It finally happened.

Several years ago, I asked my friend Mauro Pagano to help me spread a new catchphrase. I had made up this little saying. It was weird enough that I knew, if I heard it in the wild somewhere, then it had to have come from me. It would be a fun little experiment.

The only problem with this new catchphrase was the “catch” part. It was a perfectly good “phrase,” but we were having a hard time coming up with situations where we could use it. We agreed we’d keep on the lookout. 

Skip forward several years.

Today, my colleague Jeff Holt and I had lunch at Weinberger’s Deli, as we do at least every week or two. We got there just a few minutes after they opened, but people were already queued out the door. That’s ok, the line would work its way down shortly.

As we advanced nearer the counter, I found myself increasingly distracted by The Table Situation. No matter how full Weinberger’s is, we’re almost always able to find a table. But today, since everyone ahead of us had just sat down, it was easy to imagine that no tables would be opening up anytime soon.

This wasn’t just idle worry. It was required prep for the dreaded question, “For here? Or to go?” It was already 96ºF outside, on its way to 106ºF, so we’d prefer not to sit out there. But also we would even more prefer not to take our lunch in bags back to the office. We took a risk, mitigated by the two open tables outside. We answered, “For here.”

While I was paying for my order, a guy finished his lunch, leaving an open two-top. Victory. We would eat inside, comfortably, at a table. 

I shouldn’t be surprised. I almost always get a table. The whole thing—worry, worry, worry, get a table—it happens nearly every time. But somehow, I’m almost always surprised.

But today, in a burst of excitement, a little program that’s been running in the background of my mind for years popped its confetti cannon: THIS is the perfect situation for my catchphrase!

So I used it. Here it is:

It’s like mouse balls. You think it can’t possibly work, but it almost always does.  

Cary Millsap





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