Category Archives: Food

Tonsillitis and The Old People Section of Walgreens

So about a month or two ago I ended up coming down with tonsillitis, and let me tell you, that’s one deceptively shitty illness to have. Not deceptively shitty in the sense that I never thought that tonsillitis was that big of a deal, but more because when you first get it, you think, “Oh, I’m just battling a little cold, I’ll get over it,” and the next thing you know you’re pulled over on the side of the road vomiting phlegm through your car window. But that’s not where the shittiness ended.

Nor is it where the shittiness began. It ultimately started on a Tuesday. I started to cough a good bit and get a mild sore throat. So I did what anyone would do: get jacked up on Cepacol and go through my day like the goddamn man I enjoy pretending to be. I suppose a good idea would also have been to cut back on smoking cigarettes, but addiction doesn’t give a fuck about sore throats, so I didn’t even bother. I go to work and, go figure, I feel like crap by the time I get out, so I decide to grab a couple of drinks to numb the soreness, and then just fall into a sweet, smooth, Irish whiskey sleep. Unfortunately, luck somehow wasn’t on my side that night (or week), as I ended up waking up about three or four times throughout the night. One time is fine, I suppose. You can refill your water, double check your alarm, crank one out if you need to, take some more melatonin, and pee. Twice? You can’t take melatonin again because you’ll risk sleeping through your alarm and straight into the next night. You could crank it again, but only if it’s been a good while since the first time you woke up and you have really soft and smooth hands.  Otherwise, pee again. It’s probably because of that second glass of water anyway. Three or more times, though, is completely fucking absurd.

The next day (when I finally wake up for good), I feel even worse than I did the day before. At that point, my throat starts to hurt more, and I can’t even swallow without it feeling like I’m trying to swallow a mouthful of Cap’n Crunch with not milk. I go about my day like I did before, getting hopped up on lozenges and NSAIDs. I go to work, and I continue to feel like generic shit. So I decide maybe I should try to drink myself to sleep again. That’s a good idea, right? Nope. As I’m driving from work to the bar, that’s when the phlegm vomiting on the side of the road incident happens, and I think to myself, “Maybe I’ll just go home and go to bed.”

And that’s exactly what I did. I went to bed. I didn’t go to sleep, I just went to my bed. My throat had gotten so swollen that whenever I started to drift away, I started to not breathe, which isn’t really something that works out in the long run. So at around 7:30 AM, I decided that I should just give up on the sleeping thing, get jacked on stimulants, and go about my day. Fortunately, I ended up not having a horrible day, aside from the increasingly painful swallowing, sore throat, coughing, and symptomatic feelings of an oncoming death. I go to work, half-ass most of it, go back home, and try to go to bed again. And like the night before, I don’t sleep. I start to think that maybe I should see a doctor at this point.

So there I was, Friday morning, dragging my ass to the urgent care, barely awake (read: spending all of my energy trying to remember how to breathe), and just wanting nothing more than to get some high end prescriptions to make me a glazed over zombie for a couple of days. And let me tell you something, sitting in the waiting room of an urgent care with half a dozen sick babies and their mothers is a miserable experience. So miserable that even having my name called didn’t help, because it made all the mothers look at me with disgust and anger that I was getting to see the doctor before their little bundles of snot and joy could get their colds taken care of. Whatever. I contribute. I buy American. I’m a non-exempt, full-time employee for a local business. Plus I was checked in first. Sucks to suck, crybabies.

So I go about the normal doctor stuff, and the doctor tells me that I’ve got pustular tonsillitis. When I hear this, I immediately think one thing: How long until this doctor makes an underhand dick-sucking joke? Hell, if I were a doctor, I’d make it a prerogative to tell at least one subtle, backhanded dick-sucking joke per patient. Maybe even one blatant one per week. Then he started describing what pustular tonsillitis actually was. Basically, my tonsils became enlarged and swollen, and were very sensitive to anything touching it, and secreted a whitish puss in the back of my throat, with which I could only do two things: spit or swallow. I couldn’t even ask him any questions because I was just trying not to laugh. I end up walking out of there with a shit-eating grin on my face, partly because I’m still thinking about all the jokes, but mostly because I’m pretty sure that the receptionist had just completely forgotten to charge me the co-pay for my visit (I didn’t pay then, and I still haven’t gotten a bill (Thanks Obama)).

