My conceit is that I think of myself as being knowledgeable in the ways of the world.
The truth is, the world is not only stranger than I know, it is stranger than I can know.
Even in the most mundane of daily activities though, that strangeness can sometimes shine through and, holy shit, I’m left to babble incoherently into my Mountain Dew.
Case in point.
This past weekend, my family and I were engaged in the usual weekend routine. We travel as a unit to gather food stuffs, dry goods, trim the fur when necessary and partake of honey, grubs and larvae.
It was while stopped for said grub, at a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, that the nightmare unfolded.
I’ll give you a warning, here. This story will be safe for your work, but it might not be safe for your peace of mind. Once you have been exposed to this knowledge, you cannot unlearn it without repeated applications of the Ball Peen Hammer of Forgetting +5 (lbs).
Abandon all hope, ye who read further than here.
The Kentucky Fried Chicken, for those unfortunate souls who do not live near one, is one of the strangest fast food franchises in existence. They seem to go out of their way to keep the consumer confused and avoid letting you eat their tasty yummy treats.
Their menu changes without warning. That’s the first thing. You’ll go in, and immediately wonder, ‘What the hell did they do to their menu? Do they have drinks anymore? I don’t see them.”
They will have some very tasty items that actually don’t appear on their menu at all and that you have to ask for at the counter. No joke. One I went to would have mashed potatoes and fried gravy simmered with bits of leftover chicken from the night before. They’d serve it if you asked at the early morning crowd over biscuits. No, I’m not kidding.
Some franchises just won’t carry some things, others will run out of odd stuff at random, and their prices can be pretty damn high for 3 pieces of fried chicken and a coke.
All that being said, I do get me a craving for some extra crispy, now and again.
KFC. The restaurant I go to despite their best efforts to stop me.
So I had a craving for fried chicken breast and wings, and Alex loves their popcorn chicken. Off we went.
It only took visiting two KFCs before we found one that had both items on their menu. The first KFC we visited had, for whatever reason, eradicated popcorn chicken from their menu in some kind of scorched earth anti-popcorn warfare that left me asking, “They do still make it, right?” To which the lady behind the counter answered, “I really couldn’t say.”
Like, WTF did popcorn chicken do to that franchise owner that it became the menu item that must not be named?
We stood in the middle of that KFC as I leveraged the power of the smartphone to call up a list of other KFC franchises in our area, and called ‘em up one by one asking, “Do you have popcorn chicken?”
I was smart, though. After I found one that did, answering in a tone of voice that strongly implied, “Of course! We’re KFC, why wouldn’t we have popcorn chicken, you moron”, I did think to ask if they had extra crispy breasts and wings. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I’m on to this game.
We drive back across town, ordered our delicious fried chicken, and began filling our beverage cups.
Alex chose a Mug brand root beer, and filled it himself.
Life lessons. He filled it a bit too full too fast, and the foam rose rapidly, threatening to spill over the cup.
I warned Alex that he may want to spill some of his beverage out of the cup into the drain so it didn’t overflow, making the sides of the cup sticky.
Cassie said, “You don’t have to do that to get rid of the foam.”
I looked at her as if to say, “WTF”, but what I asked was, “Oh? How else can you get rid of it?”
She looked at me in that knowing, always right way she has that lets me know I’m about to get schooled again, and said, “I learned it when I worked at Dairy Queen in high school. You can’t do it to someone else’s cup, that would be icky, but you can do it to your own cup to get rid of the foam.”
I’m just staring at her blankly. I have no earthly idea where she’s going with this. “What in the world are you talking about?”
She grins at Alex, and says “You just touch your finger to the side of your nose, and then touch the foam. All the foam vanishes, instantly.”
Alex immediately shouts “Cool!” while I just stare at Cassie in horror.
She looks at me and says, “What?”
“You’re full of… you’re full of it.”
“No, really, it works.”
“You touch the side of your nose, and then touch the foam in the cup, and the foam vanishes.”
“No, it really works.”
“I’m not kidding, it really does.”
“I’m still calling bullshit, prove it.”
“No, it’s Alex’s cup, I can’t do it to his cup.”
“I don’t care, I’ll buy another cup, I want to see the foam disappear.”
She touched the side of her nose with one finger, and I mean a touch on the outside, not some finger-mashing booger-picking low crawl. Just a gentle touch, lasting but a moment.
The she touched, just as gently, just as briefly, the foam right where it was touching the edge of the cup.
Instantly, and I mean instantly, the foam vanished, starting from that small point and spreading rapidly like some kind of scourge-created nose plague.
Just, one little touch and fwump! All the foam was gone, leaving bare liquid in a cup.
What. The. FUCK.
Okay. I’ll admit it.
I thought I knew a lot of stuff, and while I will admit I don’t know everything, I thought I knew most of the neat bits in our common everyday life.
That shit flanked me and left me flat-footed, ripe for ganking. Thank god KFC is a Sanctuary zone.
I live in a world where you can have a carbonated beverage overflowing with foam, touch your finger to the side of your nose, touch the foam, and the foam vanishes instantly.
Where the FUCK was I when this was talked about in class? Huh?
That’s what I want to know. I spent HOW many years in the public education system, and nobody thought to clue me in to this shit before now?
Hey, I was good, I took chemistry, I took physics, we even had an astronomy class. I paid attention. I paid my dues. I stayed awake through some boring ass shit, man, and some horrible teachers.
Nobody ever thought to demonstrate this shit to me?
Goddamn it, do you people even KNOW how to get kids interested in science? You show us freaky shit we can do with it, man!
How the hell did the public school system let this one go?
You know what I’m gonna tell you.
You’ve gotta go try this.
You have to go out there, to a public restaurant, get a big foamy glass of some kind of soft drink, touch your nose and then touch the foam to make it vanish.
In front of a crowd.