Of Masks and Gas -or- Two Tired Men and a Happy Drill Sergeant: An Army Tale

I shared an Army story with some guys at work the other day. They all seemed to find it rather hilarious, so I thought I’d share it here also. It may not be so impactful in this medium as it will be lacking my physical recreations of certain instances within the tale and certain vocalizations that may be necessary for complete understanding, but I will do my very best to paint verbal pictures.

If you’ve never been to Army basic training, you may not know that your last major exercise before graduation is to road-march, loaded down with many types of cumbersome gear, to a extremely secluded location (in the case of myself and my battle buddies, in the dead of winter), where you must then dig a hole deep enough to stand in, fill sandbags to make a roof and live in your hole with another soldier for a few days, keeping your eyes peeled for “the enemy”.

We were in South Carolina. I never saw the enemy in human form, however if I had been able to shoot the cold I’d have put three rounds center mass in a heart beat.

Allow me to digress for a moment before I continue. Upon arrival at basic training we were all assigned a “Battle Buddy”. We were required to be accompanied by a battle buddy wherever we went and our assigned battle buddy was our partner when it came to tasks that required pairing off. Your battle’s mistakes were your mistakes and vice versa. If your battle incurred the wrath of a Drill Sergeant, by gar, you incurred it too by association.

My battle buddy and I were two very different people from very different backgrounds. I was a scrawny back woods white boy. My battle was a rather large big city black guy. He used words I had never heard before and couldn’t begin to interpret. I’m sure the same was true for him. He talked about bling and ‘Pac and something he called The Shy, which I later learned referred to Chicago. I talked about the rabbit skin underwear I once tried to make and how the Wal-Mart in my hometown should be open 24 hours a day by the time I got back home. There were many times when one of us looked at the other as though he were crazy. And we got each other in trouble a lot. Where I would defer to the Drill Sergeants, he would rebel. Not in any serious way, though. He had a very strong personality and wouldn’t stand by and take what was being thrown at him without putting his opinion out there. It isn’t a bad quality for a soldier to have, but it made for some rough days. In retaliation, I’d passive-aggressively not tell him when he had his helmet on backward. We would both push for each other’s transgressions, but it was worth it. I would laugh on the inside as my body tried to convince my brain it was dying.

I don’t want to imply that we were mean to each other or held grudges. We simply reacted in our own ways under stress. We actually worked together rather well when the situation called for teamwork.

The single exception to that, and the exception that seemed to cement our relationship even so late in the game, happened on our second day living in the hole we’d dug in the South Carolina sand. We had just been reprimanded because we had been caught not looking out for the non-existent enemy. We were cold and tired and hungry and ready to sleep in a bed again. As we stood berating the Drill Sergeant that had just berated us, my eyes beheld an alarming sight.

A few holes over I saw another Drill Sergeant. He had his campaign hat off and the whiteness of his bald head stood out starkly against the black straps of the protective mask (the Army insists it isn’t a gas mask), stretched tight against his scalp. A few wisps of steam wafted from up from his head and he had what appeared to be a pest controller’s industrial pesticide sprayer in his hands. As he walked, he danced to a beat only he could hear, obviously enjoying himself. As he drew closer, I began to see the fog his sprayer emitted and I decided to go ahead and mask up. After I was all cleared and sealed, I glanced at my battle and he had that “you’re crazy” look on his face. I pointed at the approaching Drill Sergeant and said “You should put your mask on.”

“Nah”, he said, “They ain’t…” and then, mid-sentence, his speech devolved into what I can only verbally describe as a mass of moist burblings broken by intermittent coughs that, at one point, became quite severe. He scrambled for his mask and then scrambled to clear it. When he was finally successful he spent a few more moments coughing into the mask. As his noises of distress finally subsided, my own mirthfulness began to emerge. I laughed so hard I fell over. I was so tired, and needed the humor so much, that I didn’t pause to consider the fact that my battle could’ve broken me in half had he wanted to.

Thankfully he didn’t.

He laughed too and there was silence after we regained our composure. “I wanted you to help me.” he said.

“I did!” I exclaimed self-righteously, “I told you to put your mask on!”

As we parted ways after graduation my battle admonished me to “Hold it down, battle.” I still don’t know what he meant, but I think I know what he wanted to convey.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…take care of you “Battle Buddies”. You might need them one day.

