Taco Bell

It’s not uncommon for a young man, overflowing with exuberant lust and apprehension, to write a love song to a woman who has captured his heart. It is very uncommon for a young man to do the same for an international fast food establishment.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. For the sake of continuity, I’ll start at the beginning.

My love affair with Taco Bell started back in high school. I know I annoyed a lot of my lunch time friends by wanting to go to Taco Bell for lunch every single day. Sometimes the urge to get my hands on a fifty-nine cent bean burrito was so strong that I would totally forget the fact that I was supposed to be in Mr. Eggert’s second period algebra class. To cover my tracks, I never turned in my math homework and often times got in arguments with the teacher and said mean things about him outside of class. To this day, my parents never discovered the true reason behind my insolent behavior.

The relationship only got stronger when I went off to college. And, no, I’m not talking about my high school algebra teacher. Taco Bell franchises were located on both sides of the CSU campus. The pinnacle of my love for Taco Bell occurred when my girlfriend at the time moved into an apartment that was directly across the street from the Bell. I would ride my bicycle over to her place, get enough tacos and burritos for the both of us, and walk up the stairs to her apartment. It was an entire evening of fun for six dollars. If I only realized at the time how perfect my life was back then, I wouldn’t have let it change so drastically. *Sigh*.

Well, back to the story. I finished up with college and my girlfriend and I went on to get a job in my slice of the real world. I was molded into a computer geek which gave me the financial resources to eat fast food at will. In retrospect, I suspect I started to take it for granted. Taco Bell was always there for me and I no longer had to sacrifice anything to enjoy it. But gone too was the anticipation of another reunion. The fire burned less brightly.

Everything changed in 1999 when the company I worked for at the time decided to send me to work in Amsterdam for six months. I moved everything I owned into storage and got on an airplane with nothing more than a backpack and two suitcases. When I got there I quickly discovered some shocking facts about world travel. The weather in other parts of the world is not comparable to Colorado, the customs officials don’t care what you bring into Holland, and, most importantly, Taco Bell is not keeping up with other fast food establishments in their plans for world occupation. During the worst of my withdrawal period, I wrote the following song expressing my feelings:

“Taco Bell, Village of the Damned”

Here is the story that I’ve got to tell
About my favorite place to go and eat– its called Taco Bell

One day I got on a plane and flew across the sea
Unaware of the fate awaiting me
You see they have BK and they have Mickey Dee’s,
But Taco Bell has still yet to be.

So now I’m a long way from home and I just don’t see
That plastic tacky bell calling out to me

Taco Bell, you’re my water in the sand
Taco Bell, the franchise promised land
Taco Bell, you’re my favorite one night stand
Taco Bell, the village of the damned

And so I just can’t sleep at night
Knowing that I’m a world away from that
drive through open twenty-four hour culinary delight

Despite the obvious pain of being away from something so near and dear to my heart, I survived my trip to Holland and came back to Colorado with a deeper and more mature understanding of my relationship with Taco Bell. We started off young and giddy-wanting to be together every day and talking to each other until all hours of the night about anything and everything that came to mind. Things cooled down a bit after that, and the shock of moving half way around the world from her put everything in perspective. These days I take comfort in knowing that when I’m having a bad day I can invite her over, make a big bowl of popcorn, and watch a movie on the couch with my arm around her. We have known each other for so long that we don’t need words to communicate. Taco Bell will always be there for me.

Another Interview With Ertok

My career path to becoming a lounge singer has been somewhat uneventful this week, so I’ve decided to field some of the questions I’ve gotten from inquisitive readers who want to know more about Ertok. For those of you new to the site, Ertok is an Evil Alien Overlord who, among other things, oversees the operations here at newfunny.com.

O: Do you like working with the Omar?
E: His performance so far has been acceptable. However, on the recently modified “Staff” page, Omar has associated me with one of the animated space aliens from the animated television show “The Simpsons”. On a superficial level, I comprehend the analogy, but on a deeper level it becomes clear that my personality more closely matches that of Kodos rather than that of Kang. I am currently considering punishment for this grievous error.

O: How many aliens are in the vicinity of planet Earth at this moment?
E: I am currently the only one. My responsibility is to scout out the planet and analyze your defensive capabilities before the main invasion force arrives. My involvement in this web site has minimal strategic value to the overall invasion plan, and is analogous to a small boy playing with and enjoying his pet ants with the aid of a primitive transparent optical refracting device.

O: You have implied that you don’t look like Kodos or Kang from The Simpsons. Do you resemble other aliens from popular movies or television shows?
E: In reality, I can emulate the look of any of the carbon based life forms that scurry about on your planet’s surface through a special device located on my space vessel. For example, I could exit my ship looking like any of your world leaders. Or Pauly Shore.

