a house salad."

As we went around the table, everyone ordered their entree. After ordering, each of us added "and a house salad."

Take a guess what Bradley ordered? Hint: It rhymes with Mouse Ballad.

Dinner arrived.

"God!" Etta said, "I guess I'm not as hungry as I thought." She looked around. "Does anyone want my lamb chop?"

Bradley smiled like the Cheshire cat. "Pass it over, Etta. I'll see it doesn't go to waste." He dug into it like he hadn't eaten for days.

One by one, we took turns around the table. "I guess I don't feel like fish tonight." Jack declared. "Does anyone want it?"

Bradley's hand shot up. "Pass it here," Bradley said. I'll eat it after Etta's lamb chop.


 None of us were especially hungry that night. Bradley ended up with five  complete dinners. We all enjoyed our house salads as Bradley packed the food away.

Then the check came.

"Well, all I ate was the house salad. My share comes to $3.50 plus tax and tip." said Etta. She had just a little smirk on her face.

As we went around the room, everyone's paid for their house salad. That's all they ate. That's all they paid for.

"Three fifty plus tax and tip," said Fred as he laid the money on the table.

And then we got to Bradley. " House salad. Here's my $3.50," he offered and plunked the money on the table. He was still eating a chicken leg.

 We all smiled at the same time. "How do you figure that?" I asked. "You just ate five complete dinners."

Bradley's mouth dropped open.

It was true.

The chicken leg dropped out of hisw mouth and onto his plate.

"By my addition," I continued. "You owe $125.75 with tip."

Bradley was speechless, but he couldn't argue with me.

Etta grinned. "You ate all the food. You pay the bill."

Bradley was not  happy, but he took out his credit card and paid for the five dinners.That was probably more money than he had spent on food in six months.

 We all smiled. Bradley had been beaten at his own game.

End of story, you say?

Learned his lesson, you might surmise.




"Make sure you give me that extra  sixty-five cents," he reminded me as we took a cab home from the  restaurant. "Don't forget I live two blocks away."

I gave Bradley his sixty-five cents and bid him a fond good-night.

And then I forever forgot that he lived two blocks away.




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great dialogue and an engaging story. but if it's true, i'd have ditched bradley before you did. but then i've never been forgiving of penny-pinching. ;
This is sad that a person could be so cheap . Great story!
Cheap is a bad quality. Very funny story, Steve. _r
Great story, Steve. What's that saying about karma, and "what goes around comes around??" Glad you responded to his salad syndrome creatively! ~r!
What a great lesson, wonderfully told!
geez, there's cheap, and then there's ..Bradley....
I've heard of being tight, but I bet he squeaked when he walked!
once again, you knocked one out of the ball park!!!!!! i love the way you write --- whether silly or sad, you never cease to amuse, teach and entertain all of us.
Some people! Hope he had indigestion that night. What stories you have to tell. Keep it up.
I imagined him at that last dinner thinking, "I don't get no respect."

Deal with it, Brad Baby.

Great story-telling as usual. R
Nobody likes a cheap guy. Nice story, Steve.
For a beverage, did he order a glass of water with lemons on the side?

Another hit; funny and beautifully done.
You are so good, Steve. Maybe a little "too good" staying with Bradley too long. But I did mean your writing is SO good. Loved the story.
@Leepin Larry:
Why would he order water with lemon on the side when he could take the lemons home in his pocket and make lemonade the next day?????
This "gentleman" was 100% real.
Only the name was changed to protect the cheap.
I would say your friends like you a LOT to put up with that more than once!

Good storytelling!
Oh my goodness! What a great way to tell this story! xox
You got that guy good! I cannot stand cheap people, especially since they are often the ones with the most money. I've dated men so cheap that they pulled the old "I forgot my wallet" stunt after ordering an expensive meal while I had something modest thinking that they were paying because they asked me out. I never like to take advantage.

I had a boyfriend so cheap that he pretended he couldn't hear me when I truly did forget my wallet and asked him for $1.25 for a cup of tea. He had just ordered a $5 mocha and a sandwich. I sat across the table from him with nothing and he didn't seem to mind.

I once went out with a girlfriend who worked for the UN and made a lavish salary considering that her swank apartment in the centre of Rome was provided for free. It was my birthday, and again, she had invited me. Imagine my surprise when she stuck me with half the bill and the full price of the bottle of French Champagne she insisted we order. I was unemployed at the time. I had to borrow money from her to pay for it, an act which apparently carried no irony for her. Happy Birthday to me!

I have a friend that I won't dine out with any more because she insists that servers give her 4 wine tastings, makes them describe everything on the menu in detail while the rest of us wait, calls them over to the table to complain about every little thing, then refuses to tip more than a couple of bucks. Needless to say, she has trouble finding dining partners these days.

And then there are people who have big homes and new cars every year yet when I used to go out to dinner with them, thought nothing of having me subsidize them while they split the bill in their favour.

It's not my true nature since I've never been the type to nickel and dime, but when I dine with others now I ask for separate cheques or totals, and adamantly refuse to pay more than my share unless I am treating someone. It took me a while, but I finally learned how to deal with cheapskates and freeloaders.
Cheap? More like a power tripper. Good on ya for losing him!
@emma peel: You are so right. It is the richest people who want to "split the bill" because things are so close....or no they're not. YOU ordered fifteen drinks. I had water....
My friend goes to restaurants and tells them it's his birthday....of course that means a free piece of cake.
Thanks for writing.
The nerve! Your friend must be older than dirt.

