It has been said that the key to any successful restaurant lies in the quality of its food. Unfortunately, I have never eaten at the Alexandria Cafe. I would guess, though, that the food is excellent. Especially good, I would guess, is their lamb shish kabob, which I may one day describe as savory, after I try it.

The truth is, though, that there is more to the Alexandria Cafe than just food. Their hookahs, for example, are excellent. They come with three flavors of tobacco: plain, strawberry and apple. The plain tastes plain, as does the strawberry, while the apple tastes vaguely like apple. Also, the one night I was there, the cafe was featuring a televised broadcast of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” in Arabic. The host looked kind of like Regis and would probably have been equally annoying if I had been able to understand him. Otherwise, the decor was primarily plastic, with the periodic American flag. My friend claimed the flag was merely a hypocritical show of false patriotism aimed at attracting business in light of recent national events. Unable to think of anything more American than hypocrisy in the name of profit, I nodded and asked him to pass the hookah.

Come to think of it, the hookah is really a perfect accessory for those who don’t think dinner should be a conversational experience or for those forced to eat with someone whose conversation is duller than the quiet bubbling of water. It might be worth investing in a pocket hookah, which I could carry around in case of boring conversation. Just imagine:

Me: Hello

Some Dull Person: So, what college are you in?

Me: [taking out my hookah] Bubble bubble bubble bubble.

SDP: I’m from Idaho. Are you?

Me: bubble bubble bubble.

SDP: Really? That’s fantastic. Want to hear about my —

Me: bubble bubble

SDP: Are you okay? You haven’t breathed in over 5 minutes.

[I pass out, still clutching my hookah. Dull person walks away]

An American flag can have the same effect, at a much lower price. I own a flag, and whenever some dirty liberals come into my room talking shit about my country, I just start waving it and chanting USA USA USA USA USA USA USA. After about 15 minutes the dirty liberals are usually awed into silence by the mammoth power of my patriotism, and, realizing the error of their dirty liberal ways, return to their room to shower or get started on an econ problem set. The obvious downside of this plan is that, unlike a hookah, you can’t smoke out of the American flag — but then again, hasn’t true patriotism always required sacrifice?

Nick Danforth wrote this “article.”