JERK OF THE WEEK: Week of Hell, Part 1: Stomach Virus
I honestly have no idea how I'm typing this right now. I keep running to the bathroom every 10 minutes or so to dump liquid out of my mouth and/or buttocks. Sorry if that made you squeamish, but imagine how I feel right now.
Yes, I currently have a stomach virus, and it's the worst. Not only am I vomiting and squirting diarrhea, I also have hot and cold flashes, where I'm either perspiring as if I were in a rainforest or tucked away in Rosie O'Donnell's armpit, or shivering despite setting the heat in my house to 80 degrees. And if all of this weren't enough, I'm also extremely fatigued. It's taking an insane amount of energy just to type these two paragraphs, and I constantly find myself wanting to slump into my couch - that is when my stomach doesn't force me to empty out more pink and brown fluids into my toilet.
There is a story behind my illness, and it all started at a Pizzeria Uno on a recent Friday night...
I'll never forget the first time I saw a Pizzeria Uno. Like any little fat kid, I loved pizza. My mom used to order from the local pizza joint named Station Pizza - still my preferred pizzeria - about once a week when I was a child. I was quite the portly fellow, plus I swam competitively and needed the calories as a consequence, so I was able to devour an entire large pizza and an order of cheese fries by the time I was 12. Wait, hold on...
Sorry, I just puked because I thought about cheese. Ugh.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, pizzerias. We ordered from Station quite frequently, but sometimes we had Pizza Hut, Little Caesars or Dominos as a change of pace. It was a good time no matter where we ordered from because pizza is awesome.
However, everything changed one day. I went to Blockbuster (R.I.P.) with my family and saw that something called a "Pizzeria Uno" opened next door. It apparently was a "Chicago grill" and happened to be established in 1943.
I remember being both intrigued and intimidated at the same time. I wanted to try Uno's pizza, but at the same time, I was turned off because it seemed like everyone knew what this Pizzeria Uno was all about except for me, given that it came here from a foreign land and had been around for half a century. I hate the feeling of being left out and not knowing about stuff - which would explain why I hate superhero movies, since I don't get all of the references because I never read the comic books growing up - so I was conflicted. Eating new pizza or not dealing with ignorance? Even as a fat kid, this was a very tough call!
This may surprise you, but I chose to avoid unfamiliarity at the cost of a new pizza experience. That's how much something like this bothers me. So, I went 18 or so years without trying Pizzeria Uno until that fateful Friday night.
I went to Neshaminy Mall that evening with my girlfriend Anti-Facebook Girl to buy a birthday gift for my mom. We were both pretty hungry, and we would've eaten at the food court had the mall not asininely closed at 9 p.m. I don't understand why it couldn't stay open until 10, like a normal establishment, but whatever. We walked out to her car when we noticed a Pizzeria Uno across the street from the parking lot.
Willing to now face my fears as a grown man, I asked her if she wanted to eat there. She just shrugged her shoulders and said, "Whatever you want." And just like that, I was about to confront one of my demons.
I expected to have to leap through a ring of fire or recite all of the different styles of pizza to obtain my meal, but that surprisingly was not the case. The only challenge was perusing the menu, which was so big that it looked like George R.R. Martin wrote it. There were no penises in it though, so it clearly wasn't one of his works.
It literally took me about 10 minutes to figure out what I wanted. I saw a page that had a "$6 and $6" combo where customers could choose two dishes for $6 each. I opted for a deep-dish pepperoni pizza and a barbeque chicken salad. We also ordered cheese sticks served with marinara sauce.
I could hardly contain myself. It seemed like an eternity until our food arrived, but the time had finally come. Our waitress placed down our two salads and Anti-Facebook Girl's pasta dish. And then I saw my deep-dish pepperoni pizza:
What... the... f***... is... that...? It was a freaking Bagel Bite!
I just sat there in silence for two minutes.
Anti-Facebook Girl: You look so upset.
Me: I... how... what... I don't know...
Anti-Facebook Girl: The waitress should've at least told you how small it was!
Me: I... I don't know what to say...
Anti-Facebook Girl: Well maybe the cheese sticks will be better.
