It may surprise some of you to know – given everything written about me on other forums and, more importantly, given everything I’ve written about myself in this blog – that I am generally considered a nice guy. Despite my occasionally acerbic nature, I do consider myself a “people person” provided the “people” in question aren’t: a) jerks, b) idiots, or c) delusional. I’m a fairly patient guy, but I don’t suffer fools, and I am the type to hold a grudge. Maybe it’s my Italian blood, but nothing gets me more worked up than the prospect of payback or, at the very least, principled retaliation. As one of my oldest friend once remarked: “Joe is the type of guy who will get you back for that eraser you stole from him in elementary school.” A bit of an exaggeration – but not all that far off. My mercurial temperament is a source of amusement for many of my friends (sort of a colorfully endearing quality like, say, a southern drawl, an affinity for old Hammer films, or a peg leg with a hidden shotgun component), but a cause for concern (or at least genuine bemusement) for those on the receiving end of my wrathful vengeance.

Of course, the retaliation can take many forms. From killing a series concept championed by an asshole producer to cutting off the yahoo who tried to circumvent traffic by speeding down the right lane, revenge is sweet. And sometimes, even if the response is not exactly retribution in the truest sense of the word, it can be incredibly satisfying. Take today for instance when we kicked off what promises to be a memorable post-season tradition: The Annual Shredding of the Underperforming Restaurant Menus.

Lawren flipped open the file folder and held up each in turn. “Lombardo’s,”he started, “is dead to me.” Apparently, when Lawren called to ask them if they had pepperoni, the guy on the other end of the phone responded with a curt: “No.” This wasn’t Lombardo’s first non-pepperoni transgression. I suspect the owners are part of a little-known anti-pepperoni Sicilian sect. We all passed judgment. Thumbs down on Lombardo’s. Marty G. jumped up and did the honors, snapping away the menu and feeding it to the new office shredder. Marcello’s was next – owned by the former husband of the Lombardo’s owner – similarly pepperoni disinclined. It too went into the shredder. The Casual Gourmet. The verdict: a little too casual. BZZZZZT. Shota Sushi – that failed to leave a message on their business phone line informing customers that they would be closed for renovations, causing Lawren to drive down and find out for himself and, most importantly, inconvenience us with a late lunch. BZZZZZT. Toyotomi Japanese Restaurant that effed up my lunch order way back when. BZZZZZZT!

I can’t wait until next week when the upgraded industrial/human-size shredder arrives. That’s when we’ll finally be getting around to closing those actor deals. And finishing up those employee evaluations. And, now that I think of it, it would be a great time to review my financial advisor’s year-end performance. On a somewhat related point, I just had a great idea for how to make the elimination night on Dancing with the Stars far more interesting.

Today’s video: Click on the date to view the Casual Gourmet menu meet its fitting end.

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