One of my favorite places to eat is the neighborhood Furr’s Cafeteria. Oddly enough, it’s not the food that attracts me to this eerie establishment. I love to watch people. It’s not a hobby, it’s an obsession. Furr’s cafeteria is a virtual crack house for people-watchers like me. Before I go on, please know this. I love old people. I actually hope to be an old person, myself, some day. When that day comes, feel free to make fun of me. I won’t care, because I guarantee you’ll find me and my Jazzy Chair at Furr’s enjoying a slice of Millionaire Pie.
You have to get there early. I mean really early. I have a philosophy on why the elderly do EVERYTHING earlier as they age. It has to do with how high they wear their pants. At seventy years of age, or so, the pants are hiked up around the bellybutton. At this time, the senior starts waking up at 5 am, eating lunch at 11 am, dinner (now referred to as supper) at 4:45, and off to bed at 8:30. Eighty-something gentlemen wear their pants 4-5 inches above the navel and the time shift happens yet again. Up at 4, lunch at 10:15, supper at 3:30, nighty-night at 7. Back to my original point…get there early.
Tip #1: Get a table that has an unobstructed view of as much of the buffet line as possible. If you are with a friend, race inside, even if you have to sit on the same side of the table. It will be worth it.
Tip #2: Take a moment and appreciate the Muzak playing. It is the worst of the worst. If it is a satellite channel, then it’s called “Doo-Doo Music from 1977-1989 Channel”. The last time I was there I heard this back-to-back-to-back triple play. “Dog Gone Girl is Mine” Micheal Jackson/Paul McCartney, “Heartbeat” Don (Miami Vice) Johnson, and “She’s Like the Wind” Patrick Swayze. I can’t believe I made it out alive.
Now it’s time to keep score. I have devised a Furr’s scoring system based on the frequency in which you will see the following things during your visit. Print this out and score your next trip…
- Coveralls/Onesies/Jumpsuits – These will usually be light blue or pale yellow. There will be an embroidered anchor on the chest and a weak attempt at a half-belt that serves absolutely no purpose outside of fashion. 3 points (1 bonus point if it is bright red, no undershirt, or if there is no anchor)
- Giant Sunglasses – I don’t mean regular sunglasses. I mean the ones to protect cataracts. They are roughly the size of a Buick windshield. You’ll first think they are welding something, don’t be alarmed. 3 points
- Walkers/Wheelchairs – Zero points. If you don’t see one of these, you’re at the wrong restaurant.
- Oxygen – This only counts if it is in use during the meal. 3 points (1 bonus point if the tank has to be changed before you are finished with your meal)
- Coin Purse – This must be used to pay for meal and may be one of two varieties. The leather, moccasin style, spiral engineered, coin purse. Or, the standard plastic, football shaped container with the slit that opens when you squeeze both ends. This one is usually red with a bail bond company advertisement on it. 5 points
- Bolo Tie – Nothing says “I’ve given up.” like a nice bolo tie. 6 points (2 bonus points if the brooch is turquoise.)
- Man Scarf – 100 Points
- Sport Coat in Specific Colors – Brownish orange, Mustard, Chocolate brown, Lime, or any material that looks like it spent time as upholstery on a seventies style couch. 2 points
- Rascal, Jazzy Chair, HoverRound – 1 point (1 additional point for every bumper sticker affixed to the scooter. 1 more point if it has a basket with a crossword puzzle book in it)
- Ambulance/Paramedic – In order for this to count, medical assistance has to be administered inside the restaurant. 10 points (-2 points if mouth-to-mouth is necessary. Nobody wants to see that. We are eating, you know.)
- Mutton Chops – These have to be larger than normal with NO attachment to a beard. 3 points
- Derby Hat – See Walkers/Wheelchairs.
- Huge Cap with 3/4 Mesh Trim – The front panel must be at least 5″ high. The hat must rest awkwardly atop the old fella’s head. 3 points (1 bonus point if it has something about being a veteran. 1 more bonus point if there is some kind of pin or pins are attached.)
- Bad Hairpiece – See Derby Hat, Wheelchair/Walker
- Female Facial Hair – Before you start, Sikhs don’t count. Must be visible from 20 feet. 2 points
- Ranch Dressing on Someone’s Shirt – First, make sure it’s Ranch, if it is, you win 2 points.
You’re not going to believe how many points you’re going to rack up.
All of this thinking has worn me out. It’s getting late and tomorrow is Fish Stick day.
Who’s Your Danny?
Why am I unable to cope with the pressure of the WalMart ‘Self Checkout’ process? As I am taking my final purchases to the front, panic sets in when I notice the availability of the self checkout lanes compared to the full service lane. It is so tempting. This should be much faster, right? How hard could it be? After all, with all due respect, my assumed capabilities at least equal those who have scanned my goods previously, right? I couldn’t be more wrong. I am an idiot. It seems that after, say, my third item, the machine starts picking on me. “Please place item in the bagging area!” the menopausal voice sternly suggests. Great, now I am a criminal. I have been informally accused of shoplifting a Renuzit deodorizer simply because it doesn’t exceed the density necessary to trigger the sack sensor. Cue Ruth, the self checkout czar. She approaches, rolling her eyes as if to say, “We can train a salamander to operate this!” Instead she lets out a sigh as she enters a 63-digit passcode and swipes her Frequent Swiper card that’s tethered by a red mini-slinky to her slightly undersized polypants that she purchased less than 50 feet away with her employee discount. (Breath, Danny..1…2…3…) Ok, I’m better. Three items down, 53 to go. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice, lurking in my cart somewhere in between a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos and a can of Ravioli, something green. Yes, it’s bell peppers. Now I’m looking at the prospect of having to weigh an item and then looking it up on the Wallyvision screen using some sick version of the Dewey-decimal system. Let me remind you, I am the one who couldn’t scan a bluebonnet-scented room deodorizer 25 seconds ago. I’m quite sure I’m in for another scolding at the hands of my new nemesis behind the blue pulpit. Screw it. I’m leaving my stuff in line. Flaming Hot Cheetos be damned. I’m headed to Taco Bueno.