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A Smacker Ruined Dinner

Tony Pretlow
2 min readFeb 15, 2023


We met several friends for dinner. It was how we kept in touch with old schoolmates.

There was a newcomer at the table that night. He was the houseguest of one of our friends.

We were happy to see each other. We started with drinks and conversation.

I couldn’t wait for the appetizers to arrive. We ordered a bunch.

We all settled in for the evening.

When the appetizers came, everyone grabbed what caught their fancy.

I had no sooner taken a bite, when I heard someone smacking from the other end of the table.

It was the new guy. I was glad I wasn’t sitting close to him.

He chewed with his mouth open. With each chew he smacked. I’m sure it could be heard from other tables.

He didn’t seem to notice everyone squirming uncomfortably. It must’ve been brought to his attention before.

No one chose to ask him to stop.

I took a glance at him and did not look back. I didn’t want to meet his eyes.

It was distracting. It disrupted the meal and dampened the conversation.

It was awkward for everyone.

The friend who brought him was red-faced with embarrassment.

He attempted to kickstart the conversation, but failed.

I wasn’t the only one grossed out. Everyone opted out of ordering an entree, and asked for the bill.

I wasn’t aware I was shaking my head, until my wife nudged me.

I didn’t understand how someone could be that unself aware.

I was ready to go.

The check wasn’t coming quickly enough.



Tony Pretlow

Passionate. Dedicated reader and commenter. Occasional writer. I enjoy writing poetry and prose. Father of five. Happily married/retired. Northwestern U. Alumus