Several friends and I were enjoying dinner at the Crawdad Club yesterday when our discussion turned to some of the exotic foods eaten in foreign lands, much of it creatures we spray with insecticides. Wilson Hahn had seen a documentary the previous evening showing an Amazonian native eating a grub, which is basically any white larvae that looks like it’s wearing a brown helmet. Needless to say, we were in agreement that a larvae the size of a Twinkie was something we would not care to have for dinner. I don’t like Twinkies either, but at least they don’t wriggle when you eat them.
Our conversation reminded me that the Girded Loin Restaurant, located on Main Street in Sycamore Shadows and operated by Oris and Geraldine Hocket, was once rumored to have offered “exotic” food, something the owners vehemently denied. Had those who believed the rumors considered their likelihood, they would have realized that any establishment billing itself as a “bird-free restaurant with a Christian ambiance” would be unlikely to deceive patrons, even if the Hockets didn’t instruct servers to lead prayer over dessert.
As lifelong birders, the Hockets had recently decided that it was unjust and immoral to derive such joy from watching some of their “feathered brothers and sisters” while offering others on the menu. From that day, they have served only the meat of cows, pigs, and sheep, none of which they watch with binoculars. Although the change of fare cost them the chicken and duck-eating crowd, they made up for the loss with their fellow birders—usually identified by a preference for wearing plaid and a “We Brake for Warblers” sticker on their Subaru—many of whom travelled miles to patronize one of the few bird-free restaurants in the region.
Soon after the removal of fowl from the menu, rumors of exotic fare began, instigated by the militaristic wing of the duck eaters. The Hockets ignored the scuttlebutt at first, but when their business dropped off sharply, Oris decided to counterattack, meaning he put a poster in the window. Written in large letters, it said, “WE DO NOT SELL EROTIC FOOD.”
This is why I recommend that signs intended for public display be proof-read by a second party.
The sign was in the window for less two hours, but long enough to incur the wrath of the populace. Though a simple misspelling written in the heat of anger, Oris had used the word “erotic.” In conservative, God-fearing Sycamore Shadows, he would have angered fewer people by offering a 20% discount to whores and junkies. Shunned at church and ignored on the sidewalks, the Hockets feared a mob would storm the empty restaurant with torches and pitchforks.
Thankfully, although Sycamore Shadows is frequently susceptible to mass hysteria, reason prevailed. After several weeks the poster was forgotten, the ducks eaters declared a truce from their new headquarters at Sotty Hoff’s Pub, the public acknowledged the injustice of the rumor, and birders once again ate meatloaf with Christians.