Note: I am entirely in error when I say that certain highlighted items in the Humpty's menu are being marketed as "heart smart" or whatever phrase works for you. But I won't change it now, because I have taken an ornery stance, and it's hard to relax from an ornery stance.
Main Attractions: Meatloaf, Beef Liver, Salisbury Steak, Swiss Chicken Schnitzel, Rodeo Chicken, Country Fried Chicken, Savory Salmon, Breaded Veal, Turkey Dinner, Sirloin Steak, Pork Chops
What's Wrong With Yesterday's Menu: Like so many family restaurants clogging up the service roads of North America these days, Humpty's makes a purely nominal gesture towards the health of its customers by highlighting "Heart Smart" or "Healthy Choice" or "Not Very Deep Fried" dishes. This must have been a difficult strategy for Humpty's, since they specialize in eggs. Do they simply highlight the non-egg dishes, thereby pointing out how embarrasingly unhealthy their flagship food is? Do they put their huevos on the chopping block and pretend that a five-egg omelette is good for your circulation? I checked their menu and realized that the task had proven so difficult that it fried a few wires in Marketing and the "Heart Smart" items were chosen entirely at random. For example, selected healthy dishes include: Egg Mountains (Two scrambled eggs loaded with mushrooms and ham, served on a grilled English muffin topped with creamy Hollandaise sauce and cheddar); French Toast or Grillcake Sandwich (three buttermilk grillcakes or three slices of French toast, layered with ham and bacon, topped with two eggs); and from the All-Time Favorites, we have the Linguini Supreme, whose wholesome goodness is assured by the presence of meatballs, pasta, and Alfredo sauce. We're through the looking glass, folks.
When I was young I had a cousin (don't worry, I've still got him somewhere) who actually ordered the gag items from the backs of comic books. Once a year we would visit, making a dreary three-hour drive that took us past several fish plants, and without fail my cousin would have just received a package in the mail containing gum that was supposed to turn your teeth black but whose only sin was tasting kind of like Big Red, or plastic glasses with an image of the bones of the hand on each lens, or little balls with wicks that, when lit, smoked and sputtered but did not particularly stink. I knew we were growing up when we visited one year and he had stopped ordering novelty items and started buying ninja gear and hash. I felt it was a change for the better, even though the hash and the throwing stars were illegal. A couple of years later he shot me in the leg with a BB gun and stole my girlfriend.
My cousin is nothing like The Lotus, but I've discovered that she also enjoys ordering stuff through the mail. The Lotus' weakness is not for nunchuks and whoopie cushions, but for free stuff. She tells me that as a child she would write away to all sorts of organizations, requesting samples or more information (this sometimes resulted in various religious groups actively trying to convert a ten year old girl). Now that the internet has made the process as easy as a few mouse clicks and keystrokes, we've had jelly beans, Harlequin romance novels and religious pamphlets arriving in our mailbox.
My favourite free literature, besides the coy softcore porn found in the Harlequins (he's a secret agent/rancher/tycoon etc.; she needs a proper commitment/thorough fucking/part-time job etc.), is the material on ECKANKAR. I won't go into too much detail on ECK, but they have a temple in Chanhassen, Minnesota, and their literature is filled with perplexing sentences such as "Since winning approval from the Chanhassen city council to build the Temple of ECK, my mission is launched into a new, higher orbit" and "As some of our associates from other faiths worked with us, they began to notice how the ECK works".
As in fundamentalist Christian literature, ECKANKAR's history is a mix of ecstatic visions and zoning bylaws, in which God's Will is expressed through town council meetings and walks the Earth in double-breasted suits. The basic beliefs, on the other hand, are surprisingly mystical, encompassing reincarnation and affirming the reality of dreams. Nothing sums up this peculiar balance better than the Mahanta and living ECK master, Sri Harold Klemp. Not Sir Harold, but Sri Harold, whose wife is named Joan. Occasionally he will appear in the dreams of ECKists and guide them through spiritually taxing moments or more mundane challenges.
Don't take my word for it. You can actually dial 1-800-LOVE-GOD for more info. You think I'm joking but I'm just not.
Retracted on 2003-02-09::10:22 p.m.
parode - exode