A don’t…be afraid to laugh at their misfortune. If they’re truly you’re battle, they’ll understand.

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Sub-zero Salivations: A Tale of a Winter Dinner Gone Horribly Wrong

Last night my wife and I decided to brave a modern ice age with the children and go to dinner. Since it is winter, I doubt that this comment is quite cryptic, but allow me to set the stage a little, anyway.

We’ve had quite the cold snap where I live. I’m used to strange weather. Sometimes we have these weird ice storms that bring down trees and power lines, but it’s been a few years since anything like that has happened. This past week, though, the temperatures have been below freezing every day and this is unusual. It is an adjustment, to be sure. We are taking extra precautions to prevent our pipes freezing and bursting and, so far at least, we’ve been successful.

Not so for others in our community. I went to pick up my kids from their mom’s last night and some of the pipes in her apartment complex had burst. The apartments across the breezeway from hers were leaking water out from under the doors. This morning on the way to work I was slowed down by a blocked lane. Apparently a water main had burst and they were hard at work trying to fix it.

Back to last night. As we drove toward the popular fast food chain we had chosen to visit we passed a small motel whose North wall was covered in a sheet of ice. There was a veritable glacier that stretched about a quarter-mile down the street from the motel. I admit my sense of humor is bizarre. The car wasn’t quite warm yet and I nearly froze my lungs laughing in the frigid air. I apologize for laughing at the misfortune of others. It wasn’t their struggle that made me laugh, it was just the idea that the building had given up and vomited a mass of ice, as if the building were experiencing some sort of death throe.

After I survived my ill-timed fit of humor, we arrived at the “restaurant” and shivered our way to the front counter. I didn’t warm up the whole time we were there. There was a huge sign in the dining room boasting of the beef that’s never been frozen. They need to change that, at least until it warms up a little. I think it should say something like “Our beef is never frozen, but if you don’t eat it fast enough, you may make liars of us.”  Some of the food froze in my belly after I’d eaten it. Every time someone opened the door, icicles fell out of my nose. I had to return my food and ask for the low sodium option because all the added salt of so much snot dripping into my food was overwhelming.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…take small chances with the weather. You could go crazy if you stay cooped up too long.

A don’t…forget the tissues if you decide to eat in a glass room in sub-zero temperatures. There could be unpleasant  consequences indeed.

An Antique Man Quite Possibly Beating a Dead Horse (Not to Imply That He’d Beat Live Horses); A Parable on the Follies of Relying Solely on Automation

I have posted much along the lines of being fond of antiquity lately. After this post I’ll take a break and post on something else, but I had an experience yesterday that reinforces my yearnings for less electronic times.

Disclaimer: The following parable is a parable only in the poetic sense, as it is a recounting of actual events.

I had the chance to sleep in yesterday, but since my wife and I had plans for a minor road trip after she got off work, I awoke with her. I took her to work and then took her van to the Wal-mart because it was overdue for an oil change. After shambling about, stepping in to Subway for a sandwich and soda, shambling more, then doing a little shopping (all of which took about two hours) they called my name over the P.A. only to inform me upon my arrival at the Tire and Lube Express counter that my battery tested bad. I of course requested a replacement. — It was only barely above 20 degrees yesterday where I live and we planned to drive an hour and a half so we could watch Star Wars in a theater that has mini La-Z-Boy style recliners. I didn’t want to freeze to death on the side of the highway awaiting roadside assistance personnel. — The attendant told me that for them to install it I’d have to wait another 45 minutes.

I couldn’t do it. I’m not a big shopper. I’d already waited all there was in me to wait. Plus I sometimes feel ridiculous paying someone to do something I could easily do myself. “I’ll take that home and install it there.” I said with a smile. I paid, shivered my way to the car, and went home convinced that I’d have the new battery installed well before my wife got off work.

I noticed a sticker on the battery that decried its abundance of cold cranking amps. I now possess an equal or greater number of cold aching cramps. Let me explain:

I hadn’t realized the extent to which car manufacturers have decreased the size of engine compartments while also cramming them full of stuff I don’t know the purpose of. The last time I had to install a new battery it was on a 2002 Tahoe. Piece of cake.

