Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Esophageal dysphagia ...

... is, as most of you know, a swallowing disorder.

There are a number of companies that create foods for people with the condition.  A variety of flavors, some alarming, in the consistency of somewhere between pudding and oatmeal.  Years ago, one such company was my client.

Dutifully I tried the various products.  PB&J was pretty good.  Beef stew was okay.  Tuna fish sandwich was where I drew the line.

Add now to this, dear friends, Cobb salad from the Cheesecake Factory.

I say this because I had the opportunity to eat at the Cheesecake Factory the other night.  You may have one in a mall near you, or you may have heard of it because Penny, the thinking man's cutie on The Big Bang Theory, works at one.  Just for the record, the Cheesecake Factory they depict on the show doesn't begin to match the grandeur of the actual thing.

Anyway, there I sat with a friend as the waitress lay the salad before me.  A Cobb salad should be a thing of terrible beauty (just like Ty Cobb, its namesake); a fierce, roiling sea of chunks of chicken, bacon, crumbled blue cheese, avocado, hard-boiled egg, lettuce and some other stuff.  Mmmmm.  I like mine with a mixture of vinaigrette and blue cheese dressing.

What they gave me at the CF appeared to have been run through a food processor.  Not once but twice, then sort of squirted on the plate, on what appeared to be a layer of puree'd hard boiled eggs.  I swear to God, an ounce of liquid and the thing would have been soup.  Chewing was hardly necessary.  I'm disinclined to order another (although the stuff my friend was eating looked okay).

Which is not to say that all food in malls is bad.  Somewhat unusually, I ate a meal in a mall two straight days.  First the CF.  Second Johnnie Rockets.  And I like Johnnie Rockets.  I like the fact that you can get a fried egg on top of your burger.  Which is a nice, straightforward presentation of a fast-food, griddle-cooked burger with relish, onion, lettuce, and tomato.  Fries on the side.  Egg on top.  Vanilla shake.

Life is good.

The reason I wax so rhapsodic is that one of my basic food groups in college was the Gusburger.    Urban Dictionary, of all things, offers this:

A burger with a fried egg put on as a topping. Made best at the White Spot in Charlottesville, Va. Very good, very greasy.
"Oh Man, i just had a gus Burger and now i am completely full

Me?  I don't understand why they don't capitalize Gus.  Also I'm not sure if it's one word or two. My gut says one. But let me tell you, in my younger days it was a hell of a good thing.  I liked it with a side of macaroni salad and a glass of milk.

The Gusburger they currently serve is so vastly inferior to what I used to eat that I've stopped going to the White Spot on my trips to Charlottesville.  I, likely unfairly, attribute this to the inverse stupidification of the University of Virginia.

Inverse stupidification?  Odd phrase.
You're not familiar?
It's an academic term.  It refers to the phenomenon of diminishing the quality of a University by insisting on accepting only really smart kids.
Like Duke?
(gasp)  Thank God we haven't gotten to that point.  Duke's problems are significantly more daunting than just inverse stupidification.
But still, the point holds.
To a degree.  I liken it more to physicians.
Yeah.  People who got into med school, the obvious route to becoming a doctor, were typically the ones who jammed their heads into a science book at age 16 and didn't come out for ten years.  
So you end up with a lot of highly-trained, high-functioning idiots; retards (although I dislike that word, and myself for using it) in positions of significant power.
And (I promise you this as someone who has seen it from the inside) since the pharmaceutical and insurance companies are really in charge of medicine in the United States, maybe it would have been a better idea to let some of the better-rounded kids get to be doctors.
Send the really smart kids to Goldman Sachs.
Exactly.  How much trouble can they get into there?

The point being, friends, that if they still let normal kids into UVa, there would be an uprising against what they now call a Gusburger that would rival the scene in front of Dr. Frankenstein's castle.  Back in the day.

In the skies above the Rotunda, a witch would write "Surrender Dorothy."

It would literally be that intense.


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