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5:24 a.m. - 2003-04-11

CHEE WHIZ

So I go to this luncheon yesterday.

Big. Fancy. Nice. Dress-up luncheon.

I mingle with people that I don't know who are all excited to meet me and have "heard so much about" me.

I'm taken aback by that statement at first, but I hear it so much that I think "Who the hell is out there on the street praising me like a demi-God?"

I get tired of trying to narrow down the suspects and take a seat at a table and talk to the people at the table.

The speaker gets up and starts speaking.

Salads are brought out and I pick at mine in that fancy luncheon sort of way. You don't want to eat all of it, because then you look like a pig. So you eat the tomato, cucumber and some lettuce. Leaving the sprigs of whatever and the majority of lettuce.

Because that's how you eat a luncheon salad.

The waiters start bringing out the main dish.

And I smell it.

Cheese.

Seeing as how there's a few new faces in the Uncle Bob diary, let me quickly explain that cheese is my kryptonite.

It zaps me of my strength, makes me run in horror and causes me to hide under tables, trembling in fear until it is taken away from my site.

I stiffen in my chair. The dishes haven't been brought to our table yet. I'm hoping against hope that maybe each table gets a different entree and mine will be fried chicken or a hamburger or something cheese-less.

No such luck.

It's ... it looks like chicken alfredo, if that's actually a dish. Strips of chicken on bow tie pasta in a creamy cheese sauce with fresh veggies and some kind of shaved cheese all over it.

You might like it.

I may have just made you salivate in describing it.

But I was on the verge of puking up a week's worth of lunches just looking at it.

I have a weak stomach. If I don't like something, I simply cannot eat it.

Since I have not been to one of these luncheons in a few years, I forgot the drill.

See, I used to go to a luncheon early, scout the place out and try to find someone who looked like a waiter or manager and ask that if the dishes have cheese on them, could we make sure that mine didn't because I'm lactose intolerant. And they usually would prepare mine without cheese.

Which...yeah...lactose intolerance is a physical condition. I know this. I'm not stupid.

But I will not tolerate eating cheese. Therefore, I'm technically lactose intolerant.

Since the majority of Americans eat cheese on everything, you can pretty much bet that if you go to a function where you're not able to pick your food out yourself, they're going to load it up with cheese.

I know...I know...it's just one of the many prejudices that I face every day. It's perfectly acceptable to shower me with pity over this.

Now, the speaker is speaking, a bowl full of cheesy chicken and pasta and veggies has just been sat down in front of me.

And I'm about two feet from the speaker guy. Everyone is looking at him, but they have to look at me while they're looking at him.

Had I been in the back of the room, I could have easily thrown the cheesey dish to the floor and stomped out in a huff, furious over the fact that someone served me cheese without asking for my approval first.

But I was right smack dab in the visual line of everyone in the room.

I couldn't whisper "Jesus God, woman...is that cheese in front of me? Get it away from me! GET IT AWAY NOW!!!"

Instead I had to graciously act my age and smile weakly and stare at my food.

I tried to scour the cheesy landscape, hoping to pick out a morsel of food that had escaped the cheese.

I found a sliver of a red pepper strip.

It looked sanitary.

I fished it out of the dish, said a Hail Mary and popped it in my mouth.

The warm phlegmy ass taste that is cheese permeated my mouth, invading it like a SWAT team in a crack house.

I gagged.

I literally gagged while all eyes in the room had me in their peripheal vision.

I quickly debated on how to handle the situation. Should I chew this red cheesy pepper strip and pray I didn't shower the other occupants of my table with projectile vomit?

Should I leap from the table, run out into the hallway, spit the strip on the floor and go into a loud coughing fit that would cause people to check on me to see if I were dying?

Or should I swallow it whole?

I'll take "Swallow it whole" for $800, Alex.

I swallowed it whole and felt the pepper leaving a trail of thick cheesy ass juice all the way down my throat and into my esophagus.

At that moment, I really wish I had come off as a total pig and ate all my salad.

Because I was starving. But there was no way I was going to be able to eat this dish.

Naturally, at least one person is going to think I'm an asshole for not liking cheese because they like cheese themselves and think that anyone that doesn't like cheese doesn't deserve to live.

And more than likely, that person will feel compelled to share their thoughts on my message board.

To them, I have to say....what?

Will you just eat anything?

Will you eat a dead grasshopper, or a worm?

I would eat both of those over a dish with cheese on it.

We all have our idiosyncracies.

I can't help it that I don't like America's favorite food product that tastes like unwashed ass.

But there's others out there who are just like me.

Others who fight the prejudices each and every day of being a cheese hater.

Nobody gives vegetarians shit about not eating meat.

But try telling someone you don't eat cheese?

It's all "Get the nails and the cross, Henry...we're crucifying this crazy bastard."

Ironically...guess what we had for desert?

...Cheesecake.

Even more ironic....I can actually eat cheesecake.

Because it's not "cheese" cheese. It doesn't taste like nachos or an alfredo dish.

The luncheon was over as the desert plates were taken up.

And I hauled booty to the nearest McDonalds.

Where I gorged myself on a hamburger.

Mmmmmmmmm...

Processed beef patties.

You just can't beat 'em.

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