Saturday, January 12, 2013

Food Fight

The buffet line mobs on cruise ships start me thinking (and laughing) about the struggle for survival at sea.  Some sundry food for thought. . . .

Actually, orderly chaos best describes the tussle which occurs three times a day at the food buffet on cruise ships.  It is clear by their nervous eyes as they flit from food group to food group, as well as the machine motion of their trembling hands as they reach for soup spoons, pats of butter, slabs of meat, shrimp cocktail, some pasta, and as they try to balance all including a tray of cheese and breads in one hand and a large bowl of chowder in the other, that one best not get between some of these gorgers and the object of their quest if they value life. These food uber alles gluttons will elbow, hog and knock you down at every line, save the salad bar, but let them catch sight of a hunk of triple-layer dark chocolate fudge cake topped with a cherry on the dessert trays and they will trample and grind you underfoot like a clod of dirt.

“Oh, it ALL smells sooooo good!” groaned one 500 pound blob above the din, as though she/it might actually faint from hunger before she could begin consuming vast quantities of carbs, sodium and animal fat.  I noted that the poor little scooter she/it rode on was also groaning under its load.  When this individual hit the buffet line she/it scattered all we normals in her/its path like we were sparrows.  The image was more that of an all-consuming tank than that of a human on an electric lard mover.  Michelle will back me on that.

Now, if some people are so greedy and oblivious to manners at these “all-you-can-gorge” cruise ship buffets where the food is nonstop and free, imagine what they would be like if food were scarce and their life depended on it?  They’d kill, roast and eat you in a New Guinea minute. 

My first three trips across the Atlantic were on board ships where only sit-down regulars were served with actual waiters.  No 24/7 buffets as per the giant ships of today.  Nope.  This was just old timey come-and-get-it.  And come-and-get-it we did, breakfast, lunch and dinner.  When that gong went off and the marching music came over the intercoms, like Pavlovian dogs the entire ship, salivating and starving with each step, marched off on cue to the dining hall.

There is also an episode of “Cops” where an officer is called to settle a dispute at a local restaurant.  Seems it was one of those “all-you-can-eat” nights and the owner had had it from a long-haired guy and his wife whose habit every week was taking home a plate of steak and potatoes that were “left-overs.”  Ho, ho, ho—wouldn’t we all like those rules?  One could take home enough from one buffet to last the rest of the week, or month, with those rules.  Anyway, the dead-beats’ (thieves’) specious line of reason ran: “Hey, they are going to throw this out now no matter what, so what is the harm of taking these t-bones and fries home and getting some use out of ‘em.’”  Now, these customers, shifty and unsavory though they were, were not retards and they knew perfectly well that if the restaurant allowed them such an option they would need to extend that same option to everyone.  Do that and in a week or less the business would also have a “For Sale” sign outside.

The cop warned the dead-beats that if they took the food from the premises that would be considered theft and they would be arrested.  After way more debate than necessary, the thieves finally left, acting as all dead-beats act, indignant, mortified, incensed, like they had been grievously wronged by being denied what was rightfully theirs.

On another occasion, my first wife and I were sitting in a Chinese restaurant up in some remote town in northern British Columbia.  I remember what I was eating at the time: Sweet and Sour tomatoes.  Suddenly, there was a big ruckus near our table. From the back, out came three or four Chinese folks, some with knives.  The object of the angry words and deadly threats was some shabby-looking fellow.  By his hang-dog manner and sheepish smile, I gathered that he was a dead-beat diner.  He was “escorted” to the door and shoved into the street.  This was startling in itself but what was really amazing was how quickly the switch flipped in the Chinese.  One moment all was Asian smiles and courtesy and that Oriental mood music to dine by . . . the next moment it is a proverbial Chinese fire drill with yelling and wildly animated Asians everywhere. 

Moral: American Express . . . Don’t Leave Home for Wong's Wok and Roll Without It!

Ill Will—Thieves broke into an enclosure and made off with $5K in tools from our local Goodwill store this week.  That is pretty damned low, about as low as pilfering from a church collection plate or swiping a Salvation Army coin kettle.  I realize that drugs don’t make addicts, addicts make addicts, but once these weak-willed people get hooked nothing—not age, not sex, not religion, not even a guilty conscience—gets between them and their addiction, nothing.

There was a bit more ill will here in Florida this week.  A dozen Florida inmates were shipped back up river when it was discovered that they had been “violating rules” at their St. Pete work-release facility.  What those violations were—Booze?  Drugs? Grand theft auto?  Murder for hire?—was not mentioned.  The well-intentioned facility was run by Goodwill.  A ton of bad will for Goodwill this week, a ton.  Too bad.  Michelle and I occasionally donate to this generous group.

Good Gun Control—Lance Tomberlin entered a Tallahassee convenience store bent on committing a shocking robbery.  His weapon of choice?  A cattle prod.  It was only after Lance zzzzzorked the poor clerk not once, but twice, that the victim went over on the offensive.  Whipping out a cop-in-the-pocket, the clerk made ready to lay Lance low.  Tomberlin, however, managed to dash out the door, ducking and dodging death every step of the way.  Cops caught the puffing prod perp a short time later.

Bad Blade Control—Some certifiably crazed chap went even crazier the other night over on the wrong side of the state when he and his ma got into a bit of a tiff over a TV program.  Must have been a show that the 23-year-old REALLY wanted to see for he grabbed a kitchen knife and pretty much completely cut the woman’s head clean off.  “I am the devil,” stated the murderer when cops cuffed him.  Who could argue with that statement?

Don’t look for these small items to make national or even state wide news.  Had the latter been a gun instead of a kitchen knife, or had the clerk in the item before that been killed by a gun, they might have been right up there at the top of today’s list of yet-more-reasons-why-American’s-must-be-disarmed-and-made-helpless.

Gun control is not about guns . . . It’s about control.

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