THE CHIA PET CIRCUS
Essays and art by Matthew Curry
I used to work in the newspaper business. Now I work at a mill. I’ve written a science fiction novel called Under the Electric Sun. There’s a link to it on the right side of the screen. I’m currently writing a new one, which I think will be much better.
Lately, I’ve slipped into the habit of blogging on Sunday afternoons. I didn’t get around to it yesterday because I was busy working on the last chapter of my new novel. There’s not much left to write (I only have one scene left) but I’m staggering very slowly across the finish-line.
Rather than squeezing an essay out of my brain, I’m just going to present you with a colored pencil drawing. This is a little girl I go to church with. Her name is Abbi. I drew her back in January. The original photo was taken at a fall festival.
Here’s a drawing of my friend Ann Bisky. She writes, tweets, and creates amusing YouTube videos.
Last week, someone visited Ann’s blog and posted a link to a self-help book. Ann was annoyed with the person for using her blog as a promotional platform … but she was even more offended because the self-help book was about gambling. Ann felt like the person was insinuating that she had a gambling problem … but Ann doesn’t gamble at all.
When she told me about it, I immediately sent her a video of Kenny Rogers singing The Gambler. We had a nice little laugh about it.
Afterward, I poked around on YouTube and stumbled across more Kenny Rogers videos. I discovered some old commercials for Kenny Rogers Roasters, a food chain that served “home cooked” food and specialized in chicken. I saw those restaurants when I was a kid, but I never ate at them. (Whenever my parents wanted chicken, we headed to KFC. Colonel Sanders was a staple of my childhood. At all the important family gatherings, I remember seeing red and white buckets everywhere, speckled with warm grease.)
I haven’t seen Kenny Rogers Roasters since the early ’90s. I’ve never given it much thought, but I always assumed (in the very back of my mind) that the business sank like a rock and Kenny Rogers was sitting in a dimly lit room somewhere, hurling whiskey bottles at the wall and cursing Colonel Sanders.
However, I did some research on the subject. (In other words, I glanced at Wikipedia for seven seconds.) As it turns out, Kenny’s chicken empire is still alive and well … but not in the United States. According to the Wikipedia article, Kenny Rogers Roasters “continues to flourish in Asia, particularly in Malaysia and the Philippines.”
As I skimmed over the Wikipedia article, I was shocked and amazed. It’s so surreal (to me, anyway) to imagine people in Malaysia and the Philippines eating good ole Southern home cookin’. (Especially at a restaurant with the name “Kenny Rogers” written in blazing red letters above the door.)
For me, it’s perfectly normal to have lunch at a Chinese restaurant … or sit down in a sushi restaurant with my cousin Ellice and struggle to operate a pair of chopsticks … or go to a Mexican restaurant … or go to Outback Steakhouse, a restaurant with Australian signs hanging everywhere. But it blows my mind when I realize that people in other countries eat at American restaurants. (Think of the way Marty McFly reacted in Back to the Future 2 when he stepped into the Café ’80s.)
After I mulled it over for a little while, I realized that I’ve experienced this same feeling before. Many years ago, when I visited Germany, my friend Jochen told me that everybody refers to McDonald’s as “The American Embassy.”
I still laugh about that sometimes.
- How to Grow a Chia Pet (therealowner.com)
- Kenny Rogers Fooled Fans At Las Vegas Karaoke Bar (contactmusic.com)
- Ch-chia! (shasta828.wordpress.com)
- Chia Seed Jam (myholistichabits.com)
- Cha Cha Cha Chia! (phoodielove.wordpress.com)