Yes... yes! The cheese sticks! I had almost forgotten about them. Our waitress "forgot" to bring them out (I'm quoting "forget" because she was pretty hefty, and she may have eaten them on her way to the table) so I reminded her. She apologized and said they'd be ready shortly.
She brought out the cheese sticks five minutes later. I didn't think my heart could be broken any more than it already was, but I was wrong:
Wow! They made a grilled cheese sandwich and sliced it up! Nice "cheese sticks," Pizzeria Uno.
It's safe to say that this was one of the most disappointing meals of my life. I wanted pepperoni pizza and something resembling mozzarella sticks, and yet I got a Bagel Bite and sliced grilled cheese. Now, don't get me wrong. The food was good; there just wasn't enough of it. In fact, I was still hungry as we were leaving the restaurant. I expressed this to my girlfriend.
"See, this is why I hate chain restaurants," she said.
I knew I should have embraced my ignorance.
Unfortunately, I didn't learn my lesson. My mom asked me if I was OK with eating dinner at Carrabba's for her birthday, and I gave it the green light. I was in the mood for Italian food, so I didn't realize that I was agreeing with dining at another chain restaurant.
We didn't have to wait for a seat, but they crammed us into a small, dimly lit booth. My dad couldn't see the menu at all, which enraged him.
"I can't see these f***ing words in the menu!" he shouted. This would've brought a lot of attention to our family, but there was barely anyone at the restaurant.
We ordered drinks, but my dad, being a big guy, finally had enough. He was fed up with squirming around in this tiny booth, so he asked to be moved elsewhere. Our waitress, who brought out our beverages, didn't look too pleased. As we discovered, this was because we were moved to a section with a different waiter. I don't know why these restaurants have such stupid rules. If she was our waitress in the first place, she should have been able to remain our waitress. Again, stupid chain restaurants.
Our waiter was a nice dude. He was a balding guy in his 40s. When I ordered the chicken parm, he smiled and said, "Ahh excellent choice, that's exactly what I was going to have tonight." He then asked whether I'd want pasta, vegetables or mashed potatoes with my chicken. When I said "pasta," he beamed. "I can't wait for that EXACT dinner," he said.
As we were waiting for our food, my dad showed off his fancy new phone. It was pretty enormous, but you could talk into it and it would do a Google search for you. My dad, who is fairly new to the Internet, asked me if I could pull up the Flyers-Red Wings score. I spoke into the phone, "Flyers-Red Wings box score" and it popped up instantly.
My dad was pretty amazed with this. He then wanted to know who scored, but he wanted to try it himself.
"Who score goal for Flyers in hockey game against Red Wings I mean Detroit Red Wings."
He looked at the search results and quickly said, "No this is not it." Google, not understanding what he was trying to say, did a search for "Scorpion flies hockey 888 angst red rings bean 3333 wings." My dad got other strange results, and he got frustrated rather quickly.
Dad: Why doesn't this work!?
Me: You're talking too quickly and saying too many things.
Dad: Then what do I say!?
Me: Just say "Flyers-Red Wings box score" and click on the link.
Dad: Flyers-Red Wings box score.
Didn't work. "Friars bread wings box 444." My dad slammed the phone down in frustration.
Our appetizers soon arrived. Oh, did I mention that I ordered actual cheese sticks? I wanted something that resembled mozzarella sticks, and I was pleased with what they brought over. I stuffed five into my mouth before my sister could finish one. They then brought out the chicken parm... chicken parm... parm...
BLEGH! Sorry, just puked again.
Our waiter asked us if we wanted anything else after we were finished. He looked at me intently, almost as if he expected me to copy his dessert of choice as well. Feeling stuffed, I merely replied, "Can I have a glass of water, please?"
The waiter, who previously smiled and agreed with everything I said, suddenly had a look of revulsion. He sneered and said, "Fine, water."
What the hell? Was I not supposed to ask for water? Which dessert did he think I should order? And why did I have to copy his exact meal? Did he think we were soul mates or something because we ordered the same entree?
