I like going to the movies. I have almost 800 DVD movies and a fairly impressive home theater setup with 5.1 surround sound and a projector that makes a seven foot wide picture, but still I find myself wanting to go to the theater. There’s something about the overpriced popcorn and noisy kids and sticky floors and stinky hallways that really completes the experience for me.
So tonight I went to the movies and, realizing that like usual I had forgotten to eat since breakfast, I decided to have nachos. Nachos amaze me. Chips. Cheese. Peppers. A whole poorly-rounded meal in a handy plastic tray. It’s the kind of invention that makes me think that in a very close parallel universe, Mexico would be the only superpower.*
So as I was eating my cardiovascular time bomb and listening to my arteries hardening, I couldn’t help but be reminded of another plastic nacho meal I had a few months ago. These were from a 7-Eleven. I was in a rush and I was looking for something quick that I could eat in the car. Something that I could finish easily with one hand without making a mess of my lap or being charged with vehicular manslaughter. There were a lot of good options. Nachos were not a good option.
The compelling thing about these nachos though wasn’t their plastic tray full of stale tortilla chips. The main selling point was that they were displayed next to a shiny machine with an even shinier red button on it. Above the shinier red button was label which read, “Push here for free cheese.”
This was cause for much musing.
I found myself wondering just how much free cheese I was eligible to receive. Was this cheese somehow related to the “government cheese” that Chris Farley once mentioned? Would they stop me if I tried to make off with a Super Big Gulp full of 44 ounces of free cheesy goodness or would I be charged for the cup? Should I bring a bucket next time I go to 7-eleven?
Then I started wondering what the cheese was actually made of. Let’s face it, you never see the Punjabi guy behind the counter grating a wheel of cheddar into the top of the free cheese machine. Since this particular tray of nachos, I’ve been paying attention. In addition to a shortage of cheddar wheels, you never see a big bag of powdered cheese mix or liquid cheese concentrate. It’s as though this shiny machine materializes free cheese out of thin air. If only I could harness the mysteries of the free cheese machine I could one day rule the world!
It was only after a great deal of detailed observation and complex reverse engineering that I finally hit upon it. Next to the shiny button labeled “press here for free cheese” is an equally shiny button with a label that reads, “press here for free chili.” It’s this second button that makes me think two things. First, 7-eleven has to be one of the most magnanimous corporations in the world with all of this free food. Second, the shiny free food machine must work on the same principle as the soda fountain. Somewhere in the bowels of the building have to be vast reservoirs of various petroleum byproducts that can combine to form cheese (or chili if you modify the ratios).
Still I had the same problem of a point of origin. In all of my time in 7-elevens around the world, I’ve never witnessed the delivery of a vat of cheese base chemicals. Then it hit me: it doesn’t have to be delivered, it can be piped in…
Imagine if you will a huge free cheese terminal where free cheese tanker trucks come and go at all hours of the night. Central to the free cheese pumping and transferring operations would be a free cheese manifold that would distribute free cheese to 7-elevens around the globe. Imagine if we could use this delivery method with other things like, for example, Jell-O or oysters.
I am so enamored with the idea of a cheese manifold that I’ve decided I’ll include one in everything I ever invent from now on. Even if there’s no excuse to involve cheese (or manifolds for that matter) any device I devise will contain something called a cheese manifold. Watch for it, it will become my trademark. The cheese manifoldTM.
Anyway, it’s possible I may be going off the deep end. If you happen to get away from a 7-eleven with a Super Big Gulp of free cheese, let me know. For that matter, if they stop you at a standard Big Gulp (with only 32-ounces of free cheesy goodness) let me know.
*Mexicans also invented carpooling. Is there anything they can’t do?