Commentary 24 May 2012 10:05 am
I wouldn’t read this while eating. Just sayin’.
Why is Ryan Hart of Jackson, Mich., smiling in a recent photo in The Christian Science Monitor?
Maybe because he’d recently eaten part of a finger in a sandwich at a fast-food restaurant.
According to published reports, Hart’s mother had taken the 14-year-old and his brother to the drive-thru of a well-known restaurant chain. I’m not naming it, but chances are good you know which one already; it’s been all over the news. A few minutes later, Hart spit out a 1-inch-long section of finger. (He must have ordered the knuckle sandwich.)
According to the chain, an employee severed her finger in the meat slicer and stumbled off for medical treatment without informing her co-workers, who continued serving food until they found out what happened. Once they learned of her accident, they shut down production and cleaned and sanitized the equipment.
I don’t know about young master Hart, but at the age of 14 I would have loved to find a finger in my food. Mostly because I had spent many of my formative years as a food gross-out artist whose shenanigans wowed the primary-school set at Washington Elementary.
My favorite act involved squares of Jell-O, which I would purposely drop on the floor and then eat, to the dismay of my ardent admirers (both of them). Sometimes, when the performance bug had really bitten me, I would lick the fuzzballs and lint off the gelatin first, as a warm-up to the big act.
Another cherished performance from my illustrious past was storing all my half-eaten lunches in my locker from fall until early spring, when my second-grade teacher, likely alerted by the odor of mouldering sandwiches (”I love the smell of bologna in the morning”), made me clean out dozens upon dozens of brown bags while the rest of the class looked on in horror and — dare I say it? — grudging admiration.
These are just some of the reasons why I didn’t have a date until I was 18, and even then only with a very religious girl who considered dinner and a movie with me as atonement for some sin or another. (We shook hands when it was over, if that’s any indication of how successful I was in the Casanova role.)
But my nauseating proclivities with food aren’t the only reason why I would have been excited to find a finger in my sandwich at age 14. Another is that, even at this tender age, I knew the meaning of easy money. Let’s face it, nothing says “big fat settlement” like an ironclad case of finger food.
Mama Hart has already been in contact with a lawyer, according to the news agencies, which is probably the understatement of the year. Likely, ambulance chasers are lined up outside her door like hopefuls on “America’s Got Talent,” each one promising a bigger payout if she’ll only sign on the dotted line.
Granted, masticating through part of a finger is a hard way to make a living, but if you do it right, you only have to do it once. If the kid gets a few million for pain, suffering and emotional trauma — not to mention the health hazards of blood as a condiment — he won’t have to worry about paying for college, his first Ferrari, his home in the Hamptons, or even the minor annoyance of, you know, working for a living. That’s worth a tetanus shot and some antibiotics any day.
He should have that damn finger stuffed and mounted on his mantel, with an inscription underneath that says, “I owe it all to you, un-fickle finger of fate.”
Getting your order served hot and fast in the drive-thru is nice. Using it as a stepping stone out of the 99 percent and into the 1?
Now that’s what I call “good mood food.”
@cschillig on Twitter
Originally published on May 24, 2012, in The Alliance Review.