Saturday, March 27, 2010
In praise of profanity
At least once a week I regret my vow to make this a family-friendly blog. See, I’m pro-profanity. I love to swear and my life is enriched with ample provocations to do so.
Happened just this morning.
For reasons of economy, taste and snobbery, I’ve pretty much kicked the fast food habit.
But sometimes the body simply needs fuel. Today I wanted to accomplish a lot in a little time so I swung by the nearest McDonald’s and ordered a sausage biscuit with cheese. The place is notorious for its inefficiency and I hadn’t been there in probably two years.
I zipped through the drive-thru and made it back to my office in under two minutes.
I was pleased to think that maybe my faith in humanity was being restored in that they’ve evolved and learned to work together more efficiently and, yeah, I gave all the credit to Barack.
That will please conservatives because of what happened next.
I unfolded the paper and inside was just the biscuit with cheese.
I’d been awake barely 20 minutes and I screamed my first profanity of the day.
My entire order was just four words long: “sausage biscuit with cheese.” And only three of the words involved food.
I understand in these busy times that many people are distracted and that many of our attention spans have shortened to jiffy fractions. So if the wrapper had contained just a sausage biscuit, I’d have understood.
But how Person A says or prints “sausage biscuit with cheese,” and Person B omits the sausage is incomprehensible.
It is the very essence of any sausage sandwich. I’d wager in the history of McDonald’s history no one’s ever said, “I’d like a biscuit with cheese.”
So now I’m on a mission. I grab the inedible mistake and dash straight back to the drive-thru determined to keep my cool.
I like situational profanity, but using it at someone always makes me feel small. Plus, the store was clearly staffed with idiots who’d have responded to my barbs with either gunfire or dumbfounded stares.
I politely explained to the girl I needed to see the manager. She said, sure, and asked me to pull up to the second drive thru.
No, I’ll wait here, I said.
It was a small act of civil disobedience, but I have a pet theory about the progression of drive thrus and here was an opportunity to perhaps further its potential.
See, there were no drive thrus when I was a boy. Now each restaurant has two. My theory is that in 20 years it will take four drive thrus to screw up each order.
The manager, a sweet grandmotherly lady, approached and heard my complaint. I said I wanted a new sausage biscuit with cheese and compensation for the inconvenience.
“Well, we don’t have any gift certificates here, but I can give you some pie!”
As I said, I’m not a frequent patron so I don’t know what McDonald’s breakfast pie would entail. I’ve had and enjoyed quiche, which is a pie-shaped entree. But I’d already ordered my breakfast entree.
I said no thanks. She took my address and said she’d send some gift certificates. Soon she handed me a sack and said, “Here’s your sausage biscuit with cheese -- I put a free hash brown in for you!”
She said it in a way that led me to believe this gesture led past disgruntled customers to emerge from their vehicles and do handsprings around the parking lot.
I just said, “Thank you for your consideration.”
I get back to the office. Opened the sack and unfolded the wrapper. Know what was inside?
Biscuit with cheese, egg and bacon.
I shouted the day’s second profanity with such a reverberating gusto that I imagined flocks of birds simultaneously lifting off from branches all across distant savannahs.
It helped relieve the strain.
That brings me to Joe Biden’s profane gaffe. I was so pleased to see it didn’t inspire the usual holier-than-thou back and forth that’s become so common in our over-heated political climate.
We’re all becoming more comfortable with profanity.
It gives me hope that someday I’ll be able to use all my favorite swear words right here in this family-friendly blog.
And on that day, I’ll tell you exactly what I thought when I bit into that bacon mistake I was too furious to return a second time.
“Hey, this is pretty #@$*-ing good!”