NRA: Stick to the script

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist, pp. 66-67

World War III begins and Buck Williams calls his dad.

That’s good. That’s a nice human touch. This is something we humans do when calamity strikes — we reach out to family and loved ones to make sure everyone’s OK.

After a 7.6-magnitude earthquake shook Costa Rica last month, one blogger there wrote, “Check the order of the calls you tried to make and draw your own conclusions. They say that in an earthquake, you first think of what you love most.”

So on the one hand, it’s nice to see Buck demonstrating such a basic human response.

On the other hand, the order of calls that Buck makes here is a bit strange. He seems both to have waited too long to call his dad, and to be calling him too soon.

Most urgently, there’s the matter of the now-forgotten cliff-hanger from the previous scene with Buck. He was on the phone with his wife, Chloe, who was racing to escape the attack on Chicago. That call was abruptly cut off:

But then he heard an explosion, tires squealing, a scream, and silence.

The very next line from Buck, three pages later, is, “Who’s got a cell phone I can borrow?”

Readers do not know what has happened to Chloe and presumably want to find out. Since Buck doesn’t know either, we assume he’s asking for a phone so that he can call her, desperately wishing to know what happened — is she OK? Is she conscious? How is she? Where is she?

We expect him to be anxious to learn all of this — anxious to know if she needs him to race to rescue her. But instead he’s weirdly complacent about her fate. After “… an explosion, tires squealing, a scream, and silence,” Buck pleads for a cell phone so he can call someone else.

Verna went back inside to gather up her stuff. Buck waited in her car, making his phone calls. He started with his own father out west. “I’m so glad you called,” his father said. “I tried calling New York for hours.”

Oh, right. Poor Papa Williams out there in Arizona saw the CNN reports on the destruction of New York City and desperately began calling Buck’s Manhattan apartment to learn whether his son was dead or alive. That was hours ago. Since then Buck has gone car-shopping, checked in with computer guy Donnie Moore, printed out 5,000 pages from Bruce’s hard drive, and swung by the office to threaten Verna Zee. At any point during those many hours he might have called his dad, but he didn’t think of it until now.

And now Buck is sitting in the parking lot of the global news organization he supposedly runs due to his supposed status as a world-class journalist. Witnessing the destruction of the city of Chicago, he barks out a command to his staff — someone get me a phone! But his first phone call has nothing to do with the urgent duties and responsibilities of his vocation. It’s a personal call — a personal call to someone other than the wife who is, at this moment, possibly injured on some unknown highway.

This lends a strangeness to the whole conversation that follows between Buck and his dad. Neither of them sounds like someone who exists in the world of this novel. The momentous events surrounding them barely seem to register with father or son — not even when they mention those very events. One gets the impression of a phone call occurring under more mundane circumstances — after New York was hit with a snow storm, maybe, or after Buck has guiltily realized he missed calling on his father’s birthday.

“Dad, it’s a mess here. I’m left with the clothes on my back, and I don’t have much time to talk. I just called to make sure everybody was all right.”

“Your brother and I are doing all right here,” Buck’s dad said. “He’s still grieving the loss of his family, of course, but we’re all right.”

“Dad, the wheels are coming off this country. You’re not gonna really be all right until –”

Buck’s reference there to “this country” is, again, anachronistic. It has been well over a year in this story since “this country” ceased to exist. All countries (except Israel) were abolished to create the one-world government of the Antichrist.

But this conversation does not really occur in or apply to the world of this story. That’s not what it’s for. Buck and his dad talk as though they were two people living in our world — a world in which America still exists and no Rapture has convulsed the planet into chaos. They talk as though they share our world, rather than theirs, because this conversation is meant to contain a lesson — a model — for readers who live in our world and our context.

Buck and his father here are merely stand-ins. Buck represents the generic “saved” reader of the Left Behind series and his father represents that generic reader’s generic “unsaved” family members. This conversation is mainly just another of the many evangelistic marketing scripts sprinkled throughout these books. It’s part how-to and part pep-talk for readers, encouraging them to persist in “witnessing” to their unsaved relatives.

