Immediately a significant portion of Toby's fan base erupted in revolt. Comments on the restaurant's Facebook page included such items as "Bad guys don't care about signs, Toby," and "Shall no (sic) be infringed...You are acting like a Feinstein (sic)."
I immediately dialed Wayne LaPierre, main man for the NRA, and asked him how he felt about the controversy.
"Toby has been a valuable member of the gun community over the years," Wayne replied. "However, if he insists that people forgo their 2nd Amendment rights in order to enjoy one of his meaty sandwiches or a pitcher of his frothy margaritas, the NRA can no longer regard him as a friend."
That seems kind of harsh, Wayne.
"No harsher than what might happen if an armed shooter burst through the door at Toby's restaurant and started blasting away at normal, average Americans enjoying a steak or a biscuit and no good gun owners were able to take him out because they were not allowed to pack responsible heat."
What if those good gun owners, having sat through so many Happy Hours that in Virginia they might be legally allowed to carry a gun but not to drive, started shooting at each other?
"That only happens in your liberal fantasies. Any responsible gun owner, no matter how many Long Island Ice Teas he has chugged, immediately sobers up and is capable of identifying a bad guy and drilling him right through the noggin if called upon, even if the bad guy is surrounded by child hostages or suspiciously well-developed high school cheerleaders. This has been written down in so many Hollywood screenplays that it must be true."
Do you think Toby is going to be persuaded by that logic?
"I have no doubt. I just want to let him know that the NRA is making available to him, and all restaurant owners and patrons, our new free publication, I CAN'T EAT WITHOUT MY GUN—A GUIDE TO FIREARMS AND FINE DINING. This pamphlet provides valuable guidance to the American firearms owner/restaurant visitor. It covers a lot more than the basic stuff, like which side of the plate your gun belongs on and why you should always match a national cuisine with a firearm manufactured in that country—a Beretta with Italian, for example. Say you are in a Japanese hibachi-style restaurant, where the chefs prepare the food in a dazzling display of manual dexterity. Did you know they also do gun tricks as well? Just hand them your piece and watch them got to town, shooting eggs out of mid-air and opening bottles of sake with well-aimed bullets."
I've been to Benihana's many times, Wayne, and I never saw that.
"You have to have the inside knowledge, my friend. The truly sophisticated well-armed restaurant patron knows that a recently-fired pistol's burnt gunpowder smell adds piquancy to exotic foods like quail eggs and Carolina oysters, while the fresh oily richness of a recently purchased piece complements the dense sensuality of a fine steak or a cut of prime rib."
It seems like you're openig up a whole new category of food snobbery, Wayne.
"Food AND gun snobbery, my friend. Bon apetit!"