And this is when the tonsillitis actually starts to become entertaining. I drag my ass out of the urgent care, hop in the damn Impala, and pull up to Walgreens to pick up my prescription. Now, as many of you know, the pharmacy counter in most Walgreens is located in the back of the store. The part of Walgreens that houses the uncharted areas of old people shit and drug test kits. And sweet Jesus is exploring that area of Walgreens the most hilarious experience when you’re stumbling around having not slept in about 60 hours. If the two packs of cigarettes, four pints of Diet Coke, and a half bottle of Dayquil surging through your veins don’t make your eyes feel like they’re about to pop out of your fucking skull, perhaps the fact that you can play doctor and test yourself for Hep C for the low, bargain price of $34.99 will lend a helping hand. Or maybe the fact that paternity tests are only $40 (Which is really kind of false advertising, because if you read the back of the package (which, of course, I did), you would know that there’s a hidden $120 lab fee in order to get the test results back. And if you’re going to Walgreens to discover who your baby daddy is, then you really can’t afford that extra $120. That’s six 30-racks of Bud Light, which is exactly what people who get paternity tests at Walgreens drink for breakfast. (Bud Light: The Breakfast of NASCAR Champions)).

And that’s not even taking into account the bathroom supplies for old people that are for sale there. Hell, you can buy handrails for damn near every surface of your bathroom. Toilet handrails? Check. Bathtub Handrails? Check. Plastic chairs so you can sit down in the shower instead of standing? Check. Shit, they’ve even got these two-and-a-half foot plastic extenders so you can wipe your own ass more easily. Imagine all the calories I’ve been wasting actually reaching around? Plus, it cuts down on the risk of having your fingers break through the toilet paper, so you can use less. Hell, I could get that thing, save a few calories here and there, have enough energy to go to the gym so I could become healthy enough that I’m not sitting in the back of Walgreens trying to count the amount of calories it takes to wipe your own ass. And I’m not trying to knock old people for being old and having bodies that have become so naturally-deteriorated to the point where they need to resort to this kind of product, but keep in mind the volatile concoction of legal narcotics that I chose to ingest instead of going to the doctor earlier. Plus that ass brush has an extendable head, so I’m more of the mind that it’s really more of a luxury than a necessity.

But I digress. I take my antibiotics, wash it down with a Mountain Dew and a foot-long Spicy Italian, and lay down to watch some Doomsday Preppers, because why the fuck not? (Also, why am I not doing any of that shit? Have you heard about Gaza lately? And has everybody forgot about the Mayans? What about Superstorm Sandy? It’s only a matter of time before we’re all fucked, so why not make sure that when the nuclear winter ends, I’m the one walking around and rebuilding society, slendered down by a steady diet of creamed corn and protein shakes.) I rest, I regain some energy, take a couple hours off from smoking, and let those antibiotics kick in. In fact, I’ve got so much energy that I decide it’s a great time to go grocery shopping. And, dear Panda aficionados, that decision is very important, because going grocery shopping at that exact moment was the landmark one-millionth mistake in my life.

Grocery shopping is always chaotic for me (mostly because I’m really against making grocery lists (mostly because I’m horrible at impulse control (mostly because I really enjoy eating the type of food that will make me so obese that I’ll need one of those extendable ass-wiping brushes by the time I turn 40))). But this was a different chaos. This was the kind of chaos that was caused by the fact that I was starting to lose some of my finer motor skills and couldn’t really read anything anymore, and just kind of had to guess which brand was which by color scheme and the quality of cardboard that it was packed in. And upon realizing this, I decided it would be a good idea to get out of there as soon as possible, so the most logical thing was to speed-shop (walk as fast as possible through the store and not really think of what I was grabbing, and just making sure that the quantity was enough to get me through the next two weeks). Actually, I’m not really sure if that last thing about speed shopping was true, because I don’t remember it. Or most of the grocery store, for the matter. I only remember showing up at the grocery store, not being able to read, and wanting to get out of there as soon as possible. But it seems like the only logical thing that I could come up the next day when I took stock of what the fuck I actually bought.