Not so with the 2012 Quest. After several breaks to search my son’s room for the tools I needed (he’s convinced his “work” requires my tools. His plastic ones aren’t good enough, even though I’ve confided in him that mine are barely any sturdier.) I successfully removed what felt like everything but the transmission and brake pads and finally the battery lay exposed before me. Its posts lay interred beneath mountains of blue-green corrosion. As I began to exhume them so I could get to the nuts I needed to loosen, I noticed that, like the new battery, the old one had no handle. I then noticed that there was so much stuff I couldn’t remove surrounding the battery that I’d barely have room to fit my hands in around it to lift it out.

It turns out there was enough room for my hands, just not quite enough for the skin covering them too. I scraped most of it off on the various corners and blades that the sadistic manufacturer had permanently installed around the battery. This had unforeseen benefits, however. I’ve never been able to work with gloves on. After about fifteen minutes holding cold tools in 20 degree weather, my fingers were quite numb. Not only did I not feel my skin being sheared by the sharp parts of the car, the blood rushing to the gouges and gashes brought a pleasing warmth into my fingers.

After several false starts and near successes, the battery banging around in its nest caused the tools, nuts, bolts and other detritus accumulated on various flat surfaces near the work space to fall to the driveway. Most rolled under the car. After finally freeing the battery, I held it for a moment before being overcome with rage. I began to run with it, but it was heavy. I ran hunched over with the battery in my hands which dangled between my bent knees. It swung to and fro and my knuckles were inches from the ground, victims of the effect of gravity upon the load they held. I don’t doubt that I quite resembled a chimpanzee. When I’d run as far as I could (which wasn’t far), I flung the battery as far as I could (which wasn’t far), and kicked it as hard as I could (which, thankfully, wasn’t hard). My foot was cold and despite my weak kick my foot felt as though I’d kicked a cinderblock barefoot.

I limped to the back of the car and attempted to lift the hatch. This is where the reliance on electricity comes in. Without a battery installed, the hatch wouldn’t open. The car wasn’t locked, but there is no latch, just a button. I searched and prodded and poked. No latch. Surely, I thought, there’ll be some sort of manual override on the inside. I slid into the driver’s seat, contorted my body until my legs were past the center console, climbed over the console separating the second row seats, knelt on the third row bench and again searched for a non-existent latch. Resigned to my fate and cursing technology, I hoisted the battery, handle-less mind you, over the seat, over both consoles, hugged it to my chest to clear the steering wheel, and somehow refrained from throwing that one also.

I scraped off what little flesh I had left on my hands seating that battery properly, although there is one piece of my wife’s car that will never be re-installed. Please remain silent should you ever meet her. It is a non-essential piece.

My tailbone hurts when I breathe and my hands ache when I use them or simply remember they are attached to my wrists.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…do for yourself whatever you are able to. It’s important to learn and grow.

A don’t…feel guilty for cursing technology. It is a curse with benefits, but a curse all the same.

An Offensive Gift, A False Scripture and a Moose; A Christmas at Work Worth Forgetting

Merry Christmas.

With holiday sentiments safely out of the way, let me tell you about a Christmas present I got at work. Rather, let me be vague about it and assure you that it was offensive. It was good naturedly offensive and I took no real offense at it. But I wanted to convey that I had been off put. Since I’m not saying much about the gift itself, I’ll go on at length about my response to the gift.

My response involved the fabrication of scripture. I understand that some may find this blasphemous (although I mean no disrespect to true scripture), and some may be offended merely by the mention of scriptures, religion or Jesus. If you are offended by such things, consider yourself forewarned that you may disregard this post as you see fit and hold me blameless.

Having performed my due diligence, and assuming you are still reading, I present below the full text of my response to the offensive gift:

Dear Sekrit Santuh (this is how the attached card was signed),

Thank you so much for the gift! I found it to be rather offensive. As I assume this was your intent, I applaud you on a job well done.

It wasn’t offensive in the way you might imagine, however. You see, I do not believe in Santuh. Neither do I celebrate the holiday he is associated with. I celebrate the holiday that inspired Christmas, which was originally called the Festival of Christ’s Moose.

This special day was set aside to commemorate the year that Jesus, upon his birthday, took leave of the Holy Lands and rode a moose to Anchorage. As he rode, a multitude of Inuits and Eskimos began following him saying, “Savior, teach us and lead us to salvation.” And Jesus, having pity on them, dismounted his moose and began to preach to them saying, “Blessed are the cold in heart, for they shall find warmth.”  And as he was preaching, the multitude began to grumble against him saying, “We hunger.”

