Posted by: jamesthethickheaded | January 21, 2011

Fractional Foods and the Hot Dog

So as my nephew likes to call it, I went to Fractional Foods today. Yep. When it opened down the block from my office the police showed up to control the crowds, check out the donuts, and “borrow” a few chocolate chocolate chip cookies. Y’know… the usual crime fighting stuff. It was a mad house. I’ve never seen so many quietly happy people wandering around.  Oh… maybe they reminded me of the parents who’d lost their kids at Disney World, but yes, it was a very happy place. All five of the nearby office buildings emptied out at lunch time and went en masse to “check it out”. Read: “Treat myself”, and the local competing eateries have never been the same since.

Well, so I guess that’s what I was doing. Post Advent Fast, if there’s one thing you have to keep in mind, it’s the fact that the window before that next fun luvin’ dietary game show, “Which Bean Do We Eat Tonight?” will be playing once again in a kitchen very near me. Like mine. So gotta squeeze all the good livin’ in while you can. Right? Yep. Not missing much there.

But this year was different. The sudden shift in meat consumption even had my Methodist wife wondering, “This is killing us, isn’t it? When do we get to go back on that fasting routine?” Huh? I think I’m hearing conversion experience… only a little faster than I’m ready for. Maybe it’s what St. Paul’s wife would have said on the Road to Damascus… if he’d had one. And if ONLY he’d had one, some things around here wouldn’t be… how should we say (with Groucho Marx-like eyebrows rising and falling)… quite so honkey monkey crazy… ’round here, huh? Quietly? Okay, I’ll buy it.

Anyway… where was I? Oh, yeah. Fractional Foods (or Wholepaycheck – if you prefer). Yes, definitely. So I was there looking for lunch. And what’d I see? A little bitty ol’ hot dog talkin’ nice to me.

Sayin’, “Hey Dude! Like we’re talkin’ twofer one sale!”
“You had me at Hello.”
“I didn’t say hello… I said…”
“Got it…”

Understand that right here was a spiritual challenge. Mind you… the old friendly scale had spent the mornings  scolding me these past few weeks for riotous living and stuff. Yes, I have been able to work it back to the friendly zone, but noooooo, it doesn’t want to seem to stay there.

So I told the ol’ boy, “Hey, look here, don’t bust a battery or anything, but imagine if you have to do that… and freeze en mode… couldn’t you at least do it about five pounds ago, huh?”

Well, I don’t know about you, but my scale started up right then and there sounding like the telegenic goat that doesn’t work for AFLAC. “Nyah! Nyah! Nyah!”

So we had a slight re-orientation, and I promised the dude I’d take matters in hand. Then I discovered that those devilish little Arthurians in the flour biz had come up with a Popover mix. Slipped a box in the grocery bag for Christmas… but let’s face it, Christmas is a lot of work, so we skipped it. Ouch! First non-Popover Christmas in a generation or two. My long departed relatives got on the horn through my patron saint . Said they’d tell him to stop praying for me until I did something about it. “Eat with the program!” Gulp. So I listened. “Mmmmmmm!” My Nana…. none like her. Thanks!

So St. James is back at it… which is good ’cause the list of “needs” is always seeming to get longer and longer. Kind of right up there with all the intercessions this stuff is going to require if the “coming adjustment” on March 7th isn’t going to prove a failure.

And then, truth be told, there’s been a donut incident reported here and there. Don’t know where actually. Uh huh. But you can check out the rap sheet. And y’know… while donuts aren’t actually crunchy things that go with a salad… it seems they’re kind of more like an handy offset. You know how it is… it’s all about placement. They put the salad bar at the grocery store over next to the bakery. And it’s just like they see me coming. One day, this Cinamon Raisin Dount calls over to me, “Hey… eating healthy? Y’kidding me? Gotta have an offset… just to get back to balance. Besides… you earned it. Think of the denial. I’m crying already. Pick me up. You don’t actually have to eat me. You could even give me away to someone needy. Yeah… let’s think about it. Maybe NEXT time even do it. Maybe…”

Slipped one in the bag. Oh yeah! Didn’t actually see a homeless person to give it to. Hard to do with the eyes closed, but mentally… I was looking… honest.

