Tom Foreman | BIO
I spent the week touring the Florida Panhandle talking to people about oil and the fear of oil, both of which are scaring away tourists faster than Ralph Nader in a Speedo. And I have concluded this: There are a lot of Waffle Houses down there.
Seriously. Seems like every few miles you see a yellow sign poking into the sky, inviting you to pull over and indulge in a dose of 24-hour cheer and bacon. Like Roy McAvoy in “Tin Cup,” I’m a Waffle House fan, which might explain why I was seized with the idea of how they could help that other WH (meaning the White House) take on the myriad problems facing our nation.
First, one of the issues plaguing President Obama is the sheer enormity of the country. Keeping up with 300 million folks and their complaints is tough, especially if your home is shunted way off to one side of the land. Waffle Houses are everywhere. Imagine how much more efficient things would be if the Administration could just get all those busy waitresses to change their routines to something like, “Would you like grits with that, or perhaps tougher sanctions on North Korea?”
Second, Waffle Houses are efficient. I never have to sit around waiting for someone to take my order, plunk down a plate, or fill up my coffee cup. And I don’t even drink coffee! Put these folks in charge of the oil spill, and I dare say it would take them only half an hour to plug the leak, wipe up the beaches, and herd the BP CEO to the cash register with his wallet in hand.
Third, the Waffle House has clear policies. When you walk in, they greet you. When you ask for hash browns, you get them. Don’t call Marge “Margie” unless she says it’s ok. I learned that one the hard way. If they sent Cook Bob over to Afghanistan, you can bet there’d be no ugly articles in Rolling Stone about him trash-talking the home office.
That’s really all it comes down to. You really can’t go wrong if you keep to a simple equation of some people giving orders, some people taking orders, and everyone’s expectations being fulfilled. Come to think of it, maybe Dairy Queen could help too.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with