And as they were grumbling, a thunderous noise was heard in the East and from behind a sparse copse of evergreen trees emerged a large, white man-like creature that walkethed upon two legs. And as the multitude hungered and cowered, the creature roared and it did beat upon its chest and did fall upon them with violent intent. And as the creature came forth to devour them, the multitude cried out to Jesus saying, “Savior, save us!”

And Jesus, having pity on them, stopped preaching and he said to his moose, “Go!” And his moose went and it plunged its antlers into the creature and killed it. And Jesus, remembering their grumbling, blessed the creature and tore it asunder and filled many baskets with the pieces and fed the multitude. And they who were once cold were filled with a warmth and it was not a physical warmth, yea, it was a warmth of the heart.

This is why most Christmas celebrations include Christmas Dinner, however, it should rightly be called Christ’s Moose’s Dinner and the main course should include Yeti steaks. Since these are very hard to come by, modern day celebrants have seen fit to do away with the truths behind the holiday and celebrate Jesus’ birth by eating turkey, a known non-cryptid.

Thanks again and may you all have a hairy Christ’s Moose.

Signature omitted

And thusly were those who offensively gifted me regaled. Much to my wife’s dismay, I also attempted to regale the children with a similar tale. They disregarded it out of hand. Smart kids.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…know that I understand the severity of creating one’s own scripture. It was a joke meant to shame my co-workers. I’ll not attempt to build a church around it or encourage others to adhere to my false tenets.

A don’t…read any truth into what I’ve concocted. The most that you can take away from it is that moose exist and it is cold in Anchorage. I’ve seen no real evidence to suggest Jesus ever even saw a moose in his Earthly incarnation.

Buffets; Finding the Clouds Behind the Silver Lining

There isn’t much worse in this world, or much better, than a buffet. Endless gobs of a variety of foods for one low price? Crazy! Let’s go right now!

Or, let’s don’t. The sign outside should read something like: Turn right in 1/4 mile to commit the sweetest of the seven deadly sins. Who can resist that? Certainly not me. I plop my money down, plop my can in a chair (after walking about a half a mile to make sure that a sampling of every offering has found a space on my plate) and eat until my knees can barely hold the added weight of two bites of every dish on the planet.

Then I face the problems of driving home without falling asleep at the wheel and laying on the couch not falling asleep.

These are all to be expected, though. It’s what a buffet is all about. You go in knowing that you aren’t going to come out feeling very good, but at least you can waddle and moan your way home, satisfied that you’ve successfully eaten both lunch and dinner in one sitting. You may have committed a sin, but you’ve also committed a savings, that of not having to spring for dinner, and the two cancel each other out.

What are the down sides though? Are there any clouds to go with this silver lining?

There are many. The first being whether or not you actually ate enough to justify the cost of the buffet. Some foods are more filling than others. Sometimes your stomach just can’t take it. Many times the food is dry and the bread is sort of hard and you just can’t cram enough awful food in your mouth to make it worth the effort. What do you do when you just can’t eat enough to feel as though you’ve made a sound financial decision?

It seems there is a simple answer to this question. Fill a few plates with food you don’t intend to eat. Don’t go crazy with it or anything, because there are complications to this plan. Just make sure that the house isn’t making good on your lack of appetite. After all, that old dried out food on the line may be their tactic to assure that they get their money’s worth at your expense. It could be some sort of culinary casino type deal. I’d say don’t fall for it, but business folk are generally a savvy ilk. If people keep loading up plates to leave on the table they’ll raise the prices. Just be careful using this tactic. Don’t ruin it for the rest of us.

Next is the problem of paying for a buffet sight unseen and then wandering the line with an empty plate wondering where all the food is. There may be plenty of offerings, steaming and getting sneezed upon by strange children who are tall enough to see what’s on display but too short for a sneeze guard to be effective. But none of these dishes may seem appetizing at all. What do you do? Eat something you don’t want simply because you’ve paid good money and there’s nothing you do want? Yes. This is the only sensible answer. Have you ever tried getting a refund at a buffet? It’s nearly impossible. And the only other options are to either analyze the stains on the shirts of those leaving as you enter or to quiz those you pass in the parking lot. Both are inaccurate, biased and make you look creepy. You’ll simply have to suck it up, grab a plate and hope there’s something on that line worth sucking up.

