Well, it's not everyday that the manager of an upscale chain restaurant gets to meet a former president and a possible future president at the same time, so as soon as I got off for the day (early!) I headed over to my PC so I could write my lunch down for posterity.

I'd been looking forward to this forever, ever since we got the call on Tuesday morning - 'President Clinton would like to surprise Senator Obama by having some Cosi sandwiches delivered'.

Well, I wasn't about to have some junkie (excuse me guys) delivery person schlepping into Mr. Clinton's office with a couple of suspicious paper sacks, not on your life. This was a job for yours truly, Randy Eastonbrook, Broad Street manager for three years, not some glorified busboy.

The president got a real nice variety of sandwiches, real nice. There was your pulled pork, of course, and the roast turkey with brie, and then he had some more exotic things in case the Senator was feeling adventurous. Like the fire roasted veggie sandwich, that's something special, let me tell you. You got your red peppers, you got your yellow peppers - not just the green peppers like you get on most fire roasted veggie sandwiches - and you got eggplant, you got zucchini, you got squash and red onions and romaine, and check this out, you got artichoke hearts!

Nobody uses artichoke hearts on their fire roasted veggie sandwiches, nobody but Cosi that is. It's a miracle you can fit all that stuff, the vegetables, on a sandwich. I guess the feta cheese spread kind of holds it all together.

Anyway, Senator Obama went straight for the Pasilla Lime Shrimp Sandwich. An excellent choice and a personal favorite, what with those southwestern style shrimp and the guacamole and our own homemade pico de gallo, that's good eating. But uh-oh. I could tell that was the sandwich that President Clinton wanted to eat too, you could see it in his eyes. I thought he might grab that sandwich away from Obama, but nah, the man has got good table manners, that's why he let his guest pick the first sandwich.

The president didn't order any beverages, which totally befuddled me, so I took matters into my own hands and brought a couple of fruit smoothies with me. And you know what? I needn't have bothered - the president has a little refrigerator right there in his office. Talk about the trappings of power.

Then I had to run back to the truck and get the heating bags. Seriously, do you really think that anyone intelligent to become the president of the United States would not be wise enough to order a couple of Cosi's flatbread pizzas? Think again. A traditional pepperoni, which is America's favorite, and the meat trio, with pepperoni, Italian sausage, and bacon!, which should be America's favorite, and someday probably will. Lenny, my assistant manager who took the call, asked Mr Clinton if he wanted to get a fire roasted veggie pizza, just in case. He laughed and said no, any man who wouldn't eat pepperoni was a natural born pussy. I tend to agree.

So, I realize that everyone is here to read about the take-aways. It was the pizza trays, ha ha. (Old busboy joke).

Seriously though, I did observe that Senator Obama is a very picky eater. By the time I brought up the pizza course, President Clinton was a good ways through his second sandwich, and Senator Obama had his opened up like a suitcase. He was picking the shrimp right off of Cosi's very own flatbread.

Jesus Christ, I muttered under my breath, why is it that people of certain racial characteristics do not know the correct way to eat a fucking sandwich? Mr. Clinton looked quite sad about the desecration. I turned around to bus the table. As a working man, the incident made me feel a little humiliated, as though my sandwich was somehow not good enough.

Not too sad, however, as I saw the fifty buck tip under Senator Obama's pickle tray.

Hey, they took that picture up there while I was cleaning up, and gave me a copy. And do you know what? Before I left, I saw Senator Obama picking off a piece of the good stuff from a slice of our traditional pepperoni pizza. I kind of felt all optimistic.

2008, Mark Hoback