My stomach didn't feel quite right the following morning. I didn't think much of it, but hours later, the diarrhea and vomit spewed out of each end of my body. It was so bad that at one point, I was convinced that puke was coming out of my buttocks and liquid poop was flowing out of my mouth. Of course, I was too busy either shivering or sweating profusely to confirm any of this.
I tried my hardest to work in my office, but I found myself resting my head on my desk for 15 minutes at a time, so I eventually just said f*** it and brought my computer downstairs. I placed it on the coffee table and collapsed on the couch. I passed out for about an hour and a half, and that's exactly where I am now.
I watched three basketball games and an episode of CBS' Intelligence, and now I am bored, which is why I started typing this as I'm lying down. I'm happy to report though that I've realized three things while being couch-ridden:
1. TV writing has gone downhill. I like Intelligence, but there was one line I can't get over. Without delving too much into it, the main character, played by Sawyer from Lost has a computer chip in his head. He can basically access and manipulate any sort of information on the Internet through his mind. He's sent on these top-secret government assignments.
Sawyer found himself in a Middle Eastern country in this episode. He was asked to extract two captive journalists, one of whom was played by Alex (Ben Linus' daughter) from Lost. Sawyer was able to infiltrate a military base by manipulating all of the cameras and alarms, and he finally made his way to the lightly guarded prison, where he found Alex. Here's how the conversation went down:
Alex: What the hell are you doing here!?
Sawyer: I'm here to rescue you!
Alex: Get out of here now!
Alex: I'm on a mission as well, and I'm right where I want to be. My orders are to eliminate an American scientist who defected and is now making a WMD for this country!
Sawyer: Wait... so you're not a journalist?
Wow! Derp dee derp, dee didily derp!
I like this show, but come on. Did he honestly have to ask her if she was a journalist or not after she basically told him that she's an undercover super-secret spy?
2. I think I've seen more dating commercials tonight than I ever have in my entire life. There were the usual ones - match.com, EHarmony (**), Christian Mingle, Black People Meet, etc. I also saw ads for JDate for the first time.
(**) A quick note on EHarmony: I lost a bet with my friend Melissa about eight years ago, so I was forced to enter my information into eHarmony to see how many matches I came up with. After all, they promise to find you someone who fits your profile. Want to know what my results were? "Sorry, we can find matches for 99.9% of our users, but we could not find anyone for you. Have fun being alone for the rest of your life." OK, they weren't mean about it, but they did tell me that I had no matches. A**holes.
As I watched these Christian Mingle and JDate ads, I suddenly realized something: They cycle through the same women and men each time! Seriously, take a closer look if you don't believe me. I'm not quite sure about the men, but these dating ads run through a pool of about 10 women. Maybe I'm delirious right now, but I swear I saw the same chick in both the Christian Mingle and JDate commercials.
This got me thinking: What's to stop someone from lying about their religion? What if a Jewish person signs up for Christian Mingle? How would someone prove that you're not Christian? OK, if you show up to a date with long sideburn curls and a yamaka, you might give yourself away, but people can easily lie. It's the same the other way around too, so if any Christian wants to meet a Jewish person, all they have to do is create a JDate profile. It's not exactly easy to prove that you're Jewish.
But let's take it one step further: What's to stop a white person from having a Black People Meet profile? You'd essentially just be trolling the black people, but what if you're white and legitimately want to date a black person? Are there Web sites for that? I imagined it would be JungleFever.com, or something, but that's a porn site.
Also, why are there no MexicanPeopleMeet.com or AsianPeopleMeet.com commercials? I've never seen them. Do the racist TV networks not want Mexicans and Asians to mate? If so, they're even worse than the douche bags at eHarmony.
3. I just had more unpleasant bowel movements. When will this nightmare end? And why was I stupid enough to eat at a chain restaurant despite my girlfriend's ominous warning?
I wonder what it was that got me. Was it the chicken parm? The "real" cheese sticks? Or maybe... no... could it have been the water? Was the waiter so upset with my decision to order water that he poisoned it?
I'd go back and confront him, but I have no desire to step inside a chain restaurant right now. And I don't think I'll want to for quite some time. Not even if they offer the best cheese sticks in the... cheese... ah crap, not again...