Thirteen years ago, a group of four friends and I went out every Friday or Saturday night. I was 18 at the time, and wore Chuck Taylors and a lot of black t-shirts for bands with scary looking logos. Our usual routine consisted of seeing whatever new horror film came out that week (we saw them ALL) and then going out to eat. This was a time before every restaurant in the world used pager devices to let you know your table was ready, and actually called you by the name you gave them, followed by the number of people in your party.
Every time we would go out to eat, I would give “Donner” as the name of our party and tell the hostess there was one more person in our party than there actually was. Our turn would come around, and to my delight the hostess would call out “Donner party of six.” At this point I would often see odd expressions on the faces of other waiting patrons who got the reference, but that wasn’t the punchline.
Inevitably, the five of us would walk up to the hostess stand where she would proceed to count us and then say “I thought there were six of you.” Without breaking face, I would reply “They didn’t make it” or “We got a little hungry.” The vast majority of the time, the joke was missed. Every once in a blue moon though, a keen hostess would smile or laugh and say, “Ohhhh, that’s good.” Those were the moments I lived for.