O: Is this entire interview a setup for a series of wacky adventures involving you and other members of the newfunny staff while you wait for the invasion force to arrive?
E: Did I mention that the XR-2300 neural interface I implanted in your head gives me the option of making your head explode?

O: I suppose we can skip that question and edit it out later.
E: I suspect that would be in your head’s best interest.

O: Speaking of the XR-2300, isn’t that a muffler bracket for the ’79 Pinto?
E: No, that’s the XR-2200. The 2300 is the lunar shuttle.

O: So, have you finished your assessment of our planets defenses? What did you conclude?
E: My research has concluded that your species is no match for us. The best chance you have to defend yourself is to annoy us to death with your gender homogenous adolescent music organizations. HA HA HA… [SNORT] [SNORT] [COUGH] [COUGH]. Edit out the snorting part too.

O: So how much time do we have until the invasion force arrives?
E: According to my calculations, they should have arrived several of your Earth days ago. I suspect the problem has to do with your archaic time system. Basing a calendar on small furry animals is not very efficient.

O: That sounds like yet another piece of information that might be relevant for future story lines involving evil alien overlords. Do you agree?
E: [pulls out a remote control device with a button on it labeled “blow up Omar’s head” and slowly runs his finger around it]

Well, look at the time! I would like to thank Ertok for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer all of these questions. If anyone has questions for Ertok, please feel free to sent them to newfunny.com. If we use your question on the web site, you get a free T-shirt from the back of my closet that I never got around to giving to charity.

Twelve Steps to Becoming a Lounge Singer

A few weeks ago I finished a story about my goal in life of becoming a lounge singer. I sat down, progressed through the normal process of putting my thoughts into words, and finally published the story on the web site. I was proud of myself for creating a witty and insightful glimpse into the inner workings of my mind. The misspelled words were few, the grammatical errors were minor, and I even managed to make the idea of gratuitously beating up a helpless old Dutch man seem funny.

Fortunately, something happened to me at a local drinking establishment on Thursday night that made me understand the story wasn’t finished. Of course it was finished in the sense that I emailed the story out to everyone with no way of getting it back. But in another sense it has just begun. My eyes opened up to the bigger picture.

I feel my situation is quite similar to the artist who painted “A Friend in Need” (often times referred to as “Dogs Playing Poker”). While I could dedicate an entire story to the social ramifications of this piece of art (NOTE TO SELF: write an entire story about Dogs Playing Poker sometime in the future) , I would like to focus on the fact the painting contains not just six dogs sitting at a table playing poker, but also a painting in the background. I can just imagine C. M. Cooledge when he realized the need for this additional image in order to complete his masterpiece. His vision was complete.

This phenomenon is not uncommon even in our high tech society. Often times I find myself sitting on my couch perfectly content watching, say, live stadium motocross when I suddenly become aware of a world existing beyond the boundaries of large piles of dirt, motorcycles, and even ESPN. What I like to call the “bigger picture” is ever changing, but often times gives me a glimpse into the sights and sounds of an entirely different aspect of the world around me– often times in the form of a game brought to me courtesy of the National Football League. An extensive analysis of the television manual led me to the more common term of “picture in a picture”.

So what does this have to do with being a lounge singer? Well, the other night I made the transition from singing in the shower all by myself to singing in front of a bar full of people with the aid of a microphone and Karaoke equipment. For the first time in my life, I actually got up the nerve to get up on stage and let everyone hear my wonderful singing voice. My point here is that singing Karaoke is the motocross on the television screen of my life.

I don’t think I can give a very objective measure of my performance. I spent half the time on stage trying to come to grips with the fact that I was hearing my own voice a half a second later and I lot louder then I normally would when singing in the shower. Once I got used to those differences, I was able to do a half way decent job. I also like to give myself credit for not locking up my knees and remembering to breathe in and out on a regular basis. I have to say that despite the initial worries I had before going up on stage, I really enjoyed the experience. For the record, I sang “Take it to the Limit” by the Eagles.

I know that I am still a long way from my ultimate goal of becoming a lounge singer. My inexperience with musical instruments and the fact that I don’t know of any drinking establishments that use lounge singers are both issues that I will have to address somewhere down the road. I have to play it by ear so to speak because I drove over to the local book store and was unable to find “Lounge Singing for Dummies”. But the fact that I am actively working toward one of my goals is a positive step.

I don’t know how long its going to take for me to become a lounge singer. There is not a formula I can employ that calculates exactly how many steps are involved in this process. As far as I can tell, it is one of those metaphysical questions similar to “how many roads must a boy walk down before he becomes a man?”, “if a tree falls on a lumberjack in the forest, does anyone enjoy the irony?”, or “is Richard Simmons a robot?”

More to come on this topic in the future, if all goes well.