Wednesday, November 09, 2011

COLUMN: Biscuit

As I type this column, it's Halloween night. I'm sitting in the corner of my couch waiting for trick-or-treaters. Last year, our house was so popular, it merited an emergency candy run. This year, we're already an hour underway, I've had 0 visitors, and I'm starting to worry that my diet for the next month will be consisting primarily of mini Milky Ways.

It's times like this that I like to reflect on exactly why I've always hated Halloween... and, thanks to the events of this morning, I've finally figured it out: IT NEEDS MORE BISCUITS.

My alarm clock goes off weekdays at 7:15 a.m. This gives me a precise fifteen minute window each morning to wake up, watch Al Roker tell me the weather, and desperately attempt to boot up the central processor of my brain.
At the conclusion of these fifteen minutes, I know that I have EXACTLY enough time to hop in the shower, throw on some clothes, and hit the road with just enough time to swing in to a gas station and get the iced coffee and 2 Cokes required to make it through the work day.

(UPDATE: Still no trick-or-treaters.)

This morning, though, was different. I woke up precisely on cue, turned on the Today show, and was greeted by the sad sight of Bernie Madoff's family trying to get America to feel really really sorry that their husband and father is a Class A scumbag. This was NOT the way I wanted to kick off my day, so I forced myself off the couch and into action. I ended up out the door with just enough extra time for the greatest morning bonus of all: a drive-thru sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit. Life was good. I just first needed to run into the gas station...

Which I found myself strangely unable to do, since it's employees were standing outside blocking the door.

"No power," said one.
"No sales," said the other.
"No calculator?" I asked.
"No power," replied the one.
"No sales," replied the other.

And, apparantly, no basic math skills. That's okay, I won't blame them. I still count on my fingers. If I had to figure out sales tax at 8:08 in the morning, my brain might very well explode. Back to the car.

I knew of another gas station I could get to a few blocks away, and it wouldn't eat up THAT much time. This could still be done, I thought with confidence, as visions of biscuits danced in my head.

(UPDATE: Thought I heard something outside. Nope.)

At the second gas station, I was greeted with lights that proved they had power. Huzzah! However, it turns out that having power might actually be detrimental to this gas station, since I opened up their cooler to grab a Coke to get hit in the face by a gust of HOT air.

Not just "not-cold" air, mind you. No, this was HOT air, blowing all through their cooler for HVAC reasons unknown. The Cokes were literally TOO HOT TO HOLD. This will simply not do, as hot cola sounds about as appealing as cold chili. Some things are just not meant to happen, and heating Coke to the boiling point is one of them.

Clearly, my hatred for Halloween had transported me to some ironic Twilight Zone-esque land where hot is cold, up is down, and, clearly, no one eats biscuits.

Now at this point, you're probably asking yourself, "What's the deal, Shane? Don't they have pop machines at your work?"

That's just what Halloween WANTS you to think. In fact, they DO have Coke machines at my workplace, and they work fine -- except during any time that I crave one, in which case they're usually empty. I'm not one to tempt fate, especially on the least karma-filled day of my year. And I don't often make endorsements in this column, but in Shaneland, Pepsi just doesn't cut it. I have to endure Halloween -- at the very least, let me endure it with a Coke in my hand.
Dejectedly, I walked back to my car... but then it hit me. There exists a third gas station. And if karma, fate, and luck all decided to give me a break en masse, I just might be able to score my coffee, my Coke, and still wheel it into the biscuit drive-thru without being late for work.

I arrived at the third gas station and leapt from the car like a graceful yet bloated gazelle. Inside, I grabbed the necessities and even treated myself to a candy bar en route to the counter. The clerk rang me up with ease... until she hit that candy bar.

"Hey, Cheryl," she yelled to her co-worker with a frown, holding up my candy bar. "Remind me to tell you the story about this."

Umm. Alright, brain, focus. Pay, get out of here, and that biscuit is yours. You can't waste any time whatsoever... but WHAT story? My mind had a light-speed argument with itself. Many scenarios unfolded. Perhaps it was an inocuous story about store inventory. Maybe she wanted to recall the tale of Milton Hershey turning a Philadelphia candy shop into a multi-million dollar empire. Perhaps Hershey bars reminded her of a lost love.

Yet, for every GOOD story my brain could guess at, it quickly wrote a worse one. Like the story about how they found a 10-year-old box of stale chocolate and put it on the shelves. Or the story of how she caught a kid peeing on the candy bars last night. Maybe it was the one story my brain offered that's waaaaaaay too disgusting to retell in print.

I needed that biscuit. I wanted that biscuit. But I had to ask.

"Umm... what's the story with my candy bar?"

She then spent the next several minutes telling, with some skill and grace, the story about how she, as a child, had found a fully-wrapped Hershey bar on the ground. She knew it was wrong, but it was still sealed, so she took it home, ate it, and then became violently ill for several days.

I suppose the story had a good moral. Ground candy is BAD, kids, so leave it be -- but at least MY candy bar was safe. And, as I sat there at work, it was pretty tasty. But it sure wasn't a biscuit. I hate Halloween.
(UPDATE: One kid! Dressed in street clothes with a crudely drawn marker moustache, but still, a kid nonetheless. And I just gave that kid so much candy that he's probably gonna still be awake when this paper hits his front door on Sunday.)

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