So there I am back at Fractional HQ looking over the specials. Last week I was good and resisted. Of course this means that THIS Thursday… I can be rewarded. Evil logic… but tasty. Again… it’s the principle of offsets. Scale wins one day… he loses the next. Skip a bad choice… succumb next time. I mean… it’s only another extra half hour on the bike, stepper, whatever. So what happens? My salad became a Special!! Amazing! Ah… but what’s the Special? Don’t tell Dr. Andy but I think it was a WholeFoods Hot Dog. Couldn’t actually recognize it and all… I mean once you slip it into some cashmere, give it a feather boah, and some pearls… first thing y’know it’s dancin’ and whoopin’ up the place like some hottie. Honest. Kind of hard to recognize the ol’ dog…

No, seriously. I mean we’re at Whole Foods, right? So it must like have zero fat, zero bad stuff, and all the rest. Might even be good enough for me that NOT eating it would violate all sorts of dietary restrictions. I think you even lose weight and fight cancer just looking at it. Eating it… oh.. I think you cure cancer in other people. Yep. And homeless people everywhere are feeling better… just knowing someone somewhere is having a hot dog and turning the love in their heart towards them. That’s what the guy behind the counter said. Okay… it wasn’t quite like that, but close. What he said was, “Two dogs for $3.” And it’s not like I wanted to eat them. Nope. It was more like they jumped into my bag, put a gun to my head and said, “Slip one down the ol’ hatch…”. I resisted. They got serious with the gun… even proposed and bought a ring. I said, “Okay. Don’t mind if I make it two.” And I did.

What’s to lose? It’s like going into an Ace or Tru-Value  hardware store, hobby store, art store, (probably a knitting store – though I wouldn’t), a Westmarine… or any other specialty store and sneaking away with your life’s savings. I mean you think you won the lottery. I’m telling you, it’s not easy to get out of Fractional Foods for under $5, but less than $4… almost unheard of.  So I splurged on a lemonade… just so folks didn’t think I wasn’t treating myself but in the store under some sort of budget consciousness and have the store pyschologist rush me over to counselling. And the lemonade… one of those wonderful Nantucket things that makes your stomach double or tripple, leaving you wondering “When will it stop? Ohhhhh…. expansive lemonade….ohhhh…. don’t move me. Thank you!” And then you chase it with a diet coke  “for the caffeine” because you can’t stay awake. And you feel sleepy anyway… especially when clients walk by your door:

“Does he always sleep at the office?”
“Sleep? Nooo. That’s not sleep…  he’s just working on a demo ’bout the benefits you get if you hire us to look after your stuff… no more sleepless nights. We do the sleeping … so you don’t have to. “
“Really? Looks more like he’s just sleeping on the job.”
“Ah… you may have something there. Maybe that’s why sales are off.”

Fortunately, no one noticed the hot dog burps… which let’s face it… as a byproduct… are not especially winsome.  Better than some… but still kind of off-putting. Explore the difference for a minute if you will: Off-putting is not quite the same as “I’m off putting”… I mean the latter might involve golf clubs. Speaking of which, someone got involved with mine and ran off with them. But that ‘s another story or two, if I can find them… which if you can, I’d sure ‘ppreciate a call.

So there I was post hot dog, kind of wishing for some  burpy water (aka soda water) to kind of get through the episode a little faster… maybe even run after the guy who has my clubs.  Yep. Clubs Soda. It’s different from your usual Club Soda by a matter of “S”. All in the s-wing s-thing. Anyway… you can try to brush the whole thing under the rug until the goats come home – yes, I know the expression usually hosts a more bovine animal, but this tale only had the budget for one animal… so we’re stickin’ with the goat. Brushed three times… goats bein’ what they are y’know… and I’m still suffering with the airborne hot dog.

Ah… but with a deal like that, who wants to hold out for hot dogs AND romance anyway? Let’s face it… somethings are best kept separate. And a feast at Fractional Paycheck for under $4 with  all the benefits of Thanksgiving and a very large question mark that should be right after the “T” word… I don’t know. Maybe it’s just a slight tummy ache. Sure was good while it lasted. Maybe next time, they’ll have a special on Corn Dogs and I can be even MORE healthy…. think corn… think vegetables… maybe even a Frito.

All of which brings to mind a burning question for our next essay to ponder and study on until next time: “Beans: Was the Eastern Church really unaware of the Boston Baked Bean Troparion? Discuss the impact of cultural cross currents on dietary matters…. order and disorder. What tone would we sing it in? And does anyone remember the lyrics?”


  1. Once upon a time AM/PM had hot dogs twoferadollar and we were working right across the street from them. I ate hot dogs every day for almost two months. And I still like them. Corn dogs? Oh yeah. Fractional Food sounds like a dangerous place for me. It sounds like they have all the hits… except maybe Pop Tarts.

  2. s-p oh they’ll have PopTarts wannabes. They’ll have a fru-fru name, made with whole wheat, and be organic.

    James- my husband loves to re-name places so I’m usually pretty good at figuring these things out, but it took me a while to figure out “Fractional Foods” – but I *love* it. LOL.

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