One of the things I like to keep track of in this space is the constant erosion of Americana. Is that a dramatic enough sentence to get your attention? What I’m saying is, I’m afraid a lot of things are getting worse and I’m also afraid that I have officially crossed over into, “They don’t make things like they used to,” territory. Of course, I’m more qualified to point these issues out in some areas over others. Essentially, anything trivial, or frozen dessert related rests right in my sweet spot. Which brings me to the “new” Nestle Toll House Chipwich (not a trademark chipwich, but that’s what I’m calling it).
The Toll House Chipwich was always the cleanup hitter in Wawa’s freezer. It had the price tag to match. Sure, it wasn’t a REAL Chipwich. No chocolate option, no mini chocolate chips around the edges, but what the Toll House Chipwich brought to the table was an actual GOOD COOKIE. It didn’t taste like something that had been in a freezer for a decade. It was worth the money. But, it was also an extravagance at approximately 3,400 calories. It had been a while since I had one, they can turn into a bit of a shark/blood in the water thing for me, and so when I saw on the wrapper the other day that they were now, “Chipp-ier” or something, I had to try it out. WELL, the cookie may have had more chips, but overall the product wasn’t quite right. Now, I’m afraid to have another one. Was this just a rogue Chipwich? Because if they take the Toll House Chipwich away from me, I’m not sure I’m prepared to go on. I’ll channel my concern into the mailbag…
Q: If you only eat Swedish Fish are you a pescetarian? Goldie Fish, Augusta, GA.
I don’t know if you are a pescetarian, but you surely are a visionary. I’m trying to remember when I became aware that being a vegetarian was A THING. Back in the 80s, you didn’t see a lot of veggie options on the menu. I probably saw a “veggie burger” listed somewhere, or came across tofu for the first time, made a gagging noise and then got on with my life. But the vegetarians have risen up—to the point where you can’t fit them all into one category. Don’t you dare call someone vegetarian if they are VEGAN. They will meat is murder you. I’m sure there are many other classifications that I know nothing about. There are rules for fish, eggs, milks, cheeses, if a f*cking bee landed on an apple some people might not eat it—too complicated for me. But, great job with your conviction. I bet if you could sustain yourself off Swedish Fish alone that someone would certainly try that diet. Swedish Fish are great, but sometimes I feel like a Swedish Fish sell out, because I used to eat the small RED ONLY fish, but now I’ve been wooed by the large size, and the flavor varieties. It’s so rewarding to get a package of fresh Swedish Fish. I call them “freshies,” because I have a way with words. So soft and delicious.
Q: About a month ago I saw a preview for a movie called, “The Purge.” I didn’t digest everything, but I think the idea was that for a 12-hour window, you could do anything with no consequences. I want to keep this light, so assuming there was no punishment, do you think you would engage in any non-violent crimes during,”The Purge.” Al B. Looting, Chicago, IL.
A: I’m sure I would, or I’d at least be tempted. Some people might be rushing off to burn down the house of their sworn enemy, OR WORSE, but I’d probably have more modest goals. I might go to a public park and HIT GOLF BALLS for example. Maybe let the dog off the leash? I might see if I could find a pair of metal golf spikes and stroll over to Merion–WITH MY CELL PHONE. Things would get pretty wild. But, the more I think about it, the more I realize I’d probably do nothing except lock myself down in isolation. So, I couldn’t be arrested for stealing, or for breaking the law, but the person whose property I’m stealing also couldn’t be arrested for protecting their stuff in any way they saw fit. Maybe you want to help yourself to a free fountain soda at Wawa, but what if the manager of that Wawa can get to a pretty dark place? Choose the wrong Wawa and things get real dicey. Just thinking about this question shows why it could never happen. A little structure, a rational fear of consequence is really all that separates us from the animals. And, speaking of that, maybe just watch your dog for about an hour and you’d get an idea of how humans would act during the Purge.
Q: Have you seen the Pop-Tart Mobile? It has Pop-Tarts sticking out of the roof. Would you ever drive around in something like this, and which product would you choose? Oscar Meyer Weinermobile, Mobile, AL.
A: I have not seen the Pop-Tart mobile with my own eyes and the picture you see above is the best I could find during an exhaustive, 45-second, Google search. That appears to be more of a truck pulling a toaster trailer, which I assume is at least as obnoxious and humiliating as driving around a full-on Pop-Tart mobile. I do see this type of advertising on occasion, and I wonder if the vehicle is just for special corporate events, or if someone is on the payroll to drive it around at all times. What would you pay someone to do that for you? It can’t be much more than the use of the car. But, would I drive around in something like this? Probably not. I’m really no fun at all. I wouldn’t want to draw the attention to myself. If I had to do it, it would need to be a product I supported through and through. I have lovingly gazed at Sierra Nevada delivery trucks, but I think I’m more drawn in by the logo than the actual truck itself. Maybe I’d drive for Heinz ketchup? A nice red, ketchup bottle shaped SUV with a “57” on the side? I could probably get used to that, plus I’d have an instant ice-breaker in case I ever came across someone driving a french fry.
