Friday, August 26, 2005

A Lesson in Burger Iconography

Dialyis has provided me with the unique opportunity to experience instances of dizziness, weakness and other various -ness' that I wouldn't normally experience.

There I was, tooling down the hallway at my workplace when my vision started to pixelate. Everything slowly and impulsively faded to black.

The last moment I remember was staring at the posterior portion of one of our beautiful sales executive's when the floor jumped up and grabbed my head.

Suddenly I was whisked away to this bright, white room with nothing but a large box in the center.

It was a pretty non-descript box, brown and boring, but as I moved closer I could hear music that reminded me of childhood.

It was Jack-in-the-Box music, the kind your hear if you were winding one up.

There was no handle on this one, but the music slowly began to rise in volume.

I approached the box tentatively and as I was about to grasp the top it violently popped open.

It was the CEO of Jack in the Box, the gentleman with the over-szied clown head. In his right hand was one of those over-promoted Ciabatta Bread sandwiches. It was dripping mayonaisse and smelled as though it had been burned.

"We don't make it 'til you order it," said Jack proudly. Then the four note jingle from the commercial played.

"What are you doing here? What am I doing here?" I was confused and bewildered by my new location. It's not every day you meet the CEO of a major corporation. At least not one this colorful.

"I'm defending myself against the competition," Jack exclaimed as he quickly glanced around with his giant clown head. The four tone music once again played once his comment was finished.

Jack had a big smile on his face and was trying to force the sandwich into the big red line of a smile he had on his face. He kept shoving it over and over again, but his mouth just wouldn't open.

"Damnit," was all Jack could muster as he allowed the melted cheese and secret sauce to splash across his face.

Suddenly, from out of one of the bright white walls came a ridiculously tiny, bright yellow VW bug with a beat red interior. Inside, taking up every spare inch of the vehicle, was Ronald McDonald. He was approaching the Jack box at top speed, but as he was about to collide, massively huge french fries shot from each headlight and created a bridge over Jack's box. He began to speed over Jack with ease.

Jack managed to duck moments before the french fry bridge took out his tiny clown hat. As his vehicle flew over the box Ronald screamed out to no one in particular, "I'm lovin' it!!"

Jack righted himself and his red smile retreated to a straight line. He shook his head back and forth as he spoke.

"And people wonder why everyone hates clowns." Again, the four note jingle redundantly returned.

He grabbed a hankerchief out of his suit pocket and wiped the Ciabatta sandwich from his face.

"Woo-hoo! What a fucking great ride! I McRule!"

Jack and I both glanced at one another in shock as to the amount of profanity spewing from Ronald's giant red lips.

Ronald waddled over to our vicinity and started to grimace. He took his clowny hand and started to dig between his ass cheeks.

A cartoonish pop was heard as he pulled something from his ass. Once it was removed he started to smile and his eyes grew wide as he placed it in front of his face.

"At least now we know where McNuggets come from...woohoohoohoohoohoohahahahaha!"

"You're repulsive," responded Jack as he pulled a giant french fry from his front pants pocket. More Jack-in-the-Box notes sprung from his box.

"I think I'm McFunny actually." Ronald responded in kind with his own giant french fry.

Before they could strike one another, a Model T vehicle faded into the scene driven by a woman with dark red pigtails. As she came into focus, it became clear that she was no longer the young, innocent daughter of Dave Thomas.

Her pigtails were extremely long and whisps of white hair could be seen. She was toking on a ridiculously long cigarette. Before she could speak, Ronald put his giant clown foot down.

"Wendy, baby, how long has it McBeen?"

Her voice was gravelly and spent. The Triple Double's hadn't been kind to dear Wendy.

"Not since the burger wars honey," was all she could muster before she started coughing up chunks of mustard. "You two fighting again?"

Ronald and Jack glanced back at one another as Wendy exited her vehicle.

"He's foul, crude and totally lacking culture," Jack pointed out as he crossed his arms, allowing his french fry to disappear into the bottom of his box.

"This from the man who's hawking Egg Rolls and Beef Tacos. What the hell McHappened to you?"

Once Ronald mentioned tacos, a figure holding a leash could be seen entering the picture.

Everyone in attendance, except me since I had no clue what the hell was going on, stood at attention. From out in the distance approached Burger King holding the Taco Bell chihuahua on a leash.

Jack knelt in his box as Ronald tossed his french fry and dropped to his knees. Wendy lept from her vehicle, flinging her cigarette aside and kneeling as well.

Burger King had a huge smile on his face and nodded toward the Taco Bell dog.

"His majesty wishes to ask you putos what the hell you're doing."

"I was just working on a new sandwich I discovered in..." sputtered Jack.

"Silence," proclaimed the Taco Bell dog. "Ronald, get the hell off your sorry ass knees. You too Wendy."

Everyone rose to attention as Burger King & the Taco Bell dog came closer.

