Barry Smith: Irrelativity
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
I saw Muhammad in an order of nachos.
Yep, Muhammad, the Prophet, right there in my order of nachos. I know what he looks like because I’ve seen that South Park episode. His lips were formed by slices of black olive, and they explained to me that it was not his idea, the killing and the bombing and the hatred and so forth. Not entirely his idea. He said that Bin Laden wasn’t really his spokesman, not really. I believed he was telling the truth, or at least what he believed to be the truth. I could see both the passion and sadness in his eyes. There was even a tear, but that could have been because his eyes were made of jalapeno slices.
His sour cream turban was flecked with bits of ground beef, giving it some realistic foreshortened perspective – this was a VERY lifelike plate of food – and I was thankful that I’d ordered the Nachos Grande and NOT the Nachos Supreme. Those come with pork green chili. That would have been awkward.
Why, I wondered, possibly aloud, in a world where Jesus appears in spaghetti dinners and Mother Teresa in cinnamon rolls, do I see Muhammad in an order of nachos? I don’t have any real connection to Muhammad … I just wanted a snack.
“Terrorism is very subjective,” the plate of nachos said. “Consider the history of your own country, the violence and genocide and repression and global strong-arming. And this is in no way a justification of the violence carried out in my name. Just something to think about before pointing fingers.”
He pointed a melted-cheddar finger to demonstrate.
“Everything OK here, sir?” the waiter asked. “More salsa?”
“Actually, these nachos are bringing up some points that I’m both intellectually and emotionally unprepared to deal with.”
“Oh yeah,” he replied. “The Nachos Grande. That happens a lot. Can I bring you something else from the bar menu?”
“Hmmmm … how are the mozzarella sticks?”
“I like them a lot, sir, though some people have complained that they occasionally arrange themselves on the plate in a way that resembles Hitler.”
“Oh. That’s not cool. Well, how about the buffalo wings?”
“Very spicy. Slight chance of seeing Charlton Heston in them,” he replied.
“Charlton Heston as Moses?”
“No, just Charlton Heston.”
“I’ll pass, then. How’s the tuna carpaccio?”
“Really? I’m not even sure who that is, so I doubt I’d recognize him. How about the pot stickers?
“Yeah, that would make sense, I guess. How ’bout the fried calamari?”
“That’s a little unpredictable,” the waiter replied. “It’s new on our menu, and so far we’ve had reports of L. Ron Hubbard, Jacques Cousteau and Houdini. Seems to depend on the kind of oil the chef uses.”
“Do you have any appetizers that don’t accidentally resemble someone famous?” I asked.
“Hmmm … good question. Lemmee see …” he said, running his finger slowly down the menu. “Ummm, Lincoln, Marilyn Monroe, Pee Wee Herman, Lao Tzu, Elvis – oh, but we’re out of those at the moment – Amelia Earhart, Sid Vicious, Yvonne De Carlo, Karl Malden … no, I guess we don’t.”
“All right, then … just give me whatever you have that looks like Lennon,” I said, sliding the barely-touched nacho plate towards him.
“One order of cabbage rolls coming right up,” he said.
“Oh, of course. The strawberry and goat cheese bruscetta. Excellent choice.”
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