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Journals of an Insane Genius -- October 1999

Itís 2:00 in the morning, and I think Iím gonna be sick. Surprisingly this has nothing to do with alcohol; in fact I havenít even been drinking. Originally, the plan was for me and Mel to ride up to Tucson and try to find a new dance club to go to, now that the FineLine is closed until they can find a new location. Our problem being that itís Sunday night, and despite the fact that Monday is a holiday, no clubs are open. We drove around until midnight before giving up. Instead of letting the entire evening go to waste, we decide to get something to eat at Coffee Etc. before heading home.

Colin discovered this place for us. Itís located on Oracle, north of the Tucson Mall. Itís open 24 hours, and the food, service, atmosphere, and crowd are much nicer at 2:00 a.m. than what you find at Dennyís. So Mel and I wander in and get some frozen coffee drinks while figuring out what to eat.

I just want to point out here that none of what follows is my fault. I was merely trying to take my best friend someplace nice to eat after a disappointing evening.

So while Iím examining the menu, Mel reminds me in a very taunting tone of voice that I claimed I could eat the Macho Muchacho the last time we were here. I diplomatically try to refuse, but then she starts mocking me and in an extremely sophomoric impersonation (the sincerest form of flattery) of yours truly she says,
ďOooh Iím so big. I can eat a Macho Muchacho, I just donít want to. I will some other time. Just because I always brag about always choosing something weird if itís on the menu so I can brag about it to my Daddy doesnít mean I ever back it up in front of anyone. Iím a big sissyĒ. Okay, now my honor is at stake. Sheís telling the truth about ordering the weirdest thing on the menu. On different occasions in the past this has led to the consumption of such delicacies as deep fried corn on the cob, eggs and eel, an entire sandwich dipped in batter and then deep-fried, a thirty-one-scoop sundae from Baskin Robbins, and a beer float. Iím not about to let Mel punk me out, I order the Macho Muchacho.

The dish consists of one dozen scrambled eggs, a mound of cheese, a garden of sliced peppers, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms, a heap of refried beans, all wrapped in a flour tortilla and served with even more cheese on top. Iím thinking to myself that the container of a dozen eggs in the grocery store is about the size of my forearm. I havenít eaten since lunch, itís after midnight, I should have no problem polishing off a glorified breakfast burrito thatís around that size.

Once again my powers of estimation and good judgment are woefully inadequate. Mel is rolling with laughter as the straining waitress serves this diabolical creation. Itís not just big, it is enormous. It's so massive that a couple of black olives that got too close to it were captured by itís gravity and were now in orbit around it. I swear that with the steam rising off it looks like it has developed itís own weather system. Served on a 12-inch dinner plate, this thing bore no resemblance to a burrito. The entire surface area of the plate was covered. It looked like someone had spilled cheese on a couch pillow.

Hmmm... I spend a few minutes considering the sheer magnitude of the task before me, cast my most petulant glance at a still snickering Melissa, and take the first bite. If anything, the sight of this thing with one tiny bite removed looks even more pitiful and brings a fresh wave of laughter to Mel. She winds up laughing so much that she gives herself the hiccups; some people just donít know when to quit.

I am an accomplished trencherman and I set to my task with a purpose. After about fifteen minutes I am full. Unfortunately Iíve only managed to get about a quarter of the way through. Mel is smirking. I canít give her the satisfaction. I keep eating even though Iím no longer hungry.

Fifteen more minutes and the first bead of sweat slowly rolls down my forehead. Iím about halfway through and the bites are becoming farther and farther apart. Long since finished with her Philly CheeseSteak, Mel has adopted a bored
ďwhy donít you just give upĒ expression.

Fifteen more minutes and the treachery begins. Mel can sense that I just might be able to do this if my heart doesnít seize up. So now, after coaxing me into doing something this stupid, she changes tactics.
ďTypical maleĒ, she says, ďjust going to sit there and keep doing something stupid even though you know youíre hurting yourself.Ē She has a point, this is getting painful. But do you see how sheís set me up? I donít do it and Iím a sissy, I go through with it and Iím lumped together with the ďtypical malesĒ.

My only chance of getting even is to find a way out that also annoys her. I deliberately cut off a bite and set it to the side of the plate.
ďWhatís that?Ē she asks. I reply that Iím going to eat everything except that bite because I donít want her to think that Iím just another dumb guy but at the same time sheíll *know* that I could have finished it. ďCheck and MateĒ, I boast. Obviously overmatched on all fronts, she can only resort to name calling, ďYouíre such an idiotĒ, she says.

It is now slightly more than an hour after I first waded into the Macho Muchacho. One bite is all that remains. My stomach is so distended I look like Iím beginning the third trimester of a pregnancy. I look at Mel, mutter an apology, and take the last bite.

As we walk out to the car I start laughing. Mel asks whatís so funny. ďDo you want to know the really stupid part?Ē I ask.


ďThe truth is... It really wasnít very good.Ē
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