I had only gotten about four hours of sleep that night, but it seemed like eternity when I saw that the clock read seven AM and I peeled my face off of the pool of drool that had formed. I was so excited for the sleep I had gotten that I had forgot that about half of that drool was actually the pustular excrement from my now slightly less engorged tonsils. So I showered, got my laundry ready to take to the laundry shop, and decided to make some breakfast. In my pantry, I found a twelve-pack of canned Sunny-D, which was in-and-of-itself a pretty stellar find in hindsight, but it couldn’t make up for the despicable conglomerate of processed shit that awaited me in the freezer. Stouffers Mac N’ Cheese (which actually made me borderline nostalgically happy, as it reminded me of the good ole college days when I got stoned and made my own Mac N’ Cheese pizzas with my roommates), Banquet chicken finger dinners (that shit came with a chocolate fudge brownie), Banquet riblet dinners (I threw that one away without even trying it), and the piece de resistance, a Johnsonville ring bologna. I remember eating ring bologna as a kid and thinking that it was the greatest thing in existence, like it was a six-year-old’s equivalent of eating a five-course fine dining meal when in reality it’s just a poor people’s family-sized shitty hot dog. And it made me realize that my family was really poor when I was a kid, because I remember us splitting one of those fuckers between five of us at a table that was about the same square footage as the “crappy” TV that I’ve got sitting in my parents basement and didn’t want to take with me when I moved out because I’ve already got a better TV and nowhere to put the second one and I don’t want to expend the energy to carry it anywhere.  Plus I’m not about to go out of my way to buy an extra AUX cable if I don’t have to.

But back to reality, and I’m sitting there with a foot-and-a-half of beef scrap molded into a semi-circular sausage that fucking straightened out when I cooked it so it wasn’t even a ring anymore, but more of a shitty arc that’s too greasy for the ketchup to stick to it, so I have to use the knife to scoop the ketchup onto it and use all of my attention to try and hold the fork steady enough so that the processed sugar-tomato sauce doesn’t slide off onto my hoodie, and I suddenly knew what it’s like to be slumming it. But I didn’t care. I didn’t care about anything. I was stoned on antibiotics and weed and I was eating a gigantic low-end hot dog with a can of Sunny-D for breakfast.

So even though the rest of the week and a half that I was on antibiotics wasn’t exactly the most fun or eventful, it was still uphill from that point. I started getting full nights of sleep on the fourth night. I started to get some of my mind back from the brink of insanity. I started to realize that maybe I should have used my illness as an excuse to start quitting smoking instead of just cutting back for three days. But shit, let’s be real, addiction doesn’t care if you’re sick, and I needed all the happy brain chemicals I could get (dopamine, or serotonin, or whatever the fuck it is. I don’t know. I’ve got an English degree, not something of actual intellectual merit). But hey, if lung cancer is anywhere near as miserable as having tonsillitis was, maybe I’ll give quitting a shot at some point (I’m aiming for by the time some poor woman who, for some reason, wants to spend her life with me and give birth to my spawn. You know, so I can be a role model and shit. And have enough money so that I’m not economically forced to feed them ring bologna). Actually, scratch that, “all uphill from that point,” idea, because now I know that extendable ass-wipers exist, and that they are in the same section of Walgreens as the 12-in-1 drugs tests, STI screeners, and paternity tests. It’s like a little piece of West Virginia available to the whole country. I never needed to experience that. Nobody does.