Happy ending to my story: I married a man who doesn't have much money, but he is kind and thoughtful and generous in the ways that count. And he's never stuck me with the bill, even when I've insisted on paying.
Hold on to him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Most enjoyable tale of a cheapskate getting his. Loved it.
@Bonnie: I can't vouch for yummy.
You'll have to ask Bradley.
I could talk for hours about this person for hours, but considering he is real, I will shut up.
Steve, you always just have me going!!!!! I loved this, so funny, and tying it together at the end back in the cab. Wonderful. Bea. R
rollicking good one, steve, especially the end!
That story was.... delicious.
Louis Prima once wrote and sang a song:

Banana split for my baby, and a glass of plain water for me

With your friend, you can guess the rest of the song
I love it--so long Bradley/Cheapskate!
Wow. That takes Cheap to a whole new level of annoyance. What a dick. Taxi sharing? $0.65? What a dick.
Another good one.
I once ran into a former neighbor at the diner. After greeting me, he went back to arguing with the cashier that they had overcharged him by two cents on his tax. I would have suggested that he take it out of his tip, but I'm sure he didn't leave one.
Nothing irks me like cheap people. I don't mean frugal people, or honestly on a budget people. Cheap people. Here's a hint: They are cheap with their affection too. As I'm sure you discovered.

I can't wait to order Mouse Ballad the next time I go out. I hear it's a delicacy.
I thought Mouse Ballad played 3rd base for the 63' Cleveland Indians.
Ugh! I would have dumped him after that first cab ride! But then again, now you have a great story to share :-) R
What goes around the table ... yeah, yeah, I know I don't have to tell you what goes around the table. Reminiscent of Aesop's Fables and well told tale my friend, a good start to the day.
Damn I forgot to add that I would be looking to order Mouse Ballad ... but my nimble fingered nemesis Bell beat me to it. Drat that Bell! She's quick!
Wow. That's one cheap ba . . guy. I do love the petard you constructed upon which to hoist him: well done! And well told!
@Leepin Larry: Funny, I thought that was what Mickey sang to Minnie.
My mistake.
Fantastic story. I loved it! And Bradley makes CheapBastid look like a big spender!
LOL Luckily your father never opened that shoe store. He' be asking you for more than cash, he'd want your soul and a few of your dad's! Another great read. Too funny. R
very New York.

i had a friend susan who'd order dinner for herself and her young daughter when we'd all go out to eat at a relatively pricey joint. no "childs dinner", her kid ate appys, main course and dessert. our habit was to divide the check into the number of people at the table because most of our dinners were similar in price and when you have ten or twelve people, it's too much. susan would always try to argue her daughter was a child so she didn't count as a full sized person and we should divide the cost of her dinner among us. it was kind of funny, this argument. add to it, susan was wealthy and the rest of us, just normal struggling new yorkers. why people do that, humilate themselves I can't imagine, but they will for a few bucks. glad you dumped bradley. too much agita if you ask me.
I enjoyed this very much. True or fiction, it's told in pitch perfect way. Thank you. Rated
Oh My. I feel for our friend Bradley - those sorts of behaviours are very much learned. Unless they are inherited from rich parents who instill the thought of paying as somehow "cheap".
I'm glad he coughed it up in the end, without any drastic physical reactions.
I will certainly buy you a salad and a drink when I'm in your town. Not in that order. :)
@aim: Thanks. I will certainly take you up on that. Did you say April or May? May begins the restaurant parties. Each restaurant begins the season with a party with free food. If you are here, I will get you into one....
This 'love song' series is excellent! Thanks for another great one.
I love the creativity of the response! Of course, as always, well-told, Steve . . . but this had me laughing out loud.
He probably hasn't eaten dinner out since....those $3.50 dinner salads can really add up!
It's The Bradleys of this world who justeat $3.50 salads that have seventeen million dollars in the bank! Spend a little of it and ENJOY yourself? Never!
Funny story. I hate when people eat off my plate, unless I offer... He was a good tipper though--I thought he would leave 45 cents.
Please tell me that isn't a true story..lol....Its so funny to me how people are with money sometimes....I look forward to your posts Steve....what an interesting perspective you have.....Thanks again...r
@toddpont: Every mouthful was true.
Great story!!!! Cheap bastard, but great story!!! :D
wonderful tale, once again....
Yikes! It's funny how love can be blind. I am assuming this is autobiographical given your history with autobiographical fiction. Has me thinking -- has anybody I've dated been THAT bad. I would have to say -- in different ways -- YES! How dear that your friends drew the line. Often I have needed my friends to point out these things to me.

But aside from the possible reality of the situation == I think this is the best writing of yours that I've read so far. I liked this a lot == especially the begining with the taxi scene. It drew me in. R.
@PattyJane: I love you!
Let me know if you publish these love songs as a collection. I'll be first in line to buy one (autographed by the author, of course).
@BFTQ, the line forms to the right...
Now Now! Don't fight.
I'm sure the publishing company will print at least TWO!
Thanks to both of you!
What Femme said, he likely presented many selfish habits throughout
the relationship, and was never worthy of you. Glad you had good friends willing to help you see. Rated. Excellent story presentation.
I think that's what you call a moocher. Good riddance to him! Another great story.