Hofstadter’s Law and My Dried Grapes from 1988 by Chris Sotraidis

I never thought I would plead for nuisances in a logic system. All machines are inevitably built with latency from entrance to exit. I accept that I will not receive my hamburger right when I order it, and the waiting period becomes a ritualistic capsule of self-reflection. Nobody gets the hamburger immediately. I’d imagine most people just think about the food as they’re waiting. Talk about dull. The cashier hands me a stackable numbered plastic triangle and I find a place to park my delightful rear-end. But not always; sometimes they just make you stand there covered in apple fritters and guilt. My favorite is when multiple people are waiting, and everyone assumes a different, very temporary occupation. Our perception might as well be in slow-motion. A slow-motion ketchup dispension. A slow-motion fetching of the napkins. A slow-motion upchuck of said ketchup. Febreze instead of proper cleaner.

The chairs in fast-food restaurants are always wobbly. The cleanliness is a facade. The employees don’t want to be there. Ideally, nobody wants to be there. If I could materialize a Hardee’s Thickburger at my house, that place would be out of business fast. I’m unsure of what would happen to my body. Sometimes I fantasize about becoming obese, but I never act on it. Everything about the fast-food experience is so utterly spurious, and that somehow makes it even more fantastic. If I wanted to eat an uncooked onion in the dark, I would have stayed home. Everyone I’ve ever talked to has said to “keep onions on a lowly shelf”, which is precisely why I choose to refrigerate mine. I’m not about to play around with potatoes in the freezer, but onions are totally fine in the fridge. When you pull them out, they’re crispy and cold. Like apples.

Hardee’s doesn’t pretend to care about anything, and that’s why I like it. They know the target audience: people who have lost hope. Every 3 months Hardee’s gets a new special Thickburger, and every 3 months I go to Hardee’s to try it. The last 6 months have been relatively lackluster. In March of 2013, Hardee’s announced the Jim Beam Bourbon Thickburger. In March of 2013, I fell in love. I got my friends to try it. They loved it. I loved it. Everything in my life seemed perfect.

There was a major obstacle in the way of eating myself to death: money. Luckily, Hardee’s offers coupons every month via the newspaper and crier. At first, my own newspaper sufficed for my coupon needs, but I was a hungry bastard. Soon I was digging through the neighbor’s trash, and getting so desperate as to actually ask mild acquaintances if they had a copy of the latest paper.
ME – “Do you have it?”
CITIZEN – “What?”
ME – “The newspaper from last week.”
CITIZEN – “I think I still have it at home…why?”
ME – “Hardee’s has this special coupon offer and I’m addicted to the Jim Beam Bourbon                          Thickburgers.”
CITIZEN – “I guess I can bring it to next week’s cricket meeting. Is monday cool?”
ME – “No, that’s not going to work. I need one tonight. You need to give me your address.”
CITIZEN – “Oh, shit Chris. You’re serious?”
ME – “Did you drive here?”
CITIZEN – “Yes.”
ME – “Take me to your house so we can get the coupons.”

Fast forward a week. I wake up covered in thickburger bits. I walk into the kitchen, as well as a familiar smell. The sewer line in my basement is clogged, which consequently causes my furnace to shut off. I check the fuse box. I reset fuse #9, the furnace. As rapidly as I flick the fuse switch, I hear a voice, a tenor singing voice, coming from my flooded basement. I rush over and fling open the large wooden cellar door.

ME – “Who’s there?”
“F. F. Strings, my #1 humanoid! From the 1988 Hardee’s California Raisins limited edition PVC   figurine set!”
ME – “My goodness, you’ve grown! What news of Carl Jr.?”
F.F. Strings – “He wants you to work quicker. We can’t assemble the team before Christmas Eve                                     if it takes you two weeks recompile a single California Raisins character through                                  the sewer-line system.
ME – “I just need more coupons. That’s all I need! Tell him to send me more coupons!”
F.F. Strings – “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s law. And coupons.”

Chris Sotraidis author is fraud, who doesn’t really understand physics or how polyvinyl chloride is mass produced.

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