Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Taking a Stand

I try not to speak my views about certain topics in public forums like this or in social media, whether my ideas are left, right or in between, because some people are so passionate about these things that wars could result.

But this one time I had to go against my wife’s wishes to remain silent -- and put it all out there -- to settle a years-long debate in determining which hamburger stand is better, In-N-Out or Fatburger?

To choose a burger stand or not choose a burger stand? That was the question. My wife asked me to leave it alone. I had to speak up.

At first, I couldn’t decide for myself which place was better. Different days and different appetites had me flip-flopping, adopting one stand and then the other like so many other bandwagoneers. My wife and our 10-year-old son weren’t any help. I’d pressure them to choose a winner for me, but they couldn’t make up their minds.

And then the application of one variable in my equation helped make my choice clear. It was so obvious and so simple, yet it took years to find. That is, when choosing a burger stand, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: Would Dirty Harry eat there?

So while my wife was suggesting I not start what would surely end in my death on Facebook, I was submitting the following post to my timeline: “After years of study and calculation with facts and figures, many tasty hamburgers and a look under a magnifying glass into the art and taste of excellent burger cuisine, and after careful thought, consideration and deliberation with other serious burger eaters, I finally came to my robust conclusion: Fatburger has a better burger than In-N-Out.”

I hate to type it, because now it’ll be on the record, but my wife was right. War was waged. An unofficial In-N-Out source issued the following statement: “I declare war in the name of the In-N-Out Kingdom.”

What was to follow would later be known as the first Burger World War because other nations joined in the fight. We had unofficial representatives of the Five Guys hamburger stand, The Habit and a slew of others. One person had the nerve to bring up a $20 hamburger from some French joint with a name I can’t even pronounce. Come on!

No one was changing my mind. My wife asked me to leave it alone. Meanwhile, I was posting the following comment to my wall: “Burger warriors, this was not some fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants decision, where I just punched into Facebook what was flashing through my ADHD mind at the moment. This was a final analysis made from mouthfuls of data I collected.”

I wasn’t changing any minds either. The war raged on.

“We, the In-N-Out Kingdom of the world, shall march to your door, break down any and all barriers, and force-serve you delicious, freshly made In-N-Out burgers and animal-style fries until you surrender.”

The various countries of the burger world submitted studies confirming their leadership in the burgerverse, in effect leaving no burger stand on its feet.

I also felt defeated. I went to my wife for solace. She delivered what was perhaps the most eloquent “I told you so” speech I’d ever heard. I agreed with her on all points and admitted my mistakes. Then I realized what I could post on Facebook next.

“It all ends here. The Original Double-Deck Cheeseburger at Bob’s Big Boy rules. Long live the king!”

Crickets. Burger Nation was silent.

How could that be? How could no one respond? It was as if I wanted retaliation. While sitting at Bob’s wolfing down my Double-Deck, I realized the opposition was the fun in it all. I even made new friends on Facebook during some pretty nasty exchanges of derogatory remarks toward the other guy’s burger stand of choice.

“I’m glad you had fun,” my wife said. “But now it’s done. Just don’t be starting any wars between New York pizza and Chicago pizza.”

“New York pizza, end of story,” I said. “Good idea. After that, I think I’ll do one on hot dogs, too. To Dodger Stadium we go to begin research.”

What are your favorites here? Come on, take a stand.

-June 2014

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