Take it easy,

-Panda


Let’s All Go To The Mall

I should really consider myself lucky.  I mean, I was driving around in a car that had a tire with a fairly big puncture hole.  For a while instead of just replacing it, I just kept the air compressor in my back seat and filled the thing up every couple of weeks.  It worked out fairly well, but I knew that I would need to get the tire replaced before winter rolled around.  So this last weekend I went to the Sears Autocare Center (Hey, if I want to to pretend to be a man I have to do manly shit like go to Sears).  They told me it would be a little over an hour to complete the work on my car, and that they would give me a call when the work was completed.  So, instead of sitting around in the waiting room of the service shop, I decided to walk across the parking lot and go to the mall that was right there.

Walking into the mall was, for lack of a better phrase, a fucking trip.  I haven’t really been in a mall for anything other than new glasses or over-priced Apple shit in probably close to five years.  I have forgotten how strange these places can be.  And strange is really the only thing you can call a mall, because the mall is the only place in the world that people will set aside a couple of hours for, and then within twenty minutes of starting the day the only thing they want to do is just get the fuck out of there.

The first thing that I wanted to do was to find a restroom.  Like any mall, I figured that they would be in the food court (they were).  But the restrooms are the least of the interesting aspects of this endeavor.   The food court was a pathetic excuse for a source of nourishment.  I mean, there wasn’t a single dollar menu in the entire place.  Not that I’m a big fan of the kind of food that comes from the kind of place that has a dollar menu, but it seems to me that dollar menus are perfectly suited for malls.  The food is usually something that you can usually eat on the go, small enough for you to finish by the time you get into the next store, and makes you shit about 45 minutes later, bringing you back to the food court where it all began.  But as if that’s not enough for me to hate the food courts at the mall, I looked around at the other options for food.  It’s astonishing how every mall has literally the same exact shitty food that the next one does.  Of course everyone knows about Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and CinnaBonn.  But when you dig deeper, you will find the Rocky Rococo, the Arby’s, the place that serves steak (who the fuck says, “You know, I could really go for a steak.  Let’s go to the mall.  No, it’s cool, it’s 6:00 PM, they usually clean up the food court around 5:30ish.  So basically, as long as you don’t eat near the Sbarro the floors won’t be sticky and it doesn’t stink as much because there aren’t any babies because the mom’s all had to drop them off the babysitter because Valium usually can’t last all day normally, let alone a full day at the mall.”), and of course that less-than-trustworthy stir-fry place (You want me to eat Chinese food?  Fine, as long as it isn’t prepared by 17-year-old girls from the suburbs who can’t even pronounce General Tso’s Chicken correctly).  Literally every mall has those same exact places.  And literally the same exact people go to those same places in every mall:  5% mall employees who are on their break in the middle of a double shift, 20% kids on dates who don’t know what a real date is, 20% single mothers, and 55% disgusting slobs.

Food court aside, there is another very disturbing aspect of malls in general.  This particular phenomenon is visible everywhere, but at the mall, it shines.  I’m talking, of course, about weird people.  Not the some-guy-writing-a-blog-pretending-to-be-a-panda-so-he-can-feel-like-he’s-being-a-productive-member-of-society-but-knows-he-isn’t weird, but the start-a-conversation-with-a-complete-stranger-but-not-actually-be-looking-them-in-the-eye weird.  I mean, you’ve got the people who go to the mall to do nothing but walk in fucking circles, you’ve got the people who act like they know you and try to start a conversation with you when you’re standing in line (please, people who do this, stop frontin’), you’ve got the people who walk around and try to stop you when you’re going about your day and minding your own business to get you to take a survey, and then you got the people who sit.  They don’t really do anything.  They just sit.  I’m pretty sure they’re there 24/7, because I’ve never seen any of them get up or actually partake in the process of sitting down.   Maybe it’s just a ruse by the people who own the mall to say, “We have seating in case you need to sit down for a moment, rest, wait to meet up with your family, or to wait and figure out if the food court meal you ate a half-hour ago is coming out early or if it’s just a fart,” and then they just have some old folks come in and sit.  They probably don’t even pay them (well, maybe they give them the leftover food from the food court, which would explain why the bathrooms at the mall always smell like shit, even in the morning before anyone even uses them).  And of course you can’t ask them to move, they’re old.  They’ve got the walkers and those fucking big-ass-cover-half-your-face sunglasses to prove it.

