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Friday, May 13, 2011

Up My Conch

Some people think I’m a snob. And, maybe, they’re right. After all, I haven’t worn a pair of overalls since I was four, I don’t say things like “How you’s doin’?” and “I gots fitty cent,” and “I enjoy watching Dr. Phil,” and I’ve never driven a car with rust accents, spinners, or a confederate flag license plate.

I’ve also never eaten at Red Lobster.

You can’t get away from their commercials though. They’re insidious and infectious and invading one’s subconscious. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched a “Red Lobster” commercial and viewed a powerful hand crushing a lemon slice, sending orgasmic spritzes of juice hurtling towards an unsuspecting lobster tail or succulent shrimp piled high on a bed of fluffy rice.

It’s sealicious.

Be that as it may, however sea-ductive (okay, I’ve got to stop that now) the commercials may be, I’ve never been moved to enter a Red Lobster. They’re… around, sure, and I loves me my Sebastian legs, but, for whatever the reason—attribute it to snobbery if you must—I’ve abstained up until this point.

No one’s ever said, “Hey, Apron-fucker, let’s pile into the Volvs and head on over to Red Lobster.” Of course, I’ve never said that either.

Sometimes, I feel guilty about this… call it avoidance of Red Lobster. I mean, what’s the fucking problem? I like seafood. I like reasonable prices. There really shouldn’t be any reason why I wouldn’t go there. Is it the chain-ness of it? No. Chain-ness doesn’t stop me from lustily mouth-fucking a #7 at McDonalds on certain inauspicious mornings.

Maybe it’s the feeling that seafood is somewhat more… special? That it shouldn’t be reduced to some corporate formula, passed down to dozens and dozens of restaurants nationwide?

Why not?

When we were younger and smoother, my parents used to take us all out for dinner maybe once a month at a restaurant called The Little Inn. It wasn’t terribly far from our house, and it was mainly a place that catered to the hearing aid/diaper population. Elderly men would take their wives there to indulge their social security checks and enjoy the waning hours of their autumn years by sleepily sucking down some lobster bisque. The men would dress in impossibly-hued green blazers the shade of astro-turf and the ladies wore Mennonite-style floral dresses and purple hair was the order of the day.

Oh, and there were fucking animal heads and guns on the wall. Lots of guns. Lots of heads.

You’d think that dead deer and fucked-up fowl taxidermized and staring at you would freak one out as an eight-year-old child, but it didn’t bother me in the slightest. I greedily wolfed down surf-and-turf like it was nobody’s business. Inevitably, there would be sibling squabbles, which eventually got so heated that we were banned from returning. Banned, of course, by my parents.

Maybe having never been to Red Lobster was due, at least in part, to the Little Inn Effect (“LIE” – ooh!) I might very well have been… conditioned, in a way, to believe that seafood was something that ought only to be consumed at tables dressed in starched white whilst being stared at by dead… voles, or whatever the fuck those things were on the walls.

Yesterday, though, in honor of my birthday, my Red Lobster cherry was popped. By my father. At 12:05pm, I arrived for our lunch date at a park located down the street from the hospital where I work, and, as I got out of my car, I noticed my father standing by a picnic table, and on it were two enormous take-out containers. As I walked up to him, I artfully inquired,

“What the fuck is all this shit?”

“Red Lobster, Mummy. You can choose which one you want—shrimp scampi or shrimp jambalaya.”

And so, two tall, dark, handsome Jews sat in the park together, on the younger one’s birthday, eating seafood from Red Lobster. And, you know what? It was fucking great. Those cheddar biscuits? Amazed my balls off. My father, who must have been in a nautical frame of mind yesterday, remarked,

“I asked your sister if she wanted to come to lunch with us, but she said, ‘no’, which is okay, because she has been so fuckin’ up my conch lately.”

Bottoms Up. To Life. Up My Conch. Happy Birthday. I love you.

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