Then there’s the sneeze guard. Not only is it minimally effective at blocking contaminants from contacting the food, it is a disturbing commentary on our society that people are so inconsiderate that such a thing is thought necessary. Who sneezes directly at the food in a buffet line? Who was the first guy to cause someone to think that, for the health and safety of others, we need a layer of lexan above our food? I suppose it’s possible that the plastic reduces the dust that lands on the food, but I’m sure that the air in a buffet is so disturbed that dust will blow up under that thing anyway. Maybe it’s not intended to address any of these concerns at all. Maybe it’s bullet proof glass made necessary by angry lunatics who think the solution to a buffet full of dry unappetizing food is to shoot the salmon.  Or accost the apple sauce. Or hit the crème brulee (probably misspelled) with a lucky ricochet. Or shoot from the hip at the chips and the dip. Or be a literal salad shooter. Or expel a projectile from behind the turnstile at the dried out rolls under the heat lamps in a pile. I could go on, but I don’t think I will. Feel free to thank me in the comments section.

That’s all I can think of for now, but I’m sure there are many more clouds that hang over buffets. Maybe I’ll post more on it later when once again I’m struck with the urge to rant and rave.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…continue to patronize your favorite buffets. There has to be some reason for them to exist. Try to find out what it is.

A don’t…sneeze on the food unless you plan to eat it.

What Happens to Mrs. Claus?

I find Christmas tolerable. I enjoy the aspects of family togetherness and excited children. We try to teach the kids that they need to be thankful even if what they get isn’t exactly what they wanted and that getting presents isn’t the most important thing. Isn’t it strange, though, that we teach this lesson by having them give? Selflessness is certainly important, but if someone is giving, someone else must be receiving, thereby somewhat negating the message. Of course, in most cases the receiver is in a state of less fortunate-ness, but I don’t know if my kids think about it deeply enough to realize that, although we try to instill helping those in need as well. Hopefully they won’t even look at it deeply enough to realize that when they give, someone is doing something we are trying to teach them isn’t so important, which is the getting. But we try to give to getters who need to get. It’s really a mess. A paradox I can’t quite fathom or throw sufficient philosophy towards at this point in time.

Since my aforementioned state of lacking sufficient (insert your favorite philosopher’s name)-ness is apparent, I’ll move on to the actual question I hope to answer.

What happens to Mrs. Claus?

My wife and I recently watched the Santa Clause movies, as is our custom this time of year. We’ve both been watching them since they began to exist and, for some reason, it wasn’t until this year that either one of us noticed the most glaring question the first two movies pose. My wife inquired thusly:

“What happens to Mrs. Claus?”

In the first movie Santa (spoiler alert) dies and is replaced by another man. In the second, in order to remain Santa, the new Santa must abide by the Mrs. clause and find a Mrs. Claus.

Fine and dandy. That will, and did, make a movie of the Christmas type.

But neither movie ever mentions, that I noticed anyway, what happens to the other Santa’s Mrs. Claus. She had to exist for the premise of the second movie to be believable. So, what happens to her?

Did she die long ago? Did they get divorced? Is there some clause we aren’t privy to that states that a once-married Santa remains Santa after the termination, by death or divorce, of his marriage? That is possible, but seems a stretch even for a movie.

Did she die with her Santa? When Santa died in the first film, he somehow evaporated. Did his wife do the same upon his death?  My wife’s scenario purported that she was baking cookies at the time of Santa’s death and suddenly seized, falling stiff and lifeless to the floor. Then she, as her husband before her, simply became one with the atmosphere. I suppose I could live with that.

This idea, though, suggests some sort of bond that seems less than symbiotic. It reminded me of E.T.’s flower. It lives as he does, dies as he does, but does neither party any discernible good. In the Santa Clause scenario, Mr. Claus retains his status by forming the bond, but what benefit is there to the secondary relationship holder? How would that clause read?

It is necessary that the party primary to this agreement commit a matrimony upon you to retain his status as Santa. You, being less than primary yet no less necessary, at least for now, gain no benefit from this one-sided symbiosis. (I know a one-sided symbiosis is not a thing.) If the primary party should meet some sort of demise, you also are doomed. If you should die before the primary party, said primary party suffers no ill effect other than, perhaps, a bout of grief. The primary party will stifle this grief, however, by losing himself in his work and causing so much joy that he could not possibly thereafter be unhappy. Please sign below to indicate that you are certifiably insane.

