Monday, March 20, 2006

Beware the ButterBurger

I spent this weekend in Madison, Wisconsin, at a friend’s wedding. It was a real nice time, although my enthusiastic consumption of such Wisconsin delicacies as ButterBurgers, fried cheese curds, and chocolate custard (thank God we don’t have any Culver’s in NYC) have now pushed my three-week weight gain to a whopping 10 pounds. I am going to have to go on some kind of Pellegrino fast; climbing season is fast approaching.

I flew to Milwaukee with a group of former coworkers of mine from the WSJ, and there we rented a car to make the one-hour drive to Madison. These were people with whom I spent a shell-shocked nine months or so back in 2001 and 2002, commuting four hours a day or, alternately, living in a shitty hotel off of Route 1 in New Jersey close to company headquarters, thanks to the terrorists who blew up our office building in NYC. During that time, we drank a LOT of Scotch on the company dime at the hotel bar, and ate a lot of steaks since we were often stranded without cars in a Radisson that was home to a Gallagher’s. We bonded during this time and they became something like my East Coast family – the people I could count on when the entire world was going apeshit and I had no one, my family being in the Midwest and my boyfriend being in Colorado at the time.

ANYWAY, one of these old WSJ friends, T., is probably the most unflappable person I’ve ever met. The very definition of Steady Eddie. He’s the type of guy who could walk down a street where there was a gang shootout, a parade, and a mass Moonie wedding going on simultaneously and not miss a beat. Exhibit A: On Sept. 11, another coworker called into the office to find out what the hell was going on down there (since we were right across the street), and T. answered the phone. “What in Sam Hell is going ON down there,” coworker 1 screamed. T. answered: “Oh, you know, international terrorism. Talk to you later.” He is the antithesis of excitable.

Which is why one of the highlights of the entire trip, which left me laughing sporadically for hours, happened as me and my four WSJ friends were driving down a road near the airport in Milwaukee looking for a place at which we could procure one of the aforementioned ButterBurgers. There was a sub shop on this road, and outside of it, near the highway, stood a mascot dressed as a sandwich (more specifically, a sub with what appeared to be ham and lettuce).

This delighted T. to no end (maybe because they tend to do less of this kitschy crap in the Northeast, where he’s from), causing him to scream like a little girl, “OH MY GOD, IT’S A MAN DRESSED AS A GIANT SANDWICH!!!” Never having heard such an outburst from the mild-mannered T., our driver jumped a mile out of her seat and slammed on the brakes as though we were about to run over a troop of Girl Scouts.

Once everyone stopped laughing and calmed down, we decided the mascot should probably move farther back from the road so as to prevent any sandwich-related car accidents, and I was happy I have friends who make me laugh so hard – even if it does make chocolate custard come out my nose.

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