"You vendejos disgust me. Remember back in the day when we all used to party until the wee hours of the morning. Wendy, you and Ronald were inseprable. Jack, you and the King used to share new sandwich ideas. What the fuck happened?"

Ronald began to snivel and you could see tears flowing from his eyes. He reached in to one of his large McDonalds pockets, pulled out a wrapper and began wiping his nose. He placed the wrapper to his face and blew, covering the side of Jack's head with secret sauce.

"Sorry," he meekly offered. "I get so emotional when I think about the good old days, before the McTrouble."

A slow and deliberate thud could be heard moving closer to the burger icons. The sound reververated over and over until another figure was visible.

It was the Colonel from KFC, smiling.

"What the chulupa," shouted the Taco Bell chihuahua. "I thought your Southern ass was dead."

The Colonel chuckled as he patted Ronald gently on the back. Ronald tossed aside his burger wrapper and flung his arms around the Colonel.

His gentle smile and easy demeanor put everyone at ease.

"I'm no deader than a McLean Burger friends," he offered as he chuckled to himself. Ronald winced at the honesty of the comment.

The Colonel made his way to Jack's box with his cane. He tapped it on the side twice and suddenly we were all sitting in a very pristine KFC outlet. The Colonel grabbed the nearest steel chair and rested his tired body upon it.

"There is no reason for us all to be fightin' and arguin', arguin' and fumin'. We all exist in a nation of fast food addicts. There's more than gluttony to go around."

All the burger icons took seats within the makeshift KFC and listened intently to the Colonel.

"Seven herbs and spices," he mused. "Boy the women used to love it when I said that."

"Why have you come back to us?" questioned Wendy.

"To save this poor gentleman who's been sucked into all of this." The Colonel gestured in my direction with his cane as he knelt his head.

"I think I'm just unconscious and you're all a result of some really bad pickles I had earlier."

"Let us ask you young man," said the Colonel, "when you have the urge for fast food, where do you go?"

I righted myself and spoke directly to the Colonel.

"To be honest sir, all your food tastes good going down, but turns into something really foul and unpleasant on the way out."

The Colonel became furious as the realization of what I had said became clear. He stood up and pointed his cane directly in my direction.

"I have a surprise for you young man. You're on dialysis because of us!"

From the end of his cane came steaming hot gravy. I fell back as it scalded my bare skin.

Ronald reached into his giant McPockets and began flinging Filet-O-Fish sandwiches at my torso.

Wendy's pigtails became erect and turned into turrets of Biggie Chili.

Burget King grasped his crown, dug into it's interior and flung flame broiled patties at my head.

Jack shot giant boiling hot onion rings over my neck as the Taco Bell dog squatted at my feet. From his posterior came one after another violently hot Gordita.

My entire body was exploding with pain. I screamed out for relief.

It was then that reality came rushing back. Two dialysis tech's were peering over me telling me to calm down and stop shouting.

I caught my breath as I glanced around at my surroundings. It was the same antiseptic dialysis clinic I always attend, three days a week, three hours at a time.

As they realized I was going to be okay, they returned to their normal duties. I laid my head back down on the reclining chair and glanced over at my dialysis machine.

Instead of my blood, gravy appeared to be shooting through the tubing. It was light brown with what appeared to be small pieces of french fry chards.

I began to excavate my memory, wondering what could have brought on this nightmarish hallucination.

I glanced at the chair opposite mine to see the Colonel smiling and waving back, nodding toward his omniscient cane.

The last sound I heard before swearing off fast food for the remainder of my existence was the Colonel.

"Don't forget, seven herbs and spices! The ladies love my seven herbs and spices!"

(The preceding episode was in response to a fast food binge brought on by ordering from one of those Taco Bell/KFC combos. May this be a lesson to all who dine at such locations...)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Time to Check the Stacy Radio Show Mail Bag

Life has a way of balancing out in a freakish, "boy I think I saw that on the X-Files but I didn't because I was really drunk and the TV wasn't even on and my friends tricked me into tasting the blue ones but then it turned out to be one of those freshening things you put in the toilet to make sure its not lacking cleansliness" kinda way.

Well, anyway...

Although I've felt like crawling under my desk, curling up in a tight ball and living off the M&M's I dropped there three months ago, Life keeps tapping me on the shoulder, smiling and asking me to hang out just a little bit more.

Case in point: the Stacy Radio Show Mailbag.

Today's was not an electronic, emotionless, emoticoned e-mail, but an actual letter.

I know. It's like finding a fossilized Rubik's Cube under the rafters in the far recesses of your parent's garage.

The letter was decorated with an enormous amount of stickers, which set off the Stalker Alarm in my brain. This was painful because it's really loud and no one else can hear it and then people wonder why I'm slapping my hands against the side of my head trying to get it to shut off.

But I digress, or regress, depending on what tasteless TV show from the 80's is being released on DVD these days.

I tried to unsuccessfully open the letter and ended up ripping it lengthwise.

This was NOT a good sign.

