"Jane! Stop this crazy thing! Jane..!"

I was at home on my night off last Sunday, flipping the channels back and forth between two of my favorite things: a Giants game and Star Trek III, Wrath of Khan, to fill in during the commercials. And I was reminded of a recurring problem I have encountered at work recently: The Rotation Play.

When The Rotation Play works: runners on first and second, one out; batter bunts, third baseman charges, shortstop moves over to cover third, second baseman covers his base, first baseman does the same; and you have a 5-to-4-to-3 double play. Inning over.

When The Rotation Play doesn’t work: a Klingon ship de-cloaks, and hits the Enterprise with a Photon Torpedo. Scotty needs help in Engineering, so Captain Kirk charges heroically to the rescue, leaving Spock with the Bridge. Another blast takes out Sulu, so Spock is now the navigator. Chekov has to move over to the Science Station to try to “Rez dih shillds, Meester Spoke…”; and so it continues until ultimately you have Bones sitting in Uhuru’s chair, wearing her black nylons, with his fat ass sticking out and the earpiece that looks like a corn cob in his ear, saying “Dammit, Jim, I’m a Doctor, not a Directory Assistance Operator…”

In the restaurant, the rotation play can be iffy as well. Although I admire the staff’s willingness to reach out and help, I have tried to get them to understand that if I am seating a party in the dining room and the phone rings, I am just over here by Table 31, not somewhere in the middle of the South China Sea. I will be right back; I know my way. Despite my requests to simply ask the caller “Would you mind holding just a moment?”, our Sommelier has answered the phone and is now stuck, explaining every dish on the menu to a woman in Michigan who “has a couple of questions”, but won’t actually be visiting us until next April. Table 8 needs their wine poured, as delivery of their next course is imminent, so I have to step in and pour the wine, schpiel them on why this wine is paired with this dish and so on; and I am now stuck at their table, answering a “couple of questions”. My next reservation is approaching the podium, our Somm is still talking to East Lansing about the Tomato Soup (which won’t even be ON the menu next April), so the Bartender has dutifully stepped up to help seat the new guests. But now one of the waiters needs a Maker’s Manhattan, up, with no bitters. Sorry, no Bartender, as he is walking the newly arrived party into the dining room; and the beat goes on until phone finally gets hung up, the wine gets poured, the new guests are inadvertently seated at the wrong table, which results in triple seating the waiter, who is still over at the bar looking for the Sweet Vermouth.

The shields are down and we are being boarded by Klingons. Red Alert!

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