A few months ago, I got a letter in the mail reminding me that I had won a raffle prize at the fancy dress ball I attended in February. The envelope contained a photocopied picture of a restaurant we’ll call Mimi’s French Bistro and Bar of Le Back Bay. The print on the picture said this was a “gift certificate” and instructions followed for my prize, which was a free dinner for ten. TEN!
Wow. When I first read “dinner for ten” I started making the guest list in my mind, carefully considering who might sit on my left, whether Reggie Black might be able to fly up for the night to sit on my right, who would sit on his right, and so forth and so on.
Then I read the fine print.
“This certificate must be used on the 2nd Tuesday of Marcel Proust Month during Croque Monsieur Dinner Night.”
In smaller print,
“In no uncertain terms may Croque Madame replace Croque Monsieur.”
“Dinner does not include any beverages, appetizers, or desserts. A 25% gratuity will be added to your bill.”
I went to Mimi’s web site and I couldn’t find anything about Marcel Proust month. Even Wikipedia told me nothing about a month devoted to the French author, although I did find an article alleging he subsisted entirely on beer for the last month of his life. He died on November 18, 1922. Could November be Marcel Proust Month?
Vouloir c’est pouvoir!
Since it was clear to me that I had won absolutely nothing, I threw the gift certificate away.