Poem By Charles Chaim Wax
“Over the years I lifted
more napkins from Nathan’s Famous restaurant
than any man alive, ” said Sam.
“How long you been stuffing your pocket? ” I asked.
“Any napkins from Burger King? ”
“ONLY NATHAN’S, ” he hollered
with the fervor of one who long ago
found his true calling and never wavered.
Being unemployed I figured
the man was on to something
and set about to follow in his footsteps
avoiding Nathan’s for obvious reasons.
I visited Burger King for a week
then Saturday night did the counting
not bad for a novice.
Next week I broke a thousand and
after a month I had plenty of napkins but
the thrill of petty theft was gone and
as I stared at the bags of napkins
mused, what’s Sam do?
“So, Sam, I was wondering
whatta you do with your goods? ”
“Sell ‘em to sundry eatin’ emporiums, ” he said.
“From this you make a living? ”
Not answering my question
directly he said,
“My own boss
work when I want
bend the knee to no mortal
I ply my trade.”
“I guess you get by all right.”
He stared into my eyes
“I am this day
and for the last 42 years
a happy man.”
force of his words
I shook Sam’s hand
for the first time
how a human life