Friday, May 13, 2011

Home Again Home Again Jiggedy Jig

  I, apparently, am an ignoramus.
  Despite the fact I’m a high school graduate and have been to seven colleges (eight, if you include Klown Kollege), it doesn’t look like the Mensa Society is going to be sending me a membership application any time soon.
  So, I guess I have that in common with the cast of The Jersey Shore.
  I just got back from a trip to Virginia whereby I helped my son return from his first year at college.  It was a great experience for us and the thousands who jammed the campus, all vying for the ten parking spots in front of the dorm.  For some reason, it never occurred to me that people other than my son would also be moving home on the same day.
  Surprisingly, this is not why I am an ignoramus.  But, it is in third place.
  So, since we had to jockey around what seemed like half the population of Eastern seaboard (and South Korea-it’s a technical college, after all), the closest parking was a quarter mile away.  This doesn’t seem so bad, until you consider the ungodly number of trips to the car.  With an ungodly amount of stuff.  Without the handcart I had forgotten to bring.
  I know what you’re thinking.  Surely, this must be why my intelligence is in doubt.  No, it only checks in at number two.
  Finally, several hours after our scheduled departure, we joined the mad exodus leaving for the summer.  After exchanging a vital organ for a tank of gasoline, we got on the highway and headed north to the land of Amish and scrapple.  As we were in a beautiful spot in Virginia, the first several hours offered breathtaking panoramas of indescribable natural beauty (and the heady aroma of manure on the innumerable pig farms).
  Eventually, we began to think about dinner.  The effort of lugging several metric tons of college kid crap and preventing our testicles from dropping on the sidewalk left us famished.  Fortunately, our nation’s highways offer a plethora (NOTE: Uppity word for “heapin’ helpful”) of dining choices.
  I reminded my son about the trouble Aunt May experienced when she moved to Florida.  Since I wanted to avoid a “Southern Roadkill Surprise” (NOTE: This can be found in Pressed Ham and Interstate Surprise.  How’s that for a shameless crossover?), I decided we should eschew truck stops.
  Neither did I want any of the countless fast food joints which littered the asphalt ribbon of commerce (Hey, I’m feeling lyrically poetic tonight.  Sue me.).  Two all beef patties, faux chicken nuggets, or feline double beef burritos wouldn’t do.
  I wanted a sit-down establishment so we decided to stop at the very first Biscuit Tub we found (NOTE: This is not its real name.  I just hesitate to give them free advertising.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I don’t want to get sued).
  You probably know the type of joint I’m talking about.  Found up and down the East Coast-never more than a mile from the interstate, it seems-Biscuit Tubs offer the hungry traveler a folksy environment which conveys a General Store feel, without colorful Hooterville characters.
  I’ve seen them from Florida to Maine (if you’ve spotted them anywhere else, let me know) and they’re a family favorite.  The menu is extensive and offers breakfast all day in addition to lunch and dinner fare, including southern specialties.   
  Although, I’ll bet grits isn’t real big in Maine.  Who knows, though?  Maybe it is.  But I just can’t imagine a Mainer getting all jazzed about a bowl of flavorless Maypo.  It’s like eating watery spackle.  Yuk.
  The store portion of the “Tub” is equally wide-ranging.  That place has more bric-a-bracs, doodads, knickknacks paddy whacks, give a dog a bone than you can imagine.  Some of the candy, especially, I haven’t seen since I was a little kid in Connecticut.  Of course, they also have the ubiquitous frogs-smoking-cigar figurine.  But, really, what tourist trap worth its cheap trinkets doesn’t?
  Anyway, after being greeted by a cheerful hostess who spoke with a lovely drawl (I’ll bet the hostesses in New Jersey speak the same way), we were shown to our table.
  After ordering, I took in the array of local sports pictures, stuffed animal heads, guns, gas station signs, and rusty farm implements which smothered walls made to look like they were right off a barn.  Eventually, I tired of my tour through 20th century rural America and glanced at the little ketchup-stained game on our table in front of the spittoon.
  One of those little golf tee thingie peghole games which I like to call a “golf tee thingie peghole game,” I thought to give it a try.
  It didn’t look complicated.  All you had to do was leapfrog each tee, remove that tee, and then finish with, hopefully, one tee (NOTE: Probably a record for the most uses of the word “tee” in one sentence).
  After all, I was an educated man.  Surely, I could best any game a country bumpkin diner could throw at me.
  Well, my first try went awry (NOTE: Hey, that rhymed! I told you I was poetic this evening).  Instead of the Holy Grail of one, I was left with six tees.  Damn!  I tried again.
  Five.  Crap.
  For my third try, I analyzed the tiny pegboard with the eye of master chessmaster (gee, that was redundant).  Ignoring the engineering student across from me, I determined to visualize each possible move in advance.  Surely, I could eliminate all tees save one.
  Ten minutes later, I looked down in disbelief at four tees.
  As the waitress set our meals down, I grimaced.  There would be no time to give it another try.  Kidding myself, I scoffed that four was actually pretty good.  Any less than that required the Stephen Hawkings of little golf tee thingie games.
  My son looked at the board.  Barely visible were the scoring rules.  He read them, “One left-Genius,” “Two-Wizard,” “Three-Wise Guy,” “Four-Ignoramus.”
  That’s right. Ignoramus.
  What’s more, I got grits.
  They actually were pretty good.
  Maybe I’m not such a dope, after all.          


