Years back, my dad was away on business for his computer consulting firm. He was staying at a Motel 6 in Wichita, Kansas. After a late night of consulting on computation machines, he stopped at a McDonald’s and ordered what he described as an abhorrent amount of food.
To translate what that might mean to you, I will say this: My dad is no fatass. He’s a lean man with glasses and an intellect that can carve you to piecesâ€¦ pieces which will then be vulnerable to a certain “rapist wit” that often echoes only inside his own skull — its genius multi-layered irony indiscernible to the average person. And he’s not one for reckless indulgence.
So by my best estimates, using a calculator for my father’s level of shame, I would put his fateful McDonald’s order at somewhere between $11 and $15, which, based on the Dollar Value Menu, could have reached an alarming caloric level.
Once he arrived “home” at the motel, he stripped down to his white fruit of the loom briefs and his black almost-knee-high socks. Sufficiently comfortable in both mind and body, he booted up his laptop and inserted the DVD for Rumble in the Bronx 2. Rumble in the Bronx 2 was a straight to DVD spinoff of a kung fu movie starring Jackie Chan. My father, who has managed an image of refined cinematic taste for over 50 years, was quite aware that this movie was going to be awful — Mom would never have allowed such artless drivel in the house.
Which is precisely why he waited until he was in Wichita, Kansas with a bag of McDonald’s in a Motel fucking 6 and a do not disturb sign on the door.
So when he choked on that fateful McNugget, the type of choking past the point of it will pass, I mean really chokingâ€¦ he knew what to do.
He threw himself off of the crumb, salt, and grease covered bed.
He hacked and gasped his way past the phone.
He inched his spasm-ing body towards the chest of drawers
And as the last remnants of oxygen were being swallowed by his body, as all the lights were going out, he summoned every ounce of human strength left in his body to lift his finger towards the “Eject” button on the laptop DVD player.
And just as he reached out to press the button, he collapsed on the floor where the resulting impact on his chest dislodged the piece of “chicken” stuck in his throat.
Now, to hear my father tell it, it all makes perfect sense.
He saw the phone. He knew where the water faucets were. He understood the mechanics and hydraulics of his digestive tract. There were many routes he could have taken to evacuate the rogue “chicken” morsel.
But even with all his understanding, he knew there was a chance, just a chance in the grand scheme of probability and quantum physics, that he would not be able to save his own life. And if that were the case, no fucking way did he want to be found in a Motel 6 in Wichita, Kansas, watching Rumble in the Bronx 2 in his underwear, murdered by his own lust for processed bird chunks and fried potatoes.
What would the neighbors say?
The sheer possibility alone was enough to shake him to his core and allow him to face death with the inner peace of a Tibetan monkâ€¦ he would risk it all to prevent such a cruel bookmark to an otherwise respectable life.