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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday encore: A sexy ode to Heinz ketchup (2011)

So how do I pick which stories to showcase on Sundays? Usually, it’s when the stats page shows me that some old post has been organically drawing a audience all on its own. It often happens for no apparent reason. Like why would anyone on earth pick up on this story about the speed of ketchup from Oct. 2011? It makes no sense. But more than 50 people latched onto this story this week and started sharing it with friends.

I can’t explain it. All I can do is run it up the flagpole once again and hope others will salute.

Tune in tomorrow when I’ll be writing about my worst book signing ever. It was yesterday!



So I had this news clip on my desk for about the last three months. I’d pick it up and look at it again and again. It seemed too trivial to indulge with a full post, yet too fascinating to dispense with a tweet.

But I can’t shake its import. I must share.

Here goes: Heinz ketchup travels at .028 miles per hour.

I can only assume that’s in the passing lane in front of me with its blinker on.

If it goes any faster than that, it’s deemed unworthy of Heinz and told to take a hike -- or do whatever fast ketchup does when it’s asked to depart the ketchup plant.

This is what I call a brain barnacle. A power sprayer couldn’t now nudge the nugget off my noodle.

I’ll remember ketchup is slower than slugs (.03 mph) long after I’ve forgotten birthdays, anniversaries and any obligations to people foolish enough to have lent me loot.

We in Western Pennsylvania have a visceral kinship to heirloom Heinz. It’s in our blood which, given the dynamics of the condiment, may explain why Pittsburgh still seems 25 years behind hip places like Nashville and Austin.

I guess I bring this up now because my wife and I witnessed Dave the bar owner orchestrate what’s always seemed like sexual intercourse between two identical bottles of Heinz Ketchup.

It was lunch last week and Val and I were sitting at the bar watching “The Price Is Right” Showcase when Dave began distracting us by carefully mating two bottles together in what I guess was some sort of missionary position. Or maybe that description’s misleading.

Perhaps it would be more accurate to call it Heinz 69.

It was like watching one of those nature programs where they show a mare being artificially inseminated.

The top bottle was mounted upside down above the recipient. There’s even an implement conceived for the job. Identical saddles link the two to ensure a successful coupling.

It’s a little white plastic thingy. Dave told us its name, but it didn’t stick. I know it wasn’t something catchy like “The Ketchup Ketchdown!”

The bottom saddle has a little two-inch wiggle post that goes up into the opening of the upper bottle to allow Dave to give natural gravity a poking assist.

Can you see why I was thinking sex not Showcase?

Like any busy restaurant owner, it’s something Dave’s probably done a thousand times, but I was disappointed at how clinically he went about it.

There were no introductions. No coaxing. No romance.

It’s this kind of deep thinking that convinces me I should have become a Heinz Ketchup timer.

It’d give me a lot of time to encourage ketchup it’s in its best interest to just slow down and take it easy, words of wisdom I frequently share with people I see spanking ketchup bottoms with a ferocity that would get them tossed in jail if they ever tried it with their moronic children.

I’d like to be the guy there with a stop watch scolding ketchup that’s racing along at 1 mph, “Whoa, man! What do you think you are, salsa?”

Like so many of the political leaders I admire, Heinz Ketchup is tolerant of same sex relationships and intolerant of Type A personalities who’d use shifty means to race ahead of the rest of us.

It’s the only condiment I’d vote for it if only it would let me.

Alas, Heinz Ketchup will never run.



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