SCOTT MORRISON would never make a good waiter. He’s a total “fake”, as certified by recent Australian of the year Grace Tame.
She responded to the Prime Minister’s attempt to effuse sympathetically, when a mother inquired about cuts to NDIS payments for her child with autism.
Scott Morrison and his wife were unable to conceive for the better part of two decades. Nearly giving up on IVF, at the age of 39, Jenny gave birth to the first of the couple’s two daughters.
“She is our miracle child, the answer to a lifetime of prayer and 14 years of painful, invasive, heartbreaking treatment,” Scott wrote in 2009.
So, in a televised leaders’ debate the other night, he replied, concerning the future of the NDIS, “Jenny and I have been blessed, we’ve got two children” – and here he stumbled – “that don’t – that haven’t had to go through that.” He added: “And so for parents, with children who are disabled, I can only try and understand your aspirations for those children.”
Along with the famous photo of her sideways look at Morrison, Grace Tame tweeted that “autism blesses those of us who have it with the ability to spot fakes from a mile off”.
In a classic non-apology, the Prime Minister later said he was “deeply sorry” about the way his comments were “sought to be represented by our political opponents in the middle of an election,” and that he had intended to “respect the challenges they [?] face, not the opposite”.
He’s a fake leader. He pretends to the role – as a “bully” to some, and “friend” to all the “quiet Australians”, while leaving CEOs, lobbyists and cronies to run the place.
Serious waiters are not fakes. They actually care for people. They help them have a good time, and cope with the full range from angry ignorance to gratitude. They have seen it all – couples in love, couples parting, two-timing spouses, drunken politicians, business wheeler-dealers, tearful families, wedding parties, and new-borns in baskets. They have studied the strangest dietary preferences, and all manner of anxiety.
We have had personal experience. Strangers would try to say the “right thing” when confronting our beautiful son, whose disabilities were in plain evidence. They would say things like: “It’s wonderful what science comes up with”. Or they promised a “miracle” from God.
At restaurants, Lawrence would often cry, and possibly be calmed by listening to the Wiggles. But, truly, the better the restaurant, the happier he was.
Perhaps the noise levels were more comfortable. Perhaps he joined our enjoyment. Perhaps the waiters knew what do. Whatever it was, we confirmed the effect time and again.
There was much that Lawrence couldn’t do (he was blind, never said a word, and remained unable to walk or even grip an object). But, among some wondrous abilities, he could spot fakes.
At good places, waiters would organise clear soup or a mash, so we could feed him. (Ultimately, though, he was happier and healthier just being tube fed.)
And, invariably, good waiters did not carry on about science or God; they just said something sensible.
We can’t exactly remember the best-ever response, but we know it was by a waiter, and where he was – Café di Stasio in St Kilda. His intent was something like: “He will look after you, and you will look after him.”
I dedicated my latest book, Meals Matter, to “Marion, Dorothy, and Lawrence Symons Maddox (1999-2009), who together have taught me so much about meals, and thereby everything”.