It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Who knew the epoch Charles Dickens novel would serve as a "meatloaf microcosm" in 2012. When anyone goes to a restaurant and purposely orders the meat loaf, I'm left bewildered and perplexed. Why would anyone purposely choose such lackluster cuisine? Spaghetti is another fine example. The same conundrum exists when people go through all the trouble to fire up the grill. What are you gonna make? Hot dogs! Ohhh, I see. What a quaint way to reward the masses.
I've always had difficulty with meatloaf (the lowercase product), and even more so, Meat Loaf (the uppercase human). But let's start with the food. Growing up, meatloaf was something I rarely got excited about. My mom would make it about twice a year. I vaguely recall her dumping large quantities of corn flakes into a mixing bowl. She claimed it would "stretch" the value of the meal. As a 6 year old kid, I had trouble comprehending the merging of breakfast cereal and hamburger meat. To this day, it still leaves me flustered.
But last night, I had a meaty reawakening. My golf partner J-Rec presented me with a plastic "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" container. I took a brief glimpse and then stashed it in the frig. Then, we set out on our golfing expedition.
So we're driving down National Road. All of a sudden, we hear this rumbling, thunderous sound barreling toward us. A man in his late 20's with a dark crew-cut weaves past us and then slams on his brakes at the Washington Avenue intersection. The idiot's entire muffler is dragging all over the place, whooping up all kinds of hella-noise. I look over at Justin, "Why the fuck was that necessary? Did he really need to shave off those precious 3 seconds. And what the fuck is up with that muffler?" It sounded like a bunch of Bell-Dirty & Shady Hole Cracker Town motorcycle gangs hitting up "The Lube" for bike night. You know... it's Quaker Steak and Lube in the Highlands. Where you order the steak salad and the waitress cheerfully inquires, "And what kind of lube would you like as a dressing?" I cringe as she methodically runs down the list... "Italian, Ranch, Vaginal, French, Raspberry Vinaigrette (disgusting), Thousand Island..." Did she really just throw in the word "vaginal?" Lamentably, the answer is yes.
So anyway, we're sitting at the light. He looks back at us with this coked-up, methed-out, evil glare. This guy is just pissed off. Then he starts violently hitting the accelerator and slamming the brake, as if he was aggressively masturbating his cock with this deranged look of acrimony. 3 separate times for what possible purpose I have no idea. This guy was just begging for a confrontation. I thought it would be best to simply keep our distance. What if the asshole slams it in reverse and plows into us? Well, the light turns green and the fuckhead illegally overtakes a white Jeep Liberty. The clanging muffler noise did little to arouse the suspicion of the cops. Yep, two cops were nearby. One on some kind of tri-scooter moped. The other was in an unmarked, but obvious Ford Crown Victoria with more antennas than a Vulcan transport vessel. Maybe they ended up pulling him over. Or maybe they got sidetracked, investigating an overturned garbage can in Woodsdale. I do not know.
After getting absolutely pummeled at Crispin, I returned to the homestead. I summoned all my courage and removed the lid. Inside its confines was a bountiful rhombus-shaped serving of homemade meatloaf.
I carefully sliced it into 3 separate slabs and zapped it in the microwave. There was still some leftover oven-baked "beer bread" from Sunday night. You might ask, what kind of beer was used - the answer... Busch can. Tonight's dinner would consist of meat and bread. Didn't sound too appetizing. How mistaken I would be.
Texture - Perfectly encrusted on the outside, warm and moist on the inside. Not entirely unlike a youthful Eoff Street hooker prepping for a "Wednesday hump-night-throw-down" in center Wheeling.
Format and Taste - One normally conjures up an image of something termed "meat pile." I usually think of meatloaf in terms of heaping chunks, or quadrants, if you will. The seasoning for each slab was spot on. Was there a hint of tarragon? Perhaps.
Bonus - A paper-thin layer of pepperoni on the inside! When properly warmed, the natural oil from the pepperoni leaked out. Reminiscent of the earlier "lube" imagery. And lest ye forget, an ample swatch of cream cheese sent me into culinary nirvana.
So yeah, that was some might damn fine meat loaf.
But alas, there is another Meat Loaf. It is this particular "loaf" that leaves me both sickened and enraged.
His besties call him "Meat." He was a contender on last year's Celebrity Apprentice. But he seemed to lose his mind. Overcome with the passion for his charity (it probably wasn't the VCFC - vegans for cage-free chickens), I recall him uncontrollably weeping. He launched into this bizarre, sobbing ritual. Maybe it's just me, but I hate it when they televise a blubbery fatso.
On another occasion, he goes psycho on Gary Busey. This is some good shit. Definitely worth hitting the arrow button. I think this verbal altercation is about some misplaced art supplies. Embrace Meat's hostility... for he is truly a raging Meat.
I like it when the country music dude cries out, "DON'T DO IT, MEAT!" Now that's entertainment. Personally though, I preferred it when he collapsed on stage last year in the Burgh at Station Square. If I were in the audience when Meat went down... as the crowd is left speechless and aghast... I would have yelled, "PLAY SOME SLAYER YOU FUCKING PUSSY!" Afterwards, Meat was quoted saying, "It's only rock'n'roll. It's just rock'n'roll." Uhhh, no dude. You are not rock'n'roll. I am rock'n'roll. The deranged meth-freak in the Ford Taurus was rock'n'roll. You on the other hand, were born Marvin Lee Aday in Dallas, Texas. And you, sir douchebag, wrote the all-time, worst "rock" song in the history of mankind - "Paradise by the Dashboard Light."
I will not provide a song link. I just can't do it. I'm experiencing a flash back to Mac's Club circa 1992. A slew of Wheeling Jesuit girls all named "Mary" hooping it up in the tiny corner dance floor. Rugby and lacrosse studs gaze longingly as they drink $1.00 plastic Hardees mugs of watered down Blatz. They seek a brawl with arch-rival West Liberty punks. All the while, an annoying grandpappy figure behind the bar yells, "50 cent tequila shots! Get on this you dickheads!" Meanwhile, I'm in the background thinking, "DON'T DO IT!" Just like the country music cowboy dude on Celebrity Apprentice.
I'll be watching the finale on Sunday. If Arsenio wins, I will take my own life in a most unusual fashion. I will journey to the Hajj in the holiest of lands - Mecca, Saudi Arabia. I will seek out a stampede of sweaty adult, pious male Muslims and attempt to die via crush asphyxiation. If Clay Aiken wins it all, I'll shoot for the less traumatic option... merely being trampled to death. Anyone but Arsenio. I can't stand that fuck. I guess it all comes down to one question - whom do you despise more... Meat Loaf or Arsenio Hall? Now there's a question that truly makes you go hmmmm.
Granted, it's a tough call, but when the going gets tough... I'll take Arsenio.