The movies are good. They are light-hearted and cause me to experience laughter and a basic joyousness. But for crying out loud, what happens to Mrs. Claus.

This post is dedicated to my wife, without whose insight I’d have spent the evening conversing with her or something.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…consider the dark recesses of the happiest of holidays. It’s a little fun.

A don’t…marry Santa. What a one-sided mess of a marriage you’ll doubtless endure.

Some Restaurant Whose Name I Dare Not Remember; A Disaster in Mexican-American Fusion

Greetings!,

I wish to regale you with a tale. It isn’t a tale of hope. It isn’t even a pleasurable tale. It is instead a tale of a horrible mistake. A mistake made by a young man and his father. It may be pleasurable to you. Being detached from the actual experience, you may find it quite humorous. Read on that you may be enlightened as to your reaction.

Before I begin, I firstly disclaim that, although I tell a tale of woe, I do not seek to discredit anyone whatsoever. It is perhaps a benefit that I do not remember the name of the terrible Mexican restaurant my father and I visited. Nor do I remember the town that it was in, although the state was Oklahoma. Go figure. Ridiculous Turnpike tolls and horrible Mexican restaurants. The only good thing to come out of Oklahoma for me is my beautiful and amazing wife. Well, her and that one Toby Keith song.

My father and I once traveled to a town fairly foreign to us to tow home one of our family’s cars that had broken down on the cursed Turnpike. After hooking up the car to my pickup truck, we decided that we were hungry. We pulled, connected and carefully, into a small town gas station and inquired as to the availability of “good food” in the area. The attendant for some reason suggested the Mexican place. Perhaps it was the only restaurant in the tiny town. If so, I’m sure the inhabitants rue their future for it is one bereft of culinary class and diversity.

We traversed the tiny roads, happy for the low population and empty streets, until the route we had been given terminated in the Mexican “restaurant” whose praises had been sung (sang? No, it’s sung.) at the gas station. In retrospect we should’ve considered the source. I’m not saying that gas station attendants have no taste. All I’m saying is that the edibles offered by gas station attendants generally inspire diarrhea.

We entered the place and were shown to a table by some people who were by no means Mexican. This should have been our first clue. My father and I are, however, quite dumb. We sat down and perused the menu. After ordering drinks my father proclaimed a need to evacuate either his liquid or solid waste repositories. I can’t remember which, and it probably is irrelevant and disgusting to try and remember anyway. He requested that, should the waitress approach before his return, I order him the buffet.

As it turned out, I placed our order, two buffets, as he was still preoccupied with his evacuations. I approached the wanting self-serve bar and filled a plate. There wasn’t much to choose from. The buffet was perhaps three feet long. There was some ground beef that had dried out on the top, a pan with taco shells that had cracked down the middle and some wilted lettuce.

Attempting to avoid diarrhea, I loaded my plate with the only other thing on offer that day, jalapeno poppers. Or so I thought. I returned to the table and, before my father returned, I had time to bite into a popper and be disappointed and confused.

When dad got back to the table, the waitress was there refilling my drink. Dad requested the house made salsa and went to fill a plate. When he returned, he found on the table a bowl of ketchup with jalapenos sliced into it and cilantro sprinkled on top.

As he sat he said with a grin, “You must experience the bathroom!”. After having eaten a few “jalapeno poppers” I was only to quick to agree. Before making my exit, however, I lifted a “popper” in salute and watched as he also bit into one. His face creased, as mine had, in disappointment and confusion.

They were not, in fact, jalapeno poppers. They weren’t, in any respect, Mexican food at all. They were pigs in a blanket.

As dad sat regretting our choice, I visited the men’s room, another choice to be regretted. The toilet sat upon a raised rostrum not even large enough to support the entire base of the toilet. Sitting upon this was an experience I’ll not explain in detail. Who needs to read about that? Suffice it to say, it was scary. The sink, if sink it could be called, was so shallow that I couldn’t fit both hands under the stream of water at once.

After washing each hand individually, I returned to our table for the most horribly non-mundane culinary experience I’ve ever had.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…take risks when you eat out. Many times you’ll find a “diamond in the rough”.

A don’t…eat at a Mexican restaurant staffed by white people. Or, if you must, tread very carefully. They may take too many liberties and present you with unexpected and horrible Mexican-American fusion disasters.