“Cameron, let’s not get into this again, OK? I know what you believe, and if it gives you comfort –”

“Dad! It gives me little comfort right now. It kills me that I was so late coming to the truth. I’ve already lost too many loved ones. I don’t want to lose you too.”

I suppose the “loved ones” referred to there means Bruce Barnes. (And, maybe, Dirk Burton?)

The important thing here is the lesson: Your unsaved relatives may not want to hear what you have to say. They may be dismissive, suggesting that your faith is just something that “gives you comfort.” You have to confront that, insisting that it’s not about comfort, but about the truth without which they will be lost.

His father chuckled, maddening Buck. “You’re not going to lose me, big boy. Nobody seems to want to even attack us out here. We feel a little neglected.”

“Dad! Millions are dying. Don’t be glib about this.”

Buck Williams had advance warning of the beginning of this war. Ex-president Fitzhugh told him when and where it would begin, and he knew from his prophecy studies that it would come to claim the lives of “a fourth of the earth.” Yet Buck didn’t bother sharing this warning with anyone else — not even his wife or father-in-law. And he has yet to lift a finger to rescue anyone from the impending carnage.

But he won’t tolerate his father’s gallows-humor. That would be “glib.”

Oddly, everything that follows this condemnation of glibness is, well, pretty glib.

“Dad! Millions are dying. Don’t be glib about this.”

“So, how’s that new wife of yours? Are we ever gonna get to meet her?”

“I don’t know, Dad. I don’t know exactly where she is right now, and I don’t know whether you’ll ever get the chance to meet her.”

“You ashamed of your own father?”

“It’s not that at all, Dad. I need to make sure she’s all right, and we’re going to have to try to get out that way somehow.”

It’s kind of clunky, but this bit about Buck’s dad wanting to meet Chloe seems like a reasonable human conversation. Or, rather, it would seem that way if it weren’t occurring in the context of World War III, and if the new wife in question were not, currently, stranded and perhaps dying in an auto-wreck in a war zone.

But that context can’t shape this conversation because that might interfere with its utility as an evangelistic script:

“Find a good church there, Dad. Find somebody who can explain to you what’s going on.”

“I can’t think of anybody more qualified than you, Cameron. And you’re just gonna have to let me ruminate on this myself.”

This scripted quality infects almost all of the dialogue in these books. Characters rarely seem to be in character, but seem, rather, to be dutifully reciting words given to them by the authors because those are the words they have been assigned.

I think this relates to another way in which the authors’ theology shapes these books. It’s not quite as direct as the effect of, for example, the fatalism that flows from Tim LaHaye’s idea of “prophecy,” but the persistently awful dialogue in these books, I believe, illustrates something about the authors’ view of God.

The authors’ understanding of God, I think, informs their approach to the godlike act of creating characters.

The parallel is obviously not precise, but every novelist or playwright is a creator who gives life to a cast of characters. When those characters are truly alive, they begin to speak and to choose and to act, and the writer’s job then is to race to keep up with them. Those characters will want to say things and to do things that the writer did not expect. They will be full of surprises. The writer gave them a voice but, having done so, that voice now belongs to them — to the characters and no longer wholly to the writer.

I’m reminded here of the lovely scene in the second creation story in the book of Genesis. In that story God does not seem to be either omnipresent or omniscient, God needs to check in with the creation and its creatures to see what they have been up to while God’s attention was elsewhere. God shapes the man and then breathes life into him — life which, having been given to the man, now belongs to him. And then:

Out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.

The Creator is eager to see — to find out, to learn — what this creature will say next. This creature has been given life and autonomy and the Creator does not know what he is going to decide to say. The Creator finds this exciting and delightful.

If you’ve ever tried to write dialogue then you may be able to relate to that excitement and delight. When it’s going well, writing dialogue seems much more like transcription than like composition. The characters start talking and all you can do is scramble to get it all down.

When writing dialogue is not going well, the characters just sit there, mute, inert and lifeless, and you are faced with the laborious task of putting words in their mouths. And all the while you’re struggling to do that, you know that the words you have chosen for them will never seem as true or as alive as the words they would have chosen for themselves. The more you work to control your characters — to determine what they say or what they choose — the less real they seem.

