An individual exhibiting such uniqueness or individuality that he or she will cause a roomful of bar cronies to exclaim, "That's one interesting motherfucker!" Actual sexual relations with one's mother are not required.
I used to eat hamburgers everyday. One day I'd go to McDonalds, pick up a Quarter Pounder With Cheese and the next day I'd go to Wendy's and pick up a Wendy's Double. So what would I do on the day after that to provide a little variety? ("Variety"? Whattya you - Some kinda Multicultural sodomite-bottom-bite?) That day, I'd go right back to McDonalds and - Just to show what a diversity appreciatin' guy I really am - pick up a Big Mac instead of a Quarter Pounder With Cheese. Maybe not that big a change from the usual routine but when your butt's as stuck in a rut as mine was, that's as radical as buying a coupla salsa records and sitting around pretending to enjoy them. Then, overcome by the same spirit of experimentation that in weaker spirits leads to dreadlocks, tattoos, and body piercing, the next-next day I'd go to Wendy's intending to just go completely nuts, throw caution to the wind, and get one of them crazy chicken sandwiches I hear the beatniks up in Greenwich Village have been dabbling in. But then at the last minute when the loudspeaker would squawk "Welcome to Wendy's! Can I help you?" the Internal-Wimpy-Who-Dwells-Inside-Us-All would say "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!" and I'd just get another Wendy's Double, what the hell. Occasionally I'd go there planning some kinda Salvador Dali freak out like a Wendy's Double with no tomatoes or a Wendy's Double with no pickles, but to hell with that - One day you eat a Wendy's Double with no pickles and the next day you're blowing your life savings on a sex change operation, right? How the hell do you think that John Walker idiot wound up in Afghanistan?
(Notice that I haven't said anything about Burger King. I'll inject a hypo full of Magic Johnson jism into that throbbing vein on the side of my head before I eat anything from Burger King. Cause there was only One True "Burger King" - Dave Thomas, The Father Of Wendy's! And now he's dead! Dead, I tell you! Dead! And things will never be the same! Never! Well, shit - I kept a straight face while everybody was carryin' on about George Freakin' Harrison, why can't you . . .)
Dave Thomas, The Greatest Hamburger Grill Cook Ever, was born out of wedlock in 1932 and put up for adoption. In today's more enlightened society his mother would have been encouraged to raise him on her own and he would be too screwed up to start a lawn mower much less a multibillion dollar corporation. ("There goes Saleeby putting down single moms again. Why can't he stick to putting down the skanky hos on the Jerry Springer Show like everybody else?" - Wil Forbis, Acid Logic Editor) ("Hey, Forbis - You put down your ex girlfriends and I'll put down mine" - John Saleeby, Acid Logic Schmeditor) Then Dave was adopted by a couple in which the wife immediately died! This is the kind of thing that'll ordinarily give a small boy a rather negative view of life - Like the time I couldn't watch "The Monkees" because NBC put the stupid 1968 Democratic Convention on instead. So Dave's was stuck with his adopted father, a cold, unfeeling man whose life was a series of unfulfilling relationships and dead end jobs - Sounds like he was a comedy writer.
Fortunately for Dave, his dead, adopted mom had a living, biological mom nice enough to pretend to be his grandmother. (And if you think that's confusing, just remember this was in the old days before the gays and lesbians got in on the act - them and their David Crosby!) As a result, Dave got to spend part of the year with his Grandmother, and that's where he experienced all the happy, childhood stuff that helped him grow up into a nice, decent human. The rest of the year was spent with his loser dad, which is where he experienced all the stuff that turned him into a hardass businessman.
It was through this family arrangement that Dave found his chosen vocation. While staying with his Grandmother, Dave spent a lot of time in the kitchen of the very nice restaurant in which she worked. But while staying with his bachelor-slob-Pop, Dave ate most of his meals in an endless series of cafes, diners, coffee shops, and greasy spoons. This enabled him to developing an encyclopedic knowledge of the food service industry and an unquenchable desire to fry millions and millions of hamburgers and sell them to millions and millions of people. ( I'm not sure if he was thinking about little plastic toy action figures from the latest Hollywood movies, maybe his Dad came up with that one ).
