Photographer Tom

schlub [SHləb] NOUN

shlub (noun)

  1. a talentless, unattractive, or boorish person:

K.J. Hanson describes Jeff, a character in his short story Cheapskate, as a shlub. The noun remained in my head until I wrote something.


“He’s a shlub,” said the guy at the next table.

Although unfamiliar with the expression, I couldn’t have agreed more. The restaurant was crowded, and the jerk, dressed in a worn t-shirt and a grunge baseball cap to cover a scraggly head of hair, stood out in a crowd of business people. Some chatted effortlessly, others sat people watching, like the guy alongside of me. Whose dress was trending; jeans, white t-shirt and a herringbone blazer. His companion did all the talking while the guy pretended to listen, preoccupied with the ensuing drama.

The server delivered the check to the shlub, who immediately became agitated, flinging his arms up in the air and indicating some problem with the food.

His woman friend turn red in the face as the server removed their lunch plate like it was a hot plate. She was attractive in an intellectual way and rummaged through her handbag.

I imagined they’d met on line or some dating app. You know the type, skilled at embellishment and all about himself. It was probably their first date, but clearly their last as the woman got up to leave visibly shaken.

The guy at the next table stood when she did.

“Let me get that for you,” he said.

As they left the restaurant together, the shlub yelled, “What the fuck! You can’t do that.”


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