Annals of Asking Someone Important to Come Over to Your Table to Impress Your Guest

How the Professionals Do It

Comedian Don Rickles, who died yesterday at the age of 90, was on the Johnny Carson Show in 1976 with Frank Sinatra and Sinatra told this classic Rickles story.

How the Amateurs Do It

In the fall of 1979, The Washingtonian was sold to Phil Merrill, a former State Department official turned publisher. I had been editing the magazine for ten years and Phil seemed comfortable keeping me on but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to let him know I was connected in Washington.

We had a lunch set up at Duke Ziebert’s downtown DC restaurant and a couple of days before our get-together I was at Duke’s and said hello to Bob Strauss, a very well-connected and prominent lawyer who liked to table hop the room, delivering friendly insults to people he knew. I told Strauss I was having lunch later in the week with the magazine’s new owner and would he stop by our table.

When Phil and I showed up for lunch, Strauss came by our table and told Phil it was great to meet him but he hoped he’d find an editor who was a lot smarter than the one he had. Phil laughed and I always figured it didn’t hurt my chances of staying on at The Washingtonian.


  1. Doris Graf says

    Clever move, Jack. You made me smile.

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