(This is an original joke. That is, no one told it to me; I thought of it.)
A well-traveled man found himself in an exotic restaurant thousands of miles from his home. It was the sort of experience that he craved…finding interesting places that most people would not even know existed. And as a travel writer, his chosen career was a perfect fit.
The man thought back on how he had arrived at this restaurant on a remote island in the South Pacific, near the Antarctic Circle. He flew from New York City to LA, and from there to Wellington, New Zealand. A puddle-jumper brought him south 150 miles to the island of Pago. There, the locals took him on the 30 mile boat trip to an island called Reni, home to 150 inhabitants of the human race, and many species found only on Pago and Reni. Accommodations weren’t bad for such a remote place. And the restaurant named Sunri (the native word for ‘sunrise’) was a delight for the senses. The man was not exactly sure what he was eating, but the combination of ingredients was delectable. It was his last night on the island, and before leaving the restaurant, he would have to talk to the chef so that he would have the facts about this wonderful food. This experience was going to be recounted in a blog, but also in a magazine article about food in the deep South Pacific.
A part of this restaurant experience included the peculiar wait staff. The waiters in this restaurant were not people, but were some sort of upright-walking animal, bearing some resemblance to a penguin (the black and white tuxedo look), but with fur, not feathers. The waiters did not speak, which sometimes presented problems with orders, but they had wonderful singing voices. Clearly these creatures were intelligent, and while they were preparing meals, or bringing food to the patrons, three or four of them would come together and sing a verse. “Swing low, sweet chariot…” “Oklahoma…where the wind comes sweeping down the plain…” or “I want a girl, just like the girl that married dear ole dad” The voices were always in tune, and since they only sang one verse, they were never annoying.
After asking the chef about the food he had been served, the travel writer inquired about the waiters.
“Ah yes, the waiters,” replied the chef. “Aren’t they wonderful? They are a species of mammals indigenous to the area, but found nowhere else. We did not have a name for them until a traveler from Australia, noting how rare these creatures are, dubbed them Raries. And that name stuck.”
“Well, indeed they are wonderful,” said the writer, “these…Raries. And such wonderful voices! I must tell the world about them.”
The man thanked the chef and paid his bill. He went back to the hotel and packed for the trip home.
Back in his study in Manhattan, the man looked over his notes on the trip to Reni. So many wonderful memories. He started in on his laptop, first recounting the trip to the island. He had gone on a hike in the forest with a guide. And finally he came to his last night there and the restaurant: Sunri. He thought of the food, the chef, and those wonderful singing Raries. But just then an awful thought occurred to him. While he had paid the chef for his meal, he had not left a gratuity! This was so unlike him. The travel writer was always sure to be generous to the local people wherever he went. He often left an extra 25%, well above what most people gave. He had to make it right. Especially to the Raries. But how? He couldn’t just mail a check; there was no mail service there. No, he had to go there in person.
So the man packed and caught a flight from NYC to LA. And form LA to Wellington, New Zealand. In New Zealand, he got on the puddle-jumper to Pago. He searched for, and found the people with the boat to take him to Reni. Once on the island, he hiked a short distance to the Sunri restaurant. There he found the chef, and apologetically paid an extra 30% to one of the Raries, who had given him such wonderful service. Then all of the Raries came out and encircled the man. And guess what they sang to him?
(wait for it)
(just a little bit more)
“IT’S A LONG WAY TO TIP A RARIE!”
(and indeed a long way to go for a joke! Ha!)