(I used to say that such attempts by the writer to dictate words and choices for characters was like treating them like puppets instead of people. But I recently watched the delightful documentary about muppeteer Kevin Clash, Being Elmo, and I’ve decided that is unfair to puppeteers and to puppets.)

For the story to seem real, the characters must be allowed to speak and to choose for themselves. If they are not allowed the freedom to speak and act as they want and need to do, then they will cease to seem like characters and become more like chess pieces in a game they do not understand.

This doesn’t mean that the novelist or playwright abandons all control over the story. The writer still gets to shape the entire world in which these characters exist — what happens to them and around them, the options and choices available to them. (Conductor voice: “Transfers at this station for endless tangential discussions of free-will and determinism. Hold on to your passes.”)

This is, broadly speaking, one way to gauge whether or not a story rings true. When the author presents the characters with choices and the characters choose, the reader or audience accepts it as real. If the author seems to be manipulating those choices, or if the choices seem out-of-character, then the whole affair seems hollow. In other words, when the author does not seem to have learned anything from the characters, then the reader or audience cannot learn anything from them either.

Jenkins’ dialogue rings false because his characters never seem to have any agency or autonomy. In this scene, neither Buck nor his dad is free to say what he needs to say given the events occurring around them. Neither of them is allowed to say what it seems they ought to want to say or to choose what it seems they ought to want to choose. They’re just going through the motions of their assigned roles, dutifully reciting the script written for them by someone else.

That mirrors the theological views of Jenkins’ co-author. Tim LaHaye’s strange brew of prophecy and predestination also denies any human-seeming agency or autonomy. In LaHaye’s world, we are all just wooden characters in a bad novel, chess-pieces in a game played by someone else.

 

  • Donalbain

    Buck calling his unsaved father is, in my opinion, the first decent thing he has done since the books began. His wife is saved. The worst that can happen to her now is some temporary suffering as a result of a car accident. His father remains in constant danger of infinite torture at the hands of a psychopath. Buck should be constantly on the phone to his father.

  • http://twitter.com/Narrator1 Narrator 1

    What a piece of work.  In the writer’s defense, maybe that moment of utter asshole-ness was intentional, to show the reader how in need of God’s grace CallMeHerbKatz was.  That’s what I would like to think.  That’s what I would hope.

  • P J Evans

    The company I work for has call centers; they’re one of the two entry-level jobs it has. (It’s a utility company, so the range of problems is a bit more limited.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-White/1605859612 Sue White

    In the writer’s defense, maybe that moment of utter asshole-ness was intentional, to show the reader how in need of God’s grace CallMeHerbKatz was.

    If that was the case, the text would have said so explicitly.  These authors aren’t about showing anything.  Everything has to be spelled out.  Until I see some sign of humility in the main characters, I’m going to assume that the authors don’t believe that they need any more grace.

  • Tricksterson

    Soul Brother (or Sister)!  I too have a tendency to alternately talk like a college professor and a biiker, sometimes within the same sentence.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ehcoleman Elizabeth S Coleman

    The dialogue on Deadwood is full of fascinating blends of formal speech and profanity. Very Shakespearean. I could imagine Al Swearengen saying something like, “Please, let us allow the cocksucker some time to ruminate upon his decision.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    There’s something oddly natural about a ‘redneck’ using certain long words. I’ve seen it done well before in literature. :)

  • CharityB

    Yes! Jenkins is at his best when he borrows cliches and stereotypes and drops them directly into his work. Stanton Bailey, the Perry White/J. Jonah Jameson ripoff, is probably the most vivid and “real” character in the first book. He’s not original or interesting, but the fact that the reader is familiar with his shtick makes him seem like a transplant from a book by a vastly superior writer, like Dan Brown.