Her handwriting was incredibly large and loopy, and at times, difficult to read.

I present this letter to you now, in hopes that you'll have an opinion on what I should do, if anything...

Dear Stacy,

Hello! My name is Alicia and I am a VERY SINGLE 30 something woman. I am also the mother of a very beautiful five year old little girl named Lexsi.

I listen to your show faithfully every day (never miss it) and I think that you have the sexiest voice in radio. I just love your laugh.

(I must pause here because the "sexiest voice" comment couldn't be farther from the truth. Most of the time my voice cracks and I sound like I'm going through a post-adolescent puberty my thirties.)

I was listening to your show on Friday, August 5th and you were talking about your dating dilemma and how you think that some women may be a little turned off by your scars and bandages due to your dialysis. And then on yesterday's show, Monday August 8th, you talked about how you hadn't had a date in sixteen months since beginning dialysis.

Let me just say that not having a date in 16 months does NOT compare to not having a date in 4 years. I think that I've got you beat!

You say that some women may be turned off by scars & bandages, but in my own personal experience, I have found that as a single parent, the men who are interested in dating me only are until I inform them that I have a child. Once I divulge that little piece of information, they are IMMEDIATELY turned off and start running towards traffic, so to speak.

As an adult child of a man who had cancer and who had to suffer though both chemo and radiation treatments that left his body battered, scarred and brusied, and as a Home Care Health Aid I have seen ALOT and haven't wimped out yet.

So, let me just assure you that I WOULD NOT be turned off by your scars, bruises and bandages. That is, as long as YOU'RE NOT turned off by a single woman with a child.

Well maybe if you're interested, we could meet over an iced coffee, (Starbucks being my current weakness) and discuss our mutual dating woes. If you're not, that's fine too. At least you know now that there is at least one woman in Sonoma County who wouldn't be turned off by your scars or bruises.



There is a phone number included, but I haven't called her. Also, the points in the letter I capitalized indicated where she had taken a flourescent highlighter and made those points more apparent.

I now need to choose from the following choices in what to do next:

1. File the letter away in my listener letter file and hope it doesn't crawl out and give me a hickey on my calf.

2. Call her back and politely tell her how much I appreciated the letter, but I don't date listeners. (A copout to be sure, but an honest one.)

3. Post the letter on the kitchen bulletin board for all to examine and debate over the overpriced and idiot free new coffee machine.

4. Call her back, accept her invitation to coffee and pray to God I come back alive.

5. Propose marriage and smother her with 100% Stacy Without an E.

6. Segue into Creepy Stacy Without an E mode and ask her if she's ever done it with a guy with 4 kidneys before.

7. Call and ask if she can suggest any good medications for overly moody pseudo-talented media personalities.

8. None of the above.

9. All of the above...and more!

I await your advice and suggestions brave blog readers.

Thank you and good night.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Hello God? Are You There? It's Me Stacy...

When I was a child still clinging to a healthy kidney and a faithful heart, I imagined that God was an immense individual with long, flowing robes who peered down upon all that I held dear.

It was upon the sixteenth day of throwing up my innards and wasting away to a mere seventy pounds that I witnessed my faith spill from my lips and splash upon the floor of my parents bathroom.

It lay there, spoiled and rotten, stagnant and foul until it eventually dried up, leaving behind the crust of my faith of whom I once knew as the almighty God.

I used to believe that suffering was an end to a means, that a lesson would be learned, that divine widsom would be granted when patience was finally exhausted.

But here I slouch dear God, tired and weak, pummelled to the point of mere futility.

I do grant you this dear God, you do have a sense of humor, that I know to be true.

For example, for the last week and a half you have allowed me to enjoy a plentiful breakfast and meager lunch, only to grab both from deep within my gullet and expel them upon my office floor just in time for the dinner bell.

I imagine that this tawdry example of frivolity is to entertain you and your minions in what you declare as heaven, because I found it highly revolting.

The stain won't remove itself from the carpet, my office has the stench of hell's kitchen and there you are sipping honeyed nectar through a straw.

When I visit the hospital for the umpteenth time, or peer around dialysis which I'm forced to endure, all I see if your lack of attendance.

With results like these, you would most likely be brought up on charges of child neglect, facing numerous counts of endangerment and threatened with a life sentence. You would be forced to spend your days doing favors for smokes and pages from a used Playboy.

When I was just a child I was told by family and teachers that within me lay the potential for unblemished greatness.

Today that greatness rests proudly on my office floor.

With this short, meandering entry, I have proven without a shadow of a doubt, simply by using my one lone example, that You don't exist.

The Earth is littered with thousands upon thousands of stories just like mine, and You do absolutely nothing.

I have been told point blank by those who hold your teachings so dear that I should keep seeking your guidance and I will one day be shone the light.

Maybe my soul is far from saving. Maybe I need to release my bitterness or anger.

Or maybe I just need to stop wasting my time on a God that was never present in the first place.