As soon as Dave was old enough to lie about being old enough to work he began a series of jobs in various restaurants. He was a bus boy, a dish washer, a waiter, a cook, and spent so many nights making mountains of sandwiches for the next day's lunch crowd that he had to drop out of school. Yes, kids, Dave was a high school drop out and still became a multimillionaire - But that doesn't mean you can get away with it! Hell, I'm a college drop out and I'm barely scraping by (I dropped out of LSU cause I spent so many late nights writing mountains of stand up routines for the next night's open mike comedy night. Dave would have had to make toenail sandwiches for them to go over with the lunch crowd the way my routines went over with the open mike crowd.)
After paying hard dues with a series of gigs in small time establishments and a European Tour on the US Army Mess Hall Circuit, Dave finally made The Big Time as one of the prime movers of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Which is kind of ironic, cause if there was anything in this world that gave Dave the Yuk Yuk Yukkies it was chicken. Ya wanna know why? Sit right down with a nice cold Wendy's Frostie for this, cause it's an interestin' yarn - One day when Dave was still that depressing little orphan who didn't even know how to make a BLT yet, his nobody Dad took him to have dinner at one of his nobody buddy's house. This buddy turned out to be a real Jeb Clampett Hillbilly and as soon as everybody sat down to eat their possum pie a flock of chickens ran into the dining room to put on a floor show, the sight and smell of which nauseated Dave so much he took his mind off food for the only time in his conscious existence. (Hey, man - One night when I was at LSU the pledges stole a giant pig from the State Fair and let it loose in the Frat house for a prank. Those chickens couldn't have possibly smelled any worse than that pig, but I didn't let that stop me from dating Delta Gammas!!! Haw haw haw!!! Crazy Frat Boy Humor!!!)
Most folks don't know about Dave's involvement with Kentucky Fried Chicken any more than they know that Peter Frampton played lead guitar in Humble Pie, but . . . What? Hey, am I the only one around here who read CREEM in the late seventies? Jihad Christ! Anyway, that's because the first thing you think of when you hear "Kentucky Fried Chicken" is . . . No, not "Finger Lickin' Good" . . . The first thing you think of is . . . No, not how goddam expensive it is! The first thing - Okay, the THIRD thing you think of is Ol' Colonel Sanders with his white beard and his white suit and his white Cadillac talking about his Secret Recipe and Biscuits and Gravy and he probably would have served possum pie if Dave wasn't already on the verge of throwin' up from all the chicken. A Southern eccentric so authentic you just know the members of R.E.M. roll their eyes every time his name comes up, Colonel Harlan Saunders was familiar to food service pros all across the country. Part restaurateur and part salesman, he often made flamboyant appearances to their joints to pitch a supply of his Secret Spices and a set of custom built pressure cookers for twenty seven dollars and fifty cents. Oh, and you also had to pay him one nickel for every chicken you sold. Despite his monster ego, the Colonel was strictly small time. It was Dave and his kitchen-kronies who came up with all the signature gimmicks like serving the chicken in a bucket and the "Finger Lickin' Good" slogan, but what really made Kentucky Fried Chicken was putting a human face on the chicken through the promotion of the Colonel into a mass media icon. Sanders was already a bit of a ham from the very beginning - He dyed his hair white years before it finally aged that way. (One time he went to an inept heterosexual hairstylist and it turned out orange! Now, if it had been me I would have just kept it and gone with an orange suit and an orange Cadillac, but what the hell do I know - I still can't find any backers for my Rotel Cheese Dip Edible Lava Lamp.)
