|Joel O'Laughlin is waiting for his big break while waiting tables|
And what are those credentials?
Well, he has his degree in psychology from UMKC, he's the son of a
former Catholic priest and a former Catholic nun and attended Catholic
schools (so he's a little shy, but very congenial and deeply
understanding of human flaws and foibles), and he started his
restaurant career at age 17 as a teenaged waiter at Winstead's.
understands that waiting tables requires the skills of a psychologist,
the patience of a priest, the humor of a good comedian, the sales
technique of a veteran traveling salesman, the energy of a professional
boxer, and the juggling abilities of a circus clown.
Oh, and the diplomacy of an experienced politician. The 18 months he
spent working in the office of former Kansas City mayor Emmanuel
Cleaver II -- writing formal proclamations and answering letters --
probably helped there.
"When people ask me if I want to be a waiter forever," says
O'Laughlin, 38, "I tell them, 'Yeah, maybe.' It's an excellent
profession for a writer. When I need time off to hunker down and write,
I can. Last year I took a month off to go on a writing binge."
Currently O'Laughlin is completing a novel, though it has nothing to do with the restaurant industry. "It's about a time-traveling squirrel."