The Amish: a shady bunch.

J writes via e-mail today:
In the final analysis, blogging is very much about personal growth. The irony that this personal growth is on display for everyone to read, and thus ultimately leads to even greater narcissism from someone who honestly thinks the world is a better place when it knows what he ate for lunch or cares what someone who spends an awful lot of time in a suburban basement has to say about world events, notwithstanding, blogging is very much about personal growth.

So I’ve been growing, that’s where I’ve been. And I’ve learned a couple of things since last we spoke.

First, I owe Checkers an apology. Some of you may remember a previous rant where I said, “F@$K YOU CHECKERS!!! F%&K YOU AND EVERYTHING YOU STAND FOR!!!!!!” This was uncalled for, and not because I was directing my anger at a faceless corporation operated by minimum wage slaves in the same manner that a man who is clearly compensating for the lack of control he has over his own life yells at the waitress for failing to put enough ice in his water.

No, it turns out that my mishap with Checkers was my own fault. See, fast food has made life a bit too easy for us. You used to have to read the McDonald’s menu; now it’s all pictures, and that’s just one example of the dumbing down of a restaurant experience designed to appeal to dumb people in the first place. Checkers, you see, makes you work for it. And when you do, the result is truly remarkable.

Most fast food places make it too easy. It’s a pretty safe bet that if you get the value meal, that’s the best deal. With Checkers, that’s not always the case. See, Checkers on some nights even has sales. Those spicy chicken sandwiches? They are two for $3 every other night but Wednesday, where they are two for $2. Maybe someone should mention this to the Occupy Wall Street crowd. Checkers is trying to help, but they won’t help all the time. Only Wednesdays, and you gotta remember that because it’s not clearly marked with a picture like McDonalds.

So that’s the first thing I learned—you can get a cheap chicken sandwich even cheaper if you go on a Wednesday. It’s not much, but I’ve already learned things like how to walk, how to use the toilet, how to practice a good work ethic, how to be a good husband and father and the fact that most network television is a total waste of time. In terms of my ability to learn new things, we’re clearly reaching a law of diminishing returns. So I consider the whole chicken sandwich thing to be a big step.

The second thing I learned is that you really shouldn’t trust the Amish as much as you do. And I’m using the second person “you” intentionally because my guess is when you walk down the street in the middle of the night and see an Amish man coming the other way, you don’t cross to the other side of the street. You probably breathe a sigh of relief when you turn around and see that the footsteps behind you belonged to someone wearing a single-color shirt with no buttons.

I’m suggesting maybe you should rethink that.

See, while I was gone I’ve developed a strong affection for Miller’s Twist in the Reading Terminal Market. After years, well OK maybe only months, of getting ripped off at the Auntie Anne’s Pretzel stand with their $3.59 pretzel cheese dogs, I discovered the $2.50 version at Miller’s. The pretzels are better, the cheese is real and the hot dog doesn’t taste like it was from the discard bin.

They even have milkshakes, for $3.95 (remember when Pulp Fiction had the scene about the $5 shake and everyone was like, $5 for a shake, what the heck?) and with that milkshake you get, I kid you not, A FREE PRETZEL!!!!!!

I know, I was excited too.

But the Amish can’t do everything, and there’s probably a reason why they all dress alike. Trying new things just leads to trouble, especially when your whole culture is built around the idea that we were all just fine before electricity was invented.

The other day I was there and I tried their buffalo chicken sausage pretzel. Pretty good. As exciting as the name implies.

So today I went back for another one, they were only $3.50 after all.

And they didn’t sell them.

I know what you’re thinking. The Amish are a bunch of closet crack dealers who know how to keep addicts coming back for more, and if I go back the next day there will be a buffalo chicken sausage pretzel with my name on it. Maybe. But I’m not sure I’m going back.

Because in place of the buffalo chicken sausage pretzels there was…a broccoli rabe sausage pretzel. Ugh.

The Amish, they got cocky. I guess we all did. We let the success of combining chocolate and peanut butter go to our heads. When we decided to drink the liquid that was coming out of that big bulging flesh in the cow’s crotch and we didn’t die of it, we thought we could do anything.

But there are still things that shouldn’t be done, and a broccoli rabe sausage is one of them.

So I’m not sure I’ll be going back.

What did I learn from this? That everything in the movies is true.


No, seriously. Remember that movie from the 1980s where Harrison Ford goes to live with the Amish family and we get to see Kelly Preston’s boobs? This was before the Internet so that was kind of a big deal, or at least it was for a teenage boy whose only previous experience was National Geographic and the breast exam article in World Book Encyclopedia. Those were simpler times.

Anyway, the message of that movie was that the Amish were not to be trusted. Or maybe it was the cops who were dirty? I honestly don’t remember, but I’ll bet you Kelly Preston never tried to give Harrison Ford a broccoli rabe sausage.

I’m just saying.

Now who wants pie?

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