With the tremendous success of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dave now had enough money to beg other people to give him money to start his own chain of restraints - Wendy's! That was the name of one of his kids and if his other children - Botulism, Ptomaine, and Explosive Diarrhea - resented him naming his business after Wendy instead of them it has never been discussed outside of the family. Dave wanted Wendy's to have more of comfortable "At Home" atmosphere compared to the sterile Space Age feel at McDonalds. (This was twenty years ago, remember. At McDonalds, the Space Age has come and gone and we're still waiting for 'em to admit that the Big Mac is a total rip off of Shoney's Big Boy.) Instead of cooking your hamburger three and a half hours before you even knew you wanted it and then putting it under a heating lamp to turn into the stuff they made episodes of "The Def Jam Comedy Hour" out of, Wendy's made your hamburger as soon as you ordered it just like Mom did. (Well, waitasec.I don't know how your Mom ever made hamburgers at your house, but if the kids who work at Wendy's ever yelled at me the way my Mom yelled at me every night at dinner time, the rotting corpse of Dave Thomas would rise up from the grave to knock the crap out of them. Hey, that would be cool! Then Dave could keep right on filming brand new commercials directed by George Romero. Is it necessary at this point for me to tell you that if you drink a whole lot of the coffee at Wendy's it will completely ruin your brain?)
Wendy's was a great success and Dave became as well known to TV viewers as the Colonel by appearing in more that eight hundred commercials. Eight hundred commercials? Damn! If that doesn't prove right there what a nice dude Dave Thomas was I don't know what else will. If anybody else was on TV in eight hundred commercials they wouldn't be able to go out in public without being spit on and physically abused. All night long I lie awake worrying about all the cute girls I see in all those stupid TV commercials - "Is the spunky little brunette in the 'Don't Get Mad, Get Glad' commercials okay? Has she been coated in disdainful saliva and beaten to a bloody unrecognizable pulp? I saw her in yet another one of those commercials just last night! How long can that cute little chick go on with that crap before they find pieces of her in a garbage dumpster in New Jersey?" But there was good ol' Dave night after night looking just like the kinda guy you just know would be happy to help you out with any kinda problem or at least tell you a joke or two. You don't see a lot of guys like that on television, there are millions and millions of 'em walking around out here in real life, but practically all of the guys you see on television are smirking, strutting jackasses who should be strung up in the town square while we look on munching on hamburgers and french fries. Yeah! "The Day Of The Hangings" - A huge improvement on the usual spectacles starring those scoundrels. Excuse me, I can't write anymore. I'm just going to bang my fist against the top of the table for a few seconds . . . Ow! Well, there goes my career as a classical violinist.
Huh? Wha? Huh? Oh, I'm sorry - I'm just a little emotional about Dave passing away. He seemed like such a nice guy and played such an important part in my life. And what really hurts is that I was thinking about writing an Interesting Motherfuckers column about Dave long before he passed away but never got around to suggesting it to Forbis, cause I figured Dave The Wendy's Guy wouldn't be "Twenty Three Skidoo" enough for a "Groovy" publication like Acid Logic. So I just went on and on writing Interesting Motherfuckers about assholes like Arsenio Hall, Gloria Estefan, and Simon LeBon and now Dave's dead! Dead! Dave's dead and he never got to find out how much he meant to me!
And I can't even eat hamburgers anymore! Back in October the phone rang and my doctor told me that my freakin' cholesterol level was too high and if I didn't do something about it I was going to be Dick Cheney when I grow up. (All of a sudden I'm one of those guys who are sitting worrying about cholesterol, what could be more square than that? Geez, next you know the phone will ring and it will be John McCain and I'll be sitting around worrying about Campaign Finance Reform.) Then I had an appointment with a nutritionist (What a dumb feeling - "Oh, tomorrow morning I've got an appointment with a nutritionist.") and when I told this lady about the One Hundred Percent Beef Monkey On My Back her eyes bugged out like I had reenacted the "Squeal like a pig!" scene from "Deliverance." And I haven't had a single hamburger since. I've always been a chronic quitter - College, the Army, stand up, dating, bathing, etc. - so I've never had any trouble quitting my vices - Booze, pot, Dolph Lundgren movies, and now - Hamburgers. What do I eat now that Dave's gone and I can't eat hamburgers? Eh . . . Cereal, soup, salads, tuna fish, gravel, bottle caps, pieces of string, bugs, cigarette butts that I pick up off of the ground . . . Who gives a shit.
If I have a heart attack after all this I'm going to become a serial killer.
What do you think America? Leave your comments on the Guestbook!
John Saleeby wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines Schmuck.com, Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
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