The Pretzel Burger and The Bucket List. #MDBP
“The burger itself is quite a behemoth, most certainly deserving of its place on the PYT “Hall of Fame.” The bun is soft and pliable, but at the same time, retains the dense elasticity you would expect from a good pretzel. The steak kind of gets lost in the mix, but the cheese wiz and the mayo sauce lend a quirky tanginess to the taste. The patty becomes kind of an afterthought in the big picture, but at the very least, it doesn’t detract from the overall flavor profile, and it adds a nice plumpness to the texture. I feel like this is an interesting combination of components, but it might be a tad too much for someone just looking for a good burger.”
This was the summer of my digestive discontent. The July heat and my balls were in the middle of a nasty divorce and the very air needed no breathe was selfishly cock teasing my lungs. A trip to the bodega was A TRIP TO THE BODEGA. Even the loosies from the Arabs on Union Ave. looked limp, dying like a dry flower in a microwave. Welcome to summer NYC 2010 OJ, your first official summer back from your stay in San Diego, here is your host: Fire hydrants and humidity.
I just couldn’t figure it out. I didn’t know whether if it was the pollution in the air or the pollution in my nightly itinerary. My chest felt like I was courting the one girl from Precious and she somehow convinced me to allow her on top. Compounded with the heavy breathing I did whenever I got anxious, I was beginning to feel like Fred from Sanford & Son whenever he was asked to do anything.
“Elizabeth I’m coming to join ya!”
My girlfriend thought I was soft as shit. Pampered like a little child, my latin lover “hey mami” looked more like a child asking for his mother. It didn’t help that I tried to turn every whine into a free back rub or a get out of sex free card. Don’t judge me: it was way too hot to fuck that summer, and hot enough to manipulate your significant other into small favors. How she still gets a “beaner” (a female boner) for me couldn’t be figured out with an abacus.
After exhausting every medical option taught to me by a lack of a good health plan and the motivation to wait in a virus filled free clinic, mainly waiting my ailments out, I went to the internet. Reading this one would assume my first stop was WebMD or a random medical advice dispensing blog. No. I went with Facebook and Twitter. After 140 characters of an impassioned plea to my digital nurse I got my answer in a one Mattie Safer.
Mattie invites me to his humble abode in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and after a brief investigative exchange writes down what appears to be witchcraft or a menu for ovulating farm animals. He then takes me to meet his “Guru”, a vocal coach who if I dropped his name it would be like spilling a gumball machine full of celebrity names. We meet in midtown in a place that’s either a dance studio or a gym. The Guru gives me a huge bottle of smart water filled with what I think Kool-Aid would be if the Kool-Aid pitcher guy was the Swamp Thing. I chugged my sea moss milkshake and express my awkward gratitude in one to many handshakes goodbye. I walk to the train station and somewhere in-between home and humility I let out a sitcom level impressive fart… followed by a few more. Soon it’s a marching band of farts loudly joining the commuters around me. To my girlfriends’ complete delight, my ailment was gas. My gas had gas. My month long battle with my chest was a pocket of gas trapped in my intestines by boogers, solved by something you would only learn if your Santeria doing grandmother really liked you and taught you a thing or two.
Tomatoes – cherry or plum only
Lettuce bell peppers
Portobello Mushrooms anything but Shitake wild rice
Celtic salt grey salt
Limes are ok……”
This is part of the diet Mattie handed me along with the “maybe you should slow down” every responsible friend is required by law to give one another. OK sure Mattie I’ll slow down on the Big Macs and my love affair with Artichoke pizza. No OJ lets throw in the drinks and the drugs too. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh yeah, OK. Uhhh, yeah OJ give that a shot.
I hug Mattie like a brother when he’s headed to war, my new diet and vitamin mineral thing he gifted me with in tow. This is a good thing. I can do this. I try to convince myself over and over while every single fast food vendor ever forms before me like an obstacle course in Hell. Eat like a grazing cow? Yeah for my health I can do this I’ve tangoed with discipline before. Now if I was sucessful that’s up for interpretation. Not get wasted for a while? Yeaaaaaahhhhhhh I got this… fuuuuuuuuuuuccckkkkk nooooooooooo. The Mad Decent Block was a week away in the city of Philadelphia. I was planning to lose my shit there!!! I cross my fingers behind my commitment to trying to take better care of myself and prayed the Guru had more green sea moss fart juice.
Click to see children crowd surfing.
The Club Quarters Hotel phone in our room is ringing like a Monday morning alarm clock. Oh cool we are late to check out of our hotel. Again. Did a tornado host a after after party in our room while we slept? No, all signs point to us after a night on the town, or painting the town red, or whatever euphemism kids use to call what can only be described as ripping Philly a new asshole. The next 15 minutes are spent hiding any incriminating evidence while packing our sweat and dirt torn garments and juggling several social media networks for a brunch spot before we leave the city of Brotherly Love. Kara decides to go with last night’s make-up while I wear a shirt I found at the block party the day before. Secretly I suspect it belongs to Roofeo from The Death Set and can’t wait to post a Twitter picture of me wearing the shirt. Maybe I’d even do a hostage post like when I stole The Noid from the Trouble and Bass studio. A text message from Sarah Lee snaps me out of my douche-bag fantasy; we are meeting at PYT on North Hancock Street.
My back feels like shit slipping out of the cab. What did I do to myself the night before? We arrived in Philly around 4pm and went from our hotel to dinner to the block party to every single after party and after-after hour offered by the Mad Decent contingency. The last thing I remembered was Dirty South Joe’s smile while he leveled a warehouse with The Captain from Trouble & Bass.
