Remember that somewhat hypnotic game they used to play on Sesame Street wherein they’d put a smattering of images on the screen and ask you to figure out which one didn’t belong? They’d play that “one of these things is not like the others” song to give you time to figure it out. I was really good at that game, but then again, I suppose it’s pretty easy to figure out that a Martian has no place amongst a bunch of bouncy balls or whatever. Side note: those Martians with the floppy mouths who only said “yup” over and over were my favorites. Anyway, whenever I see something that doesn’t quite belong in a group of inanimate objects, that song starts playing in my head. Who knows; maybe there was nothing “somewhat hypnotic” about that game. Maybe PBS used it to brainwash/mentally program me and one of these days, secret agent Big Bird will show up with a picture of a Martian amongst bouncy balls and I’ll snap. You simply never know. We’ll get back to this in a second.
I love fresh spring rolls from Thai restaurants unequivocally; they represent culinary perfection. I love that translucent rice paper and the crisp lettuce and the boiled shrimp and that fresh bite of basil. I love that cloyingly sweet sauce that comes with them and the crushed peanuts that float on the top like some sort of nutty flotsam. So whenever I get a chance, I get a to-go order of fresh spring rolls from this little Thai joint in downtown Farmington. Boon’s is the only Thai restaurant in this little town and I know I’ve said a few disparaging things about the joint (if you’re interested, click here: https://thevelveteenmaraca.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/ramen-illusions/), but Boon’s definitely has the best ethnic food in town. True, having the “best ethnic food” in this shitty redneck haunt is like having the best high-five in a room full of double amputees, but that’s irrelevant.
I called in such a to-go order this past Tuesday but I showed up early and had to wait. They were nice enough to give me a free iced tea in one of those enormous white Styrofoam cups that hold something like fifty-seven gallons of fluid so I had no problem with the wait. Boon’s has its problems, but the place is authentic. There’s even a cool little shrine up front, right by the cash register, which the cooks surround with small bowls of brown rice or day old soup to pay homage to a golden deity with a plump smile and praying hands. There’s a display case right below the shrine and as soon as I looked at it, that damn “one of these things is not like the others” song started playing in my head. Stupid Big Bird and his stupid mental programming.
The case was filled with all sorts of things you’d expect; there were challises covered in cloisonné and little turtles and geisha girl figurines and oriental wood carvings… and a plastic dinosaur. Like I said, I’m really good at this game. I wanted to stand up and point at the dinosaur and shout something like “Hey! It’s the green T-Rex! It doesn’t belong!” but I didn’t because I’m a grown-up. But then again, some other grown-up had put that dinosaur in where it obviously didn’t belong. Why? It made absolutely no sense until I was licking sauce from my fingers and halfway home. And then… boom! I had a go-go-gadget epiphany. That was no regular plastic dinosaur. It was a Thai-Rannosaurus Rex.
Anyway, I write and sell books and they never cost more than a dollar. If you’re a fan of fiction, you should check out Trailer Park Juggernauts here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00704HK6Q If you’re a fan of real life with just a sprinkling of fiction, you should check out Ephemeral Truths and Short Fiction here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AYRAXNI