    But whenever Jenkins tries to come up with something original, or take a trope/cliche and play with it, he ends up getting in trouble through his staggering ineptitude.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Jenkins is at his best when he borrows cliches and stereotypes and drops them directly into his work. Stanton Bailey, the Perry White/J. Jonah Jameson ripoff, is probably the most vivid and “real” character in the first book. He’s not original or interesting, but the fact that the reader is familiar with his shtick makes him seem like a transplant from a book by a vastly superior writer

    So basically Jenkins and the world would both be better off if Jenkins stuck to fanfiction? Because there is nothing wrong with fanfiction. Nothing whatsoever. Original fiction by someone whose skill set is more suited to fanfiction, that produces problems.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    I think that’s what happens when the people who provide the service and the people who use the service are totally disconnected from the people who manage the service.

    It would be like a burger place run by someone who has never even been in one before, doesn’t know anything about how restaurants in general run, and doesn’t even like eating out. They’ll come up with brilliant ideas to save money (“What if you precook all of the burgers over night, wrap them up, and put them in a garbage bag next to the cash register each morning? That would save a lot of time processing orders!”)

  • http://newpillowbook.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/friday-fictioneers-lunacy/ esmerelda_ogg

     Wow, Chris. Wow. So awesome.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    You just gave some irresponsible CEO a terrible idea.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    I’ve seen enough episodes of Kitchen Nightmares to know that the idea’s already been done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Well, I don’t know about that. When I was talking about transplanting characters, I didn’t mean to imply that he should use characters or a setting created by other people to tell his own story, as in fanfiction. He doesn’t really have the skill to do that. What I meant was, when Jenkins uses cliches and tropes, they end up being more compelling than his more “original” ideas because those cliches and tropes remind us of better works.

    Stanton Bailey really isn’t actually well-written or interesting character, but he looks and sounds like other characters who are, and it makes him seem more interesting. Jenkins isn’t really contributing much here; his writing is still bad, he’s just benefiting from the reader’s familiarity with what he’s trying the portray fill in the blanks for him. I’m not sure switching to fanfiction would really resolve this issue for him.

    Sure, it would make some things work a little better. Jenkins refuses to give physical descriptions to any of his characters, but if he was a fanfiction writer you could just check the source material. But Jenkins also has zero insight and imagination, and I think that’s a problem for any writer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    …like a transplant from a book by a vastly superior writer, like Dan Brown.

    I still spit-take when I read those words, even though I’d never even heard of Dan Brown when I started following Fred & LB Fridays.

  • Will Hennessy

    Glib…

    I think Bucky’s father only has to stop being glib about World War III when Jerry Buck Jenkins and Tim LeRayford stop being so glib about every child on earth disappearing, and Nicky SutterButtes taking over the world like the No-Good Do-Gooder he is, and, well, when they stop being so self-righteously glib about World War III itself.

    Incidentally, during my journey through the archives, I notice that all the Left Behind posts between August 2004 and August 2005 didn’t quite make it over here to Patheos. Sad day. I occasionally go back and read this from the beginning, when I’m jonesing for more posts. Does anyone know where I could find said analysis of everything between pages 66 to 129? Anybody anybody? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

  • hidden_urchin

    (In case Disqus eats the “in reply to” this is a response to Charity Brighton.)

    I think these books actually are fanfiction.  They’re AU Bible fanfiction but the characters are proxies for the readers more than the authors.

    Here’s why this idea makes sense to me:
    1.) The characters are poorly described.  A lack of description creates a visual hole which the reader can fill with an idealized version of zirself and, with respect to minor characters, people zie knows. (As opposed to author inserts in which one gets an abundance of description.)  The reader doesn’t have to go back to the source material here.  The source material for the characters is the reader’s own life.  For example, Verna could be the reader’s boss, or maybe the lady from HR who reprimanded the reader that one time for an off-color joke, or maybe a college professor who took points off on an exam because the reader wouldn’t answer that essay question about evolution.

    2.) The characters do not have well defined personalities.  Essentially, they are character shaped holes in the story that readers can pour themselves and the people around them into.  As with a description of appearance, a character that is actually well defined and three-dimensional cannot be easily replaced by the reader.  The reader ends up imagining Cameron Williams doing cool things instead of John Doe doing cool things.  It isn’t Williams evangelizing to his father but the reader evangelizing to a skeptical relative.