  1. oh man, i've been to good ole biscuit tubs several times & that stupid tee-peg-hole-boardy game is my nemesis. no matter how long i play, i can't seem to get it to under 3 pegs & that's on a good day.
    btw, this sentence amuses & perplexes me - "preventing our testicles from dropping on the sidewalk left us famished." is this generally such an exhausting task? or was it particularly difficult that day for some reason?

  2. What a great post. Organs for gas. Testicles and sidewalks and that damn golf tee game. Gets me every time. You know I could win that game when I was a kid! Go figure!

  3. Think of all the people that touched that peg thing before you handled it and then ate food. In your mouth.

  4. @Sherilin: Taken by itself, it would seem that dropping testicles does have a direct correlation to being famished. Hmm, not my intent. There were a lot of heavy boxes, it was hot, and I failed to prevent testicular freefall. 'Nuff said.
    @Bushman: Organs and testicles. I do hope I've covered all the bases.
    @Core: never thought of that. This is even worse considering I ordered a Shrimp Po-Boy. Which I ate. Using my hands.

  5. Grits don't make sense (but I'm from Canada so what do I know).

  6. I live in Biscuit Tub country and frequent them for their Chicken & Dumplings, carrots and mac and cheese. A feast. I can assure you the girls in the NJ ones do not speak with a southern accent. They are "Next" in NJ as well as CT. I do know from a waitress that works for them, they aren't allowed to wear colored nail polish. Now for the whopping $20 in tips they get a day I think that's pretty damn strict. Oh and I've gotten a 1. Only once though out of 4567 tries. Great post.

  7. Grit is something we throw on the road over here when it's been snowing. I have never considered it as a food source.

  8.’ve eaten watery spackle, have you?

    And...I’m going to admit my own less than stellar intelligence by admitting I’ve tried in vain to figure out which “chain” of quality American dining establishments you are reluctant to pimp, so - email me the name will you, so I can stop the incessant knocking on my empty cranium walls already!

    Okay...that was a funny post - I’ve been exposed to that little “Tee” game all my life - I have a dad who thinks it’s fun to mentally torture his children with chess and Hawking like mind games like this “Tee” thingy.

    I think I came in at “Five - brain dead, but still alive”!

    Great post!

    Cheers, Jenny

  9. I wonder if I'm the farthest, so far, but we've got those ol' biscuit tubs here in Colorado, as well. I feel like going just to see if my son can pass the tee game. I remember playing the game, but have no idea how close I got to 1. I'm thinking maybe I don't want to try so I don't have to make myself feel stupid.

  10. golf tee thingie peghole games and feline beef burgers, sounds like a great time was had by all!

  11. Did you have to play a game to realize this, Al?
    Love ya,

  12. This is laugh out loud hilarious..we have "Biscuit Tubs" in Branson and I always try to do the tee peg game whenever we go. Loved the statement about giving a vital organ for a tank of gas. Gas prices are ridiculous. And (one last comment) the Roadkill Surprise posts is one of the first posts of yours I read.

  13. @dbs: And grits don't make for a tasty meal, either. Except if you put maple syrup on them. Then you have a deal.
    @Barb: That's a relief about New Jersey (you don't often hear anyone say that, huh?)
    @Tony: Plus, it dries as well as plaster.
    @Jenny: Will do. I don't know why I didn't want to mention them by name. I don't think I insulted them or anything. Like calling them an "ignoramus."
    @Shannon: Colorado! I wouldn't have thought of that. Of course, I could've looked them up on the web and done a "Store Locator." But, I think we've established that I'm lazy.
    @baygirl: The boy/man had chicken and dumplings and I had a shrimp po-boy. Followed by an especially historic gastrointestinal event.
    @Robyn: No, Robyn, I usuall..HEY! I know what you mean!! I don't need no stupid game to...uh...what were we saying? Oooh, something shiny.....
    @Leslie: So it was my tale of Aunt May traveling south. I'm glad your first exposure to me wasn't pee heel cream.

  14. I eat at the local Graham Keg maybe once every decade, usually under duress... and I'm a hard core southerner. I'm not opposed to the store, just don't much care for the food. I love grits, love 'em.
    Al- I'm so glad I came back to read this post. I've been sitting here laughing for ten minutes! You pack so much in, it's almost hard to catch my breath.
    The only thing that could have improved this post would have been a video of you playing that game. The video would go viral on You Tube!