Wednesday, May 21, 2008

#399 Oink!

#399 Oink!

Observant Jews and observant Muslims tend not to eat pork. And so we've all learned that the best beef bacon in town's at the Food Exchange on 59th between Park and Lex. At least it's the best in town when Gomes is working the grill. Gomes, from Portugal doesn't know much from Jews and Muslims, but he knows his customers, and he knows his beef bacon.

He knows that most of his customers think he's Mexican, which he thinks is funny until they tell him that they misspelled his name on the shirt. "GomeZ" they all tell him, paternally. "No," he says, "GomeS," it's Portuguese. This is a source of endless conversation, which you'd think it wouldn't be, since most of the customers are regulars -- daily regulars.

Gomes lives in Jackson Heights, Queens, right near Roosevelt Avenue, which is pothole paradise. And he's always writing notes to Borough Hall and City Hall and Albany and Washington trying to get the thing fixed. Potholes affect everyone, he says, and we have to get the road fixed. The Borough says it's a City problem. The City says it's a State problem, the State says it's a Federal problem. Gomes says "What do I have to do, take it the the UN?" He might.

But his beef (as opposed to his beef bacon) is about pork.

No one wants to come flat out and legislate an end to potholes on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights. But they're all willing to slip it into some irrelevant bill. Like, maybe the one that declares tomorrow National Schnauzer day. (Do they spell schnauzer "schnauSer" in Portual?) Or one making it illegal for men to marry men.

If you live in, say, Idaho, fixing Roosevelt Avenue is Pork. If you live on Roosevelt Avenue it's public service. Same thing with a bridge to nowhere. Same thing with a tax break or subsidy for a factory that promises to make a lot of new jobs somewhere.

So one person's public service is another person's pork.

Gomes is thinking about taking home the beef bacon and eggs that doesn't sell. It gets very much like pavement when it cools. He and the neighbors want to fill in those holes.

At least it won't be pork.


SHRAPNEL:
--Ten O'clock in the morning, half the world thinks Ted Kennedy is Satan. Two o'clock in the afternoon, he's a hero even to his enemies. Cancerous brain tumors'll do that for you.

--It didn't take seagulls long to learn they could crack clamshells by soaring to high altitude and dropping them on the highway. But they may be grassing over some of the highways. So how long will it take the gulls to learn the fast food trick no longer works?

--Everyone in your parents' yearbook looks older than their age. Everyone in yours looks younger. That's nothing to do with age, only with the degree (or lack of degree) of the formality of the eras.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.(r)
(c)2008 WJR

No comments: