In my attempt to order heart-healthy foods when we all went out to eat at a Japanese restaurant last week, I ordered the Emperor Salad. It was supposed to come with shrimp and various fruits and veggies, including avocado and grapefruit.

Since everyone else was getting the grilled dinner with the chef putting on a little show (sans the fire part because we didn’t want my mom with the oxygen tubes in her nose to blow up—that’s a little too showy), I sat through their first course of small salads, waiting for one fit for an emperor.

The chef was well into banging and throwing his non-flaming stuff around when my salad finally came. You could tell it was the Emperor Salad instead of the salad everyone else got, because instead of a round bowl it was in an oblong bowl. It had mostly iceberg lettuce and 2 1/7 cherry tomatoes. But what a nicely-shaped bowl for the price of an entrée!

At first, I figured all the good stuff must be under the lettuce. Like a box of Crackerjacks. In the last few months, I had the uncanny experience of being served a salad where they forgot the avocado, followed by one in a different restaurant where it was starting to seem like they “forgot” the avocado. Already struggling with my Avocado Conspiracy Theory, I refocused on my math/probability skills, which told me it was virtually impossible that this salad would, again, be missing avocado. Wrong. Avocado factorial.  It was missing almost everything.

My brother-in-law questioned what sorry country this emperor lorded over. When I told the server I must have the wrong salad, the owner came over and told me they were out of avocado. Since it seemed like they were out of many foods, I just went ahead and ordered the grilled scallop dinner most everyone else was having, causing them each a loss of 1/9 of their rice, zucchini, and onions, which were now shared with me.

Like all other situations with my family, every mishap that happened that night made for a better time. Things like this enrich the funny stories family collection, and I’ll expect an avocado-related Christmas gag gift this year.

But as far as the restaurant is concerned, I don’t know how they thought I wouldn’t notice my entrée didn’t have anything to it. Maybe if the cook had been setting things ablaze, I would have been too distracted to notice I was living on iceberg lettuce and would have left the restaurant feeling like an emperor!