Q: Did you know Oakley made Asian-Fit Sunglasses? Obviously I am for Asians getting to wear sunglasses that fit them, but is this what they should be called? Sam Shade, Miami, FL.
A: So, you’re asking me, is Asian-Fit the preferred nomenclature? First, I’ll say I was not aware of Asian-Fit glasses. I know absolutely nothing about sunglasses. I think they’re all UNISEX, but other than that, I couldn’t tell you the first thing. Polarized? Great. No clue what that means. So, getting back to Asian-Fit. I think there are probably more qualified people to answer this question than me, but I’ll give it a shot. To me, the question: Is calling something what it is more offensive than coming up with a euphemism. For example, if you’ve ever shopped for pants, you’ve probably seen “relaxed fit.” Essentially, what the people AT DOCKERS are saying is, “ATTENTION: MAN WITH CHUBBY THIGHS.” They are making pants for large people, but calling someone “fat,” is offensive, so they can’t be “fat fit.” They must be “relaxed fit.” But, as far as I know, calling someone Asian is not offensive. It brings to mind the classic Office episode where Michael says, “Don’t say Mexican, that’s offensive.” People are not only overly PC conscious, but they don’t know what they are talking about, don’t know what is, or could be offensive. So, I think Asian-Fit is a fine name, assuming they don’t change their other styles to “Normal, White Person-Fit.”
Q: Do the employee must wash hands signs in restaurant bathroom make you nervous? I mean, do you want to be eating at a place where the staff need this kind of reminder? Jim Ophobe, Frazer, PA.
A: Are these signs mandatory? I don’t think they are. I feel like I’ve been to restaurants, both very nice and very sketchy that have no sign posted in the restroom. I assume the sign is to provide some type of false sense of security. Oh hey, your seat cushion floats, so if you by chance survive this plane hitting the water at a few hundred MPH and can doggy paddle through the debris and waves and find a seat cushion–YOU’RE GOLDEN. So, you walk into the bathroom and you think, surely no one would dare ignore a sign. I don’t really have too much time to worry about the cleanliness of restaurant kitchens. I’m sure I’ve eaten some nasty stuff. Here I am, living to tell the tale. I also think that for the most part, kitchen workers have clean hands. It’s just like most servers won’t take your credit card and steal your identity. And you know what, depending on the restaurant, the bathroom really has no impact on my experience. If I’m in some hole-in-the-wall dive, I almost expect the bathroom to be a disaster. It’s a decision you make before you even walk in the door. I’m reminded of Il Primo’s, the jewel of Paoli. That place was a total sh*tshow. The bathrooms? Right in line. But that didn’t mean you weren’t going to eat the stromboli.
Q: Sunday at the Traveler’s (Travelers?) Championship, Bubba Watson had a little fit at his caddy and it sounded like he blamed him for hitting a ball in the water late in the round. What’s your best example of blaming someone else for your own sporting demise?
A: Bubba lost a lot of fans on Sunday I would guess. He’s lucky he pulled this at a low profile event. He was right back to his normal self on Twitter after the incident, but the damage had already been done. For all the heat Phil takes about being “fake,” you’d never see him do something like this, first and foremost because I don’t think he’d ever blame Bones for a shot–no matter the circumstances. It is a childish thing to do, and so I’ve going to have to go back to my illustrious junior golfing career to find a prime example of me taking NO RESPONSIBILITY for my own implosion. I’m going to ballpark my age at 11. It was, I believe, the under 12 club championship also known as the 893rd most prestigious event in PA amateur golf. 18 hole, stroke play grudge match. After nine holes I was miles ahead. Carefree. My closest competition was struggling so much they were concerned about running out of golf balls. TRUE STORY. I started to unravel around 13 and then on then on the 14th hole I got into a bunker and couldn’t get out. As someone who now has an over-inflated opinion of their own bunker game, I don’t know what the hell my problem was. So, round about slash #3 or #4, I’m in full panic mode and ask if I can “take an 8.” We had this thing where you were supposed to stop at double par to keep things moving along (it may have been 10), but this was for regular play, not a match. The kid I was playing with did what most kids would have done, they said, go ahead–who cares? And, it probably didn’t matter, because at that point my lead was gone and I was a mess, but an adult monitoring the event saw me pick up and came to administer a penalty, make me finish the hole out, etc. At this point I started in with the whole, “He said I could take an 8,” routine. I don’t remember what I ended up with on the hole. It could have been a baker’s dozen. There was no dramatic comeback on the last four holes. I lost, fairly and convincingly. I think I learned my lesson pretty quickly, though. By the time my father picked me up and asked me what had gone wrong, I pleaded ignorance instead of pointing at the kid who took pity on my sand game.