But all of that pales in comparison to my biggest issue with the mall and human society: how and why the hell do humans find the mall to be fun?  I mean, everyone from teenagers to old folks go to the mall to waste their Saturdays and their “sick” days, and spend hours and hours there.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I used to think the mall was awesome.  I would try to transform almost any social outing with friends into a day at the mall.  But that wasn’t because I thought it was fun, it’s because, as a panda, I had never seen anything like this place in my life.  I mean, you humans just have a giant building with all these different stores that have absolutely nothing in common with each other and a bunch of kiosks that are filled with second-rate, made-in-China shit, and in the winter, every fucking year, you people pay some fatass to sit in a red suit in the middle of the mall and have your children sit in his lap as he whispers sweet nothings into their ears (“Oh, I bet you’ve been a bad girl”).  I mean, just look at what a trip to the mall looks like normally.  For the most part, you park your car a quarter-mile away from the closest set of doors, walk into the mall, try to not make eye contact with the poor people at the shoe shine booth, walk half the length of the mall to find an up escalator, walk to where the store is supposed to be, remember it’s on the first floor, go to the first floor, get stuck behind a group of slow walking dumbass teenage boys who think that they’re hot shit as they walk out of Spencer’s Gifts in their TapOut shirts and exposed plaid boxers (even though everyone in the mall knows their not because no matter how many times they say, “she looks like this one chick I nailed,” you know they’ve probably never even touched a breast and the most sexually advanced situation they’ve ever been in was just last week when they first tried masturbating in the shower), then you get to the store you wanted to go to, but it’s crowded, so you grab the one thing you need and sit in line for 20 minutes and then book it to your car.  And you humans find this shit fun.

Fun?  Screw that.  If we could live in a place without a single Hot Topic, I feel the world might be a better place.  And to be honest, how has Yankee Candle not been busted yet?  A chain store that stays afloat selling nothing but candles?  Please, that shit has to be a front for some kind of shenanigans.  “LOOK AT THIS KIOSK.  A GREEN BAY PACKERS CELL PHONE CASE FOR $20? FUCK YEAH!”  Fuck no.  I’m not saying you all shouldn’t go to the mall, but I’m just saying you should all stop pretending that you want to, because we all know it sucks.

Take it easy,

-Panda


I Hate Lettuce

Did you ever notice how people think we’re stupid?  Not the kind of stupid like “I failed all my schooling so I had to join the army” stupid, I’m talking the “Oh, I like shiny things” stupid.  I mean, everyone is always telling you the obvious things but making them seem profound.  Everyone is trying to the most insignificant things seem important.  I’m talking about nutritional-facts-on-bottled-water level of bullshit here.  There are examples of this garbage everywhere you look.

Take for example whenever you are looking to get a new or used car.  The salesperson usually goes on and talks about this and that and specifications of exactly how many liters the engine is and how many horsepower it is as if I’m about to haul around an entire Amish village but don’t have enough reins to use actual horses.  But then they also bring up something I find interesting: power windows and power steering.  Really?  Now, I remember in the old car we had when I was growing up there being the hand-crank variety of windows, but I never remember being all that upset that I had to take five seconds out of my day to do so.  And with power steering (for those of you who don’t know what power steering is, it’s the reason for the difference in effort that you have to exert between turning the wheel with the car on and off (This means that you can eat your Big Mac even while turning, as long as your good at the whole palming the wheel things (But speaking of eating in the car, have you seen the size of cupholders in new cars?  They are fucking insane.  And they even have those flip down things with the soft-ish rubber/plastic things that hold smaller drink cups in place, but even those are way too big for normal people containers likes cans and 20-ounce bottles.  It’s as if the car companies are telling us that the smallest soda we should ever drink while driving a car is 68 ounces (It’s a Toyota, you know they were probably like, “I know it’s too big, but Americans will just get bigger cups to fill them anyways, so don’t sweat it.”))).  But really, they literally don’t even make cars without power steering anymore.  It’s ancient technology.  It’s like a rotary phone or a television dial or children’s toys that you actually had to push around by hand before the kids these days just got fucking lazy and can sit on the couch while they dick around with the remote for their fire truck trying to find a way to get it to drive over their sister.

