1. When the patron, when asked if they would like some shaved parmesan, responds with a guilt-infused hushed, “maybe just a tinge” as though this was the naughtiest, most indulgent thing he or she has done all decade.

“Party Up” by DMX

“Cum on Feel the Noize” by Quiet Riot

“Whenever, Wherever” by Shakira

2. When it’s clear the patron isn’t saying “when” anytime soon and your mind starts to wander and you start thinking about what might happen if you keep shaving the parmesan cheese until the whole dining room fills up with cheese shavings and you find yourself in a Titanic Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Buttaker situation. Would the patrons at this table let you cling to their table while you wait for the RMS Carpathia to arrive? Is the table big enough to keep everyone afloat? Was that archway thing to which Rose clung big enough for both her and Jack?

“My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion

“Save Me” by Aimee Mann

“Come Sail Away” by Styx

“Blue Blue Ocean” by Echo and the Bunnymen

“Icicle” by Tori Amos

3. When you just found a half-ounce of cocaine and a brand new pair of Nikes on the bus on your way to work.

“Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk” by Rufus Wainwright

“Live Your Life” by T.I. and Rihanna

“Cannonball” by The Breeders

4. When the patrons are a table of middle-schoolers clearly on their way to a school dance and they giggled when you asked them if they wanted shaved parmesan, as though they were in the fanciest restaurant in town, and you start to think about all the inappropriate songs to which you danced at your own middle school dances.

“I’ll Make Love To You” by Boyz II Men

“Too Close” by Next

“Two Become One” by Spice Girls

“All For You” by Janet Jackson

 5. When you introduced yourself to the table, the patrons did that thing you like and introduced themselves back and it’s a hetero couple and man’s name is Joe and the woman’s name is Marlene.

“Cotton Eye Joe” by Rednex

“Joey” by Concrete Blond

“Marlene on the Wall” by Suzanne Vega

6. When the patron is just so excited about the cheese shaving that they spill their wine but you are determined to keep shaving through the chaos until they clearly and unequivocally say “when.”

“Get it Together” by Beastie Boys

“Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard

“Higher Love” by Kygo featuring Whitney Houston

“Ain’t Nobody” by Chaka Khan

7. When this isn’t so much a patron issue as much as it is an issue of when you spy the head waiter or waitress is watching you shave the parmesan cheese, and you just fucking know you are going to get told that you are shaving the cheese wrong—either doing at the wrong angle or doing it at the wrong proximity to the plate or using the wrong shaver altogether.

“Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine

The Main Theme from Django Unchained

“Sweet But Psycho” by Ava Max

“Mykonos” by Fleet Foxes

8. When you’re wanted for murder and you see red and blue flashing lights in the parking lot, but you still want to give the patron a satisfying shaved parmesan experience.

“The Hustle” by Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony

“Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi

“Mr. Policeman” by Rick James

“I Can’t Drive 55” by Sammy Hagar

9. When the patron has eaten so many appetizers and free bread that you know that they are going to ask to have the fettuccine alfredo boxed up to take home, and you know that before you put it in a box, you’re going to take a few bites of it because it looks so good and you’ve already snuck a few glasses of house rosé, so you don’t care about germs or health codes.

“Power of Love/Love Power” by Luther Vandross

“So What” by P!nk

“Stereo Hearts” by Maroon 5

“(What A) Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke

“Private Dancer” by Tina Turner

10. When the patron is your ex and you know they asked to get seated in your section so you could see their new significant other, and the significant other ordered an entree that doesn’t get shaved parmesan, but the ex did.

“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift

“Under Control” by Calvin Harris with Alesso featuring Hurts

“Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye

“Nowhere to Run” by Martha and the Vandellas

11. When you’re actually employed at an IHOP and you don’t know how the patron got Fettuccine Alfredo or how you came to be holding a brick of parmesan cheese and a shaver.

“Aeroplane” by Bjork

“It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over” by Lenny Kravitz

“Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” by Bob Dylan

12. When the patron for whom you are waiting to say “when” as you shave the parmesan cheese on top of the Fettuccine Alfredo is Tonya Harding.

“Tonya Harding (In D Major)” by Sufjan Stevens


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