The event didn’t present itself with any great magnitude, certainly not to the degree that anyone outside our immediate vicinity would take any notice.
Diana and I were standing in line at the Stoughton Co-op, preparing to pay for our groceries. “Have you ever tried this?”, asked a voice behind me.
“Excuse me?”, I responded. Turning in place, I viewed an older man, likely in his late seventies. I didn’t recognize him, but he spoke as if he knew me.
“Have you ever tried these?”, he repeated, pointing to a box of Co-op brand frozen hamburger patties.
“No, I haven’t”, was my response.
“Had ’em a while back”, he said testily. “They didn’t even taste like burgers. Do you think they taste like burgers?”
I thought it was time to ask the obvious. “Then, why are you buying them again?”
He ignored my question, in the same way I ignored his about whether I thought they would taste like burgers.
After making our purchase, the old man was next in line. He placed the box of frozen burgers on the check-out conveyer. “Have you tried these? Do they taste like burgers?”, he asked two young employees, one woman operating the cash register, the other bagging the groceries.
They looked at each other, then back at him. “I don’t know”, they said in unison.
“Then I don’t want em”, he snapped, pushing the colourful box in their direction.
I was chuckling as we left the store, taking delight out of some old codger who thought it important to make a point about his obvious unhappiness with the recent purchase of some burgers that didn’t taste like burgers.
The episode must have put burgers into my brain, because our next stop was the New Hope Restaurant in Stoughton.
I’ve been pretty good at restricting my eating habits for the last five months or so, managing to eliminate some 33 pounds from my five-foot-eight frame. But tonight, upon learning the pork cutlets were not an option, I opted for the Bakken Burger. I make a living working in the Bakken oilpatch, so it seemed only right I should make a meal out of something that helps put bread on my table.
Not reading the fine print on the menu, I was somewhat surprised to see this was a monster of a burger, with two fat patties, bacon, cheese, and all kinds of carb and fat inducing indulgences, piled into a monster bun.
I did my best, and tied into it. I ate the whole damned thing. I also chewed the french fries, something which I had eschewed since last fall.
During the 20 minute journey home, both belly and brain were full of burger. I thought more about that sad old man, and what drove him to this point in life where he was railing at the world over a box of burgers that didn’t really taste like burgers.
He was maybe 15 or 20 years older than me, and I wondered if I would be like that when I reached his age.
Something to write about, I mused. Settling into my recliner, I opened my laptop, determined to enter this into my blog.
First, though, a video posted by my friend Stefani came to mind, one which I had spotted on Facebook earlier that day. A cute video, showing the failings of penguins trying to navigate through everyday struggles such as, oh, walking on ice.
Must show Diana, I thought. We have this magnificent contraption called Apple TV wired into our television set. I’ll simply use the technology to transmit the video from my Apple laptop to the TV.
It’s a wonderful system, but not without its glitches. We each have an Apple laptop, and the problem is that usually both computers are in the living room along with the TV. Using the Apple TV remote usually activates her computer. Diana has found a solution, providing an older Apple computer remote to stop the sound coming from her computer.
When I tried showing the video on our TV, some book narration began emanating from her computer, and from mine, it was Abba’s Take A Chance On Me. I aimed the old remote at her computer. I’m not sure if it worked, because Take A Chance On Me wouldn’t shut the hell up.
“Goddamn it”, I sputtered in frustration, and threw both remotes across the room. “Forget it, it’s not worth it”, I said angrily.
My lovely wife hugged me, calmed me down, and I settled back into the chair. And then it dawned on me. The Bakken Burger..it really did taste like a burger.