And it’s not just the used car salespeople either, but even our teachers.  I’ve taken a couple fiction writing classes at Marquette, and I did fairly well in those classes.  But one thing that irks me is what my teachers have told me about my writing.  They say overall it was pretty good, and with a little bit of revision it might be called excellent.  However, every fucking time I use the word, “gunna,” they tell me that I’ve spelled it wrong.  Apparently, it’s spelled, “gonna.”  Gunna/gonna is a contraction of the phrase, “going to.”  That being said, it’s not actually a fucking word.  It doesn’t exist.  It’s a colloquial contraction used by people to get rid of an extra syllable that we clearly don’t have time to enunciate because we have yet to finish our fucking 68-ounce diet Coke (it’s not that I drink diet soda because I think it’s healthier, or better for my teeth, but it’s because when I drink 68 ounces of regular soda I get a stomach ache, and if I get a stomach ache, I can’t digest the bamboo properly) (And of course by, “68 ounces,” I really mean 27 ounces, because you need to put a shit ton of ice into it, as if the soda doesn’t already come out of the tap cold (Why does soda taste better from the tap than from cans or bottles?)).

But all of that really isn’t all that bad.  I could deal with it, but only if there was just one teeny-weeny itsy-bitsy concession from the world:  Stop making lettuce out to be this magical wonderfood that should be looked at as if it makes any meal so much more delicious and nutritious.  Yeah, I’m sure that club sandwich with a pound various cured meat product and three types of cheese is going to help you slim down that FUPA.   And everyone has eaten at Subway, so you all know that you have to tell them, “just a little bit of lettuce,” just so you can actually have good shit on it.  My issue with lettuce is two-fold really.  Number one is that it sucks. The shit doesn’t hold a candle to bamboo.   It’s just a crispy, green, leafy thing that doesn’t taste like anything, let alone anything good.  (I mean, yeah, we all put it on our sandwiches and burgers and whatnot, but when was the last time that you were actually like, “You know what, I really could go for some lettuce?”  (It’s not like you’re making dinner and you realize you don’t have lettuce and you run to the store because there is just no way that you could eat dinner without it (Even when you’re having BLTs, how many of you would just be like, “Fuck it, I’ll just have the bacon and tomato sandwich?”)))  And number two is that people call food that is really nothing more than lettuce by all these pseudonyms in order to make it out to be something that isn’t lettuce and doesn’t suck.  Cabbage?  I don’t like gross, waxy lettuce.  Cole Slaw?  I don’t like gross, waxy lettuce with a bunch of mayo.  “The dish is served on a bed of crisp romaine.”  That’s cool, I still don’t like lettuce.  “Sir, we’ve got a wonderful baby arugula salad today.”  Goddamnit, I don’t like baby lettuce either.  “And our house salad is carrots, cucumber and mixed greens/spring greens/summer greens/fall greens.”  Fuck you, I said I don’t like lettuce/lettuce/lettuce/lettuce.

And to think that these are only three different examples of the dishonesty and deception that are so rampant in this world today.  I mean, yeah, maybe they are just trying to earn an honest dollar, but then again, fuck ‘em.  They don’t need to lie to me.  So, Panda Cubs, as you go through the world today/tomorrow/forever, don’t let yourself get lied to.  Man up.  Woman up.  And most importantly, get yourself some.

Take it easy,

-Panda