The vibe in Philadelphia was electric that weekend, soulful like a bowl of gumbo mixed with Dancehall, Merengue, Kuduro, Electro, Punk, and Dance Music providing the sound track. So much jumping and fist pumping you could have sworn Diplo was the father of some sonic revolution. I’ve never seen a stage bounce so hard or a city respond so adoringly to their hometown hero’s and their extended family. Everyone lost their shit but maintains their composure. Then the Death Set came on, and composure took a back seat to what resembled a gladiator ring of a mosh pit. The Death Set lived out their namesake. I had never been in a mosh pit, always on the sidelines with Oh My God plastered all over my face. I’ve never been in any rush to jump into street fights with strangers and moshing seemed like the closest thing without being angry. I had no plans to enter that punk hurricane but Kara kept inching me closer and closer. Before I could even suggest cowering in the safety of the Diesel photo booth I was being bounced around like a human handball.
By the time Roofeo tossed his drum kick my blue Keds were dirt brown and my t-shirt was nearly see through from sweat. I never once dropped my camera or fell down. My lungs took days to recover my breath. Fun and air are sworn enemies in my life.
But that’s not how I hurt my back.
About a month before the block party I was involved in a hit and run car accident. I was crossing four lanes of traffic when a Toyota Camry cut the curb at about 40mph. I was 3 steps from completely crossing the intersection when it knocked me back to the starting point across the street. My favorite memory after I regained consciousness was standing up after I was hit and watching a crack head screaming at me to lay down while demonstrating exactly how I should lay down. All of the witnesses one by one telling me how I should be dead, making wild hand gestures in an attempt to describe how bad my hit was. Soon the cops arrived asking me if I wanted an ambulance and/ or to file a report in the most apathetic tone known to a dictionary. My mind was a snow globe; all I saw was cops and the joint hidden on me. I limped away from an accident that should have taken my life.
There I was in the middle of a Ninjasonik set in this shoulder to shoulder, over capacity, hole in the wall in Philadelphia. The energy level was up to any number you can imagine plus one. Roofeo is beating the turntables like drums and Bathroom Sex can’t stop talking shit to the crowd. Jah Jah is leaning on a bunch of raised hands holding him up like some black skateboarding punk rock Jesus. People are climbing and flying off the stage like flies do when they land on shit. The one time I’ve ever wanted to crowd surf or stage dive was back in Woodstock 99 during the Red Hot Chili Peppers closing set. I pussied out and opted to smoke my last blunt instead. Part of me died seeing the red neck in front of me get hoisted up into the air, riding this wave of pure rock jubilee while photographing himself. Then Woodstock was set on fire while the band performed the song Fire. How could I have not seized that moment?! I wasn’t going let that happen twice.
The crowd parted like they were the Red Sea and Moses was performing on my first jump. I Went straight to the floor and landed flat on my back.
I fared much, much better my second try.
We beat Sarah Lee and Emily Rabbit to PYT only to be confronted with a free mimosa until 2pm curfew. It’s 1:30pm. 3 quick trips to the bar solved that problem. When the girls arrived they are surprised with a table holding about 12 glasses. We do not offer to share one glass. That’s the surprise.
Time to order.
WTF is a pretzel burger? On paper it sounds like the worst thing ever. Like who would combine a cheeseburger with a cheese steak and a pretzel? This has to be the fattest shit ever since The Turdunken or the KFC Double down. I can’t eat this. Mattie gave me this diet and I have to go through with it. You don’t waste people’s time like that. Your chest just stopped hurting. It’s bad enough you spent the night raging, chill… nah fuck that. I can start my diet again on Monday… shit I’ll start right after this burger. Is that Woodstock burning again? Can I even put this on my bucket list? I just discovered this thing.
It wasn’t until 4 hours after my car accident when I realized how lucky I was. It was my light when I crossed that eventful street. I followed all the rules, and still flipped over a car like a bullfighter in a chicken fight with a raging bull. There I was under a cat scan counting my blessings like a cashier counts money, carefully trying not to under or over value anything. Are we a collection of completed ideas, stacked one behind the other like pages in a flip book? How fulfilling were the moments permanently trapped on those pages? How many of those ideas where even mine? Can you control and edit the content of the pages in your flip book? Up until that accident I was just the stoner who really really wanted to but didn’t crowd surf during “Under the bridge”.
The Pretzel Burger was a tidal wave of the best thing ever.
My chest pains never returned.
On the way back to retrieve our overnight bags from our hotel concierge we come across The Forum, an old school adult movie theatre. Sara Lee can see the machine turning behind my eyes and offers to sit quietly in the back if we paid her way in. She is such an amazing wing man. The inside of the theatre is everything I had imagined, dark with a dim movie screen and a weird old hand job smell. I was too young to go into those types of theatres when they existed back in Times Square before Rudy Giuliani gutted the old New York with ordinances and police riots. How could I not enjoy this relic from an era gentrified by the Rockefeller laws? This had to be the only movie theater in on the eastern seaboard patrons were allowed to smoke cigarettes and bring in their own booze. The seats were worn in and warm like someone had just stood up. The porn star skillfully acting in the movie had pubic hair and the screen flickered like it was a projector running on VHS. The smoke in the air was the icing on a birthday cake thick to the point I couldn’t see the other movie goers nor the person I was standing next to. How gay Philadelphia “cruises” in this a place showing old and poorly shot straight people porn was beyond me… but I can see how, with the shady camel lights cigarettes and cheap vodka ambiance. All I could think about was all of the lonely that came here looking to fill the void with cheap and dangerous sex.. everyone just looking to get close real fast…