While on our trip to West Virginia I finally tried the new McDonald’s Angus Burger. I went with the bacon cheeseburger variety (43 grams of fat!), instead of the one with mushrooms, which many people suggested. Because, let’s see… crispy strips of bacon, or cooked fungus? Hmm… hard to decide.
But I didn’t really like it. I don’t know if there was some kind of kitchen mishap, or what, but the burger served to me was one of the saltiest things I’ve ever tasted. I think it was soaked in sea water, breaded in sodium, then boiled in brine. Blecch.
I’ve considered giving it another shot, because there’s a good chance I received a non-representative version. But I don’t see it happening. I’ve been allotted a limited number of lifetime burgers, I believe, and live less than ten miles from a Five Guys.
And what am I, a complete douche?
Speaking of WV, you know the old radio my mother gave me a couple weeks back? This one? Well, it has a rather sad back-story. Wanna hear it? I sure hope so, because I don’t have much else today.
You see, my grandfather on my mother’s side was married and divorced before he met my grandmother. He had two kids with his first wife, a boy and girl. They were born in the 1920s, when my grandfather was really young. He was, apparently, a playa. I’m unclear on it.
Anyway, the girl was supposedly very sweet and nice, and liked by everyone. My grandparents were always involved in her life, and my mother says she considered her an older sister. No half-sister, but the full-blown kind.
When this girl was nineteen or twenty she got a job at Union Carbide, one of the big chemical plants near our hometown. She reportedly worked in the basement of a building, doing clerical work.
One day there was a flood, and water spilled into the office. And while helping with the cleanup, she somehow contracted tuberculosis. I guess it was in the river water, nobody’s sure.
So, she was only about twenty years old, and assigned to live in a TB sanitarium(!). This one, in fact. And that’s where she remained, until her death at the age of 29.
Can you imagine? A 1940s tuberculosis hospital — for ten years? Shit. And I walk around complaining about every little thing. A few minutes ago I was bitching because the threading was askew on my Snapple lid… Boy, oh boy.
But she supposedly maintained a positive attitude throughout, and seemed to accept the situation. At least that’s the family story; I don’t have any way of knowing. I certainly wouldn’t think any less of her if she didn’t accept it. Would you?
She loved music, I’m told, and clung to her radio and records. And that part gets to me a little. Maybe we would’ve had a lot in common? Maybe we’re kindred spirits? The stories of her positive attitude seem to indicate otherwise, but our coping mechanisms certainly line-up.
So, I’m glad to have her radio. Of all the stuff my mother removed from my grandparents’ house, that was the one item I really, really wanted. Her name is written on the bottom in pencil, along with her room number: 319.
I got some of her records too — mostly Big Band stuff, and a couple of novelty songs, like “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?” Yeah. Wonder if she would’ve enjoyed the Buzzcocks? I like to think so.
What do you think life was like in that so-called sanitarium? What was a normal day there? I bet it wasn’t anything like the Ritz-Carlton, Coconut Grove. Huh? I really wish she’d kept a diary, that would’ve been the real prize…
And how’s this for an uplifting end o’ week update? Fantastic, ain’t it? Let’s keep the good vibes flowing. Tell us about your saddest, or most interesting family tragedies, from a long time ago. Not recent stuff, that’s too personal, but stories you’ve heard about people you never actually met.
And I’m going to forego beer this weekend to give my organs a rest, and start watching Prison Break via Netflix. I’m planning to spend my Friday inside a college library, plotting and scheming and crying softly into a keyboard.
Wish me luck, and have a great weekend.
I’ll see you guys on the other side.
Now playing in the bunker.