It happened unexpectedly. Oliver was talking with a group of his classmates about the last lecture when a girl said she needed some help. “Would you help me understand what I just heard?” She asked with a smile. Now Oliver wasn’t sure, but that smile seemed to mean a little more than “our studious studies will benefit mankind”. He was compelled by brain number two to reply, “Yes I’d be happy to help. Do you want to grab some dinner before we start?” She agreed by nodding her head and asking, “Were do you want to eat?”
Oliver hadn’t actually intended to ask her out. Not because she wasn’t attractive, she was….but because he was almost broke and had to save what little he had until the end of the month. He had to think of something fast and cheap. He remembered he had some hotdogs at home. “Why don’t we meet at the park. There’s a grill there and we can cook out. Around six?”
“OK, six o’clock at the park”, she confirmed the date. Oliver wanted to make a good impression even though it wasn’t a formal date. It still was a date plus she was cute.
Oliver had to get the supplies for the picnic. He rode his 1977 Honda 350CL back to his apartment. Weaving through traffic he was thinking how thankful he was that she didn’t ask him where he lived. It was an old house of world war two vintage. It still had open coal fireplace for heat. Long ago the owners did manage to put in a gas floor furnace. Oliver learned to respect the beast when on one cold night he walked barefoot across the animal. His feet retained the brand of grating for two weeks. The air conditioning amounted to open windows and a fan.
The kitchen had one light bulb dangling from an outdated cord with no shade. The floor had once been checker board tile but more than a few squares were missing now. The sink was remarkably resilient only showing 30 years of wear. The water, although good to drink, came out extremely slow due to the rust in the piping. The refrigerator wasn’t much more than an ice box. It featured a freezer within the refrigerator complete with ice trays and it always needed defrosting.
Oliver opened the freezer to get the hotdogs. There were no hotdogs….but there was a pound of hamburger. “Even better”, he thought…”Now for the buns and some paper plates, packets of ketchup and mustard and I’ll be all set.” He gathered the supplies but couldn’t find hamburger buns. All he had were hotdog buns. “I hope she’s not picky” he said to himself.
Oliver had arrived at the park 30 minutes before the date. He started preparing the grill next to the picnic table. It only took about 5 minutes to get it started but another 20 minutes for the coals to be ready. “Might as well start cooking” he said to himself. The hamburger had thawed out nicely and he began to make patties. Oliver then thought about the hotdog buns. A stroke of genius hit him. “Hmmm…I’ll just roll the hamburger up like a hotdog and we’ll have some hamdogs” he chuckled. Oliver began rolling and putting the hamdogs on the grill.
Right on time, his date came walking across the park toward the picnic table. They greeted each other with matching smiles. “Come have a seat, the foods almost ready” he said showing her the picnic table he’d setup. “The burgers smell wonderful”, she replied.
Oliver grabbed a plate for the hamdogs. They were all done and he stacked them on the plate. Moving to the table, Oliver set the plate next to the buns. Oliver looked over at her only to see the most disgusting look he’d ever seen. Oliver, looking back at the hamdogs, immediately realized his mistake. The hamdogs had the texture, color, and shape that made the main course look very similar to a pile of, well…uh… turds?! Oliver tried to explain the hamdog idea but it was too late. Fighting through a gag reflex she excused herself and left the way she had come.
Oliver was quite embarrassed by the incident. He looked at the picnic table spread. That was two days worth of food. “Oh well”, he signed. Oliver sat down and had himself a turd-dog and it was good.
Moral of the story:
Oliver learned that Food presentation is most important.