    3.) The scripted dialogue with the outgroup members.  I  don’t think these conversations are only instructing the reader on how to evangelize; I think they are allowing the reader to experience cases in which the evangelism is either successful or unsuccessful but with a satisfying ultimate conclusion as I seriously doubt that anyone has ever had one of these conversations go as planned and we “unsaved” remain stubbornly unpunished.

    Yup, this is bad fan fiction through and through.  It probably would have been better if L&J had actually realized what they were doing and written it in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” format.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Eighth: These days, many people working in call centers do not understand or speak English very well. 

    We just had an Experience with our DSL service. The terrible customer service made us switch internet services to one that, whatever problems it has, bases its call center in this state, not half a world away. 

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    None of those traits are particular to bad fan fiction. They are common in bad fiction of any kind at all. 

    There isn’t anything inherently wrong with #1. What do we know about Hermione’s looks? That she has bushy brown hair. I thought she had brown skin too until the movies. Most good writers do not actually describe what their characters look like in great detail — and plenty of bad writers do. See Laurell K. Hamilton for an example of the latter, right down to penis size. 

    #2 is a failing of all bad fiction. It, too, can actually be okay, if you’re a brilliant absurdist writer. But it is not unique to fan fiction and it has been a hallmark of bad fiction since fiction was born.

    I’ve seen #3 happen in every bad novel I’ve ever read. That doesn’t make those bad novels like fan fiction. Bad writing is bad writing, and it crops up everywhere.

  • P J Evans

    It probably would have been better if L&J had actually realized what
    they were doing and written it in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” format.

    They couldn’t have done it that way: people would make the ‘wrong’ choices (by L&J’s standards). Also they’d need to have a lot more imagination.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=30319652 Tim Lehnerer

    There was a test restaurant in Ann Arbor last year called @Burger:twitter  that had all the worst aspects of fast food along with all the irritations of a big chain restaurant like Applebee’s. It’s gone now, and there’s a pie shop in its old space. Here are four things that probably all helped them go out of business:1) Their outdoor seating was next to their grease dumpster, which was amazingly nasty on a hot summer day.2) You couldn’t look them up online because of the @symbol in their name. Looking up “@ Burger Ann Arbor” gave you a list of every other burger joint in the Arbor-Ypsi area but not that one.
    3) They had signs on the door, at the cash register where you paid, and at your table telling you not to tip your servers. I felt weird about that.

    4) You would walk in, order your food, pay for your food, get your own drink from the fountain machine, be handed a beeper so you’d know when your food was ready, and then when your beeper went off your server would bring you your burger. This was needlessly complicated.

    The genuinely odd aspect to this experiment, to me, was twofold. First, it’s not that tough to make a burger joint if so many other restaurants manage it. Second, @ Burger was a test restaurant run by Big Boy, which has been around for sixty years or so. I don’t know why they made their new place so unworkable, but I am betting you won’t see any more of them any other place, ever.

  • EllieMurasaki

    They had signs on the door, at the cash register where you paid, and at your table telling you not to tip your servers. I felt weird about that.
    If they were making a point of paying their servers a living wage, or at least the minimum wage for a non-tipped job, then there’d be nothing to feel bad about. I personally would have had signs that instead said “our servers earn more than minimum wage for non-tipped employees; any tips you leave will go to [charity of the month]“.

  • P J Evans

    You would walk in, order your food, pay for your food, get your own
    drink from the fountain machine, be handed a beeper so you’d know when
    your food was ready, and then when your beeper went off your server
    would bring you your burger. This was needlessly complicated.

    In-n-Out  has a number on the receipt. When your food is ready, they announce the number on their PA system (because you might be outside), and you go up to the counter and pick it up. Simpler and works, as long as you don’t wander too far away to hear.

  • Nomuse

    Man, I got to get back to writing sometime.

    I remember how that was.  You had one scene — mere pages — for a bit of dialog.  You had a checklist of all the things that needed to be in that dialog; setting scene, advancing plot, revealing character.

    And then you sat down and started writing the scene.  And one character would react in a way that was true to them, and the other would blurt out something they weren’t supposed to get to for another three chapters, but couldn’t hold in any more.

    And you’d check the list, and if they got enough (not all, they never got all) you’d move on to the next scene.  And when they didn’t — which was far more often — it would be, “Okay, folks, back to the top.  Let’s try this again.  This time, why don’t YOU speak first.  And you, hold a pipe.  Maybe that will distract you long enough so you don’t keep giving away the whole plot!”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    In-n-Out  has a number on the receipt. When your food is ready, they
    announce the number on their PA system (because you might be outside),
    and you go up to the counter and pick it up. Simpler and works, as long
    as you don’t wander too far away to hear.

    I remember this being a pretty easy system and used as far back as the early ’80s. :)

    Sometimes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” really is a valid aphorism and not just a stale bromide.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     

    I think these books actually are fanfiction.  They’re AU Bible fanfiction but the characters are proxies for the readers more than the authors.

    To a certain extent, LB is a form of derivative fiction, but it’s really based on LaHaye’s own version of the Scofeld Reference Bible.

  • Joshua

    OK, I don’t understand. Maybe because we don’t do tipping so much where I live.

    Why would the restaurant owner not want the customers to tip the servers? What problem does it solve for the owner?

    Why would the owner choose to take what is presumably a big hit in employee morale?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CE6FTHLHRMXUGOOGCMG3ROXBH4 David

    Joshua, when waitstaff get tips, the law where I live allows the employer to pay them a sub-minimum wage hourly rate.  Refusing tips as a matter of restaurant policy makes an ethical statement about the company’s commitment to the stability and reliability of their employees’ earnings.  So it’s not just “don’t accept tips”, it’s “Don’t accept tips, because we’ve got you covered.”

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Last week, one of the drive-time morning DJs was discussing a proposal in some city or other to mandate that waitstaff all get living wages and tipping be deinstitutionalized, and they opened up the phones to see what people thought

    What I thought was very strange was how the responses broke down. *Everyone* who was currently or formerly a waiter or waitress was strongly opposed, as it would mean a massive pay-cut for *them personally* (on the assumption that they personally were very good at their job and therefore broght home a lot in tips, unlike those *other* waiters who just phoned it in) while everyone who didn’t claim industry experience was strongly for it, even while recognizing that there would be a commensurate increase in prices.

    I would have expected the people in the industry to have been for it, but I didn’t hear anyone call in to say “I do not like the fact that if one or two big parties stiff me on the tip, I am suddenly not making enough to pay the rent”

  • Tricksterson

    Yeah any time I go to a place that has those signs I feel a desire to leave a really big tip, except the servers would probably get in trouble if they took it.  Why do they do that anyway?  I don’t see a reason except if the management get off on being douches.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Why do you feel the impulse to give a large tip to a server who is guaranteed at least the paid the non-tipped-employee minimum wage and not to a server whose guaranteed pay is much lower and whose actual pay depends on tip size? And why do you think that managers who want to be sure their employees have a steady income of at least what the US government thinks is adequate (and at some point they and I need to have a talk about the definition of ‘adequate’) are doing it because they “get off on being douches”?

    (Mind, if management hangs a don’t-tip-the-servers sign and doesn’t actually pay the servers the difference between tipped-employee minimum wage and non-tipped-employee minimum wage, then yes they are absolutely being douches. Not to mention thieves.)

  • Joshua

    But that makes no sense at all. The employer can just pay them a fair and legal wage, and leave tipping to the free choice of the patron.

    A patron leaving a tip doesn’t restrict the employer from paying a fair wage. Therefore, there’s no reason to try to restrict the patron from leaving tips.

    I mean, if they want to advertise that they are not abysmal excuses for human beings, they could have a sign that says, “Tip if you want to, but all our staff are paid higher than the legal minimum wage, so chill.”

  • Tricksterson

    Because I didn’t previously know the reason why they did that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    My first thought was that it might just be marketing.  Having that sign up could be taken to imply (enough weasel words?) that this place might seem like the kind of fancy, ritzy place where tipping is expected, but no, really, you don’t have to!  It might set them apart from the places where it’s just assumed you’re not going to tip, slightly.

  • Original Lee

     Chrisb, I can’t get the link to the RLS story to work.  What is the title?  Thanks!


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