Wednesday, November 11, 2009

All I wanted was a cheeseburger...

When I woke up for work today at 0230 (that’s 2:30 AM for some of you), I was a bit surprised to find that Mrs. Steve had placed a copy of my DD Form 214 on my laptop next to my car keys. A DD214 is your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (ie: Discharge Papers is the easiest explanation). Needless to say I was puzzled, until she told me that with today being Veteran’s Day, I could hop on over after work to Applebee’s and get a free meal with proof of my service.

Cool. Verrrry cool.

So I went to work and skipped my usual 8AM lunch, to be sure I had room for what I daydreamed of all morning, either a medium rare steak or a juicy bacon cheeseburger. It was pouring rain sideways all day, and a nice hot meal would really brighten my day.

Work finally ends and I fight the lunch-hour traffic idiocy on my way to my Meaty Mecca.(People here can't drive properly on dry roads on a clear sunny day. Throw in the least bit of precip, and I may as well be driving convoy in Fallujah). Finally, Applebee’s is in sight. However, there’s a glitch. The place is absolutely slammed. There’s a line out the door. I drove around the building 3 times and not a single parking spot to be found. I finally ended up over a hundred yards away on a side street in the grass. It seems that every single military retiree, veteran, and active duty body in Charleston had descended on the place. It’s 5 miles from the Air Force base and about 10 miles from the Navy base.

I waited in the car for like 20 minutes or so, waiting for the rain to let up, and all the while more and more people kept piling in. Carload after carload of impossibly young troops out for lunch. Yet another shiny new Mustang pulls up & disgorges a pair or post-pubescent defenders of democracy, dressed alike in their plaid shorts, flip flops, and Ed Hardy t-shirts. Combine their ages and I think I’m still older by a year or two. Been out of boot camp for five whole minutes, they had the day off, and they wanted their free lunch. I got up for work before basic trainees even get up, and I get an Applebee’s that looked like Wal-Mart on Black Friday.

I hate lines & crowds & rain. Defeated, I drove away dejectedly. No reward today for my Cold War service. I ended up eating a rather mediocre lunch in a deserted Popeye’s. All I wanted was my cheeseburger, and ended up with indigestion from red beans & rice.

Oh well; there’s always next year.

On the plus side, my friend Wil was able to get the day off today. One of his co-workers actually donated a vacation day so that Wil could be off on Veteran’s Day.The dude verily insisted that Wil get the day off. That’s class act, I tell ya’.


The Right Guy said...

Hopefully I took care of it.

Soloman said...

I saw your post title and couldn't help think of "Institutionalized" which I'm guessing was your influence?

Bummer about all the youngn'z scarfin' chow while you missed out. Maybe if you went in tomorrow and gave them a sob story they might make it up to you..?

Either way - thanks for your service.

Anonymous said...

And a sincere hat tip to Applebee's.

jay son said...

not to rub salt in your wounds, but due to your call this morning, i got the fiesta lime chicken. very tasty.
you were in,and this would not be the first time you got pissed on in the chow line. should have stuck around. i'll buy you lunch in atlanta sometime.

Snarky Basterd said...

Wil's coworker sounds awesome.

I never do the Applebees thing. It reminds me too much of the mess hall. I have enough memories of that place to last a lifetime, particularly when it when it came from the back of a deuce and half.

Steve: The Lightning Man said...

Wow...someone else out there knows that wonderful old chestnut of a song by suicidal Tendencies...(All I wanted was a Pepsi, just one Pepsi!)

I shan't go in with a sob story. I refuse to go in with a sense of entitlement. It's just a burger, and I can't really bitch when there's plenty of people out there who didn't get to eat at all yesterday.

Yeah, gang, it ain't the first time I got pissed on in the chow line. Beats eating green watery eggs and cold soggy "bacon" and roofing-paste grits from Mermite cans off the back of a duece, no?

Anonymous said...

Nice of Applebees. Maybe they weren't expecting such a big crowd. Next year they should make the offer good for the whole week--cut down on the rush.

Brooke said...

Dang. Sorry you missed the burger. If you were here, I would've grilled you one!

Bill Cunningham of 700wlw owns a couple of restaurants in the Cincinnati area, and he gave away free meals to vets and active duty servicemen yesterday.

The Right Guy said...

I tried. This is the response I got:


Thank you for letting us know about the blog from this Veteran. Applebee's, as a company, served over 100,000 guests that day and what we did for our Veterans and active Military was one of my proudest moments in my 25 year career with Applebees. As a company I know that next year will be even bigger (if possible) and Applebee's will be planning for this event all year I'm sure. We have to celebrate this day with open arms to our Veterans but extending it would be impossible because of the 100,000 guests we served leaving many more that didn't want to wait for the crowds to dissapear (because they never did). I am dissapointed about the Veterans we couldn't get to because of the popularity of the event and the crowds it attracted but once again, thank you for bringing this to my attention.

Marcus Queen
Director of Operations
Whit-Mart, Inc.
(843) 609-7456

To Create and Nurture a Culture that Develops Pride and Excellence within our TEAM, a Passion for our Food and Hospitality, that Delivers Excellence to our Guests!!

Steve: The Lightning Man said...

I'm exceptionally touched & grateful that you'd go to bat for me like that. I appreciate your efforts on my behalf. That was class act all the way, and I thank you.

Amusing Bunni said...

That was a cool Post. I'm glad Applebee's was honoring the Service Men & Women. I'm sorry you didn't get to have your cheezeburger. Better luck next year, and thanks for your service too.

Krystal said...

When I stop vomiting and can handle raw meat again, I'll not only make you a cheeseburger, but a juicy melt in your mouth filet mignon with my own marinade. Just name your day and head on over.

Steve: The Lightning Man said...

Hmmm, ya'll are only a couple states away.....