An episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives where Guy reveals he's an extraterrestrial sent to evaluate Earth. He notifies us, simultaneously in every human language, that we've failed. And as a warning, he destroys Iowa.
We are speechless and terrified when we discover how thorough he is. For where Iowa was, there isn't a huge desolate wasteland or an empty crater. There is nothing. Illinois is suddenly bordering Nebraska. Every United States flag in existence instantly contains only 49 stars.
Books and databases containing population counts are now 3 million smaller. People who were traveling from Iowa never booked the 7th floor room overlooking the Potomac. People born in Iowa, whose birth certificates were from the "State of Iowa" now said Missouri. Or Kansas.
We were ready to go to war. Special forces from across the world, from allies and enemies alike, came to the US to help eliminate the threat of Guy Fieri.
But no one could find him. Friends and coworkers couldn't tell anyone anything of substance. His wife, in shock, realized she knew nothing about his life before their first meeting.
Guy Fieri was a ghost. We continued to search, but he was never found in time.
It was foolish though to think it was over, to think that a man who was so thorough in his destruction of a place's existence to leave the minds of his victims alone.
Soon we, too, began to forget. We watched as one by one the people around us forgot. And we wondered when someone would watch us forget. About Iowa. About our loved ones. About our existential anger.
About our fear of a single man.
I write this now hoping that this account will be spared. It is a small hope, but it's all I have. I know I'm due. The anger is no longer there. I struggle to spell Iooa correctly. More than once I've woken up to a note reminding me of Iooa, thinking it was just a drunken scrawl.
If you're reading this, heed my, no, our warning. This happened. If we don't change it's possible it will happen again. It might have already happened.
...But would it be so bad to forget? Ignorance is bliss, they say, and it's been so long since I've been happy. So long...
⚓Visited Boston and walked all over the city. First time I tried to one-bag travel, first time staying in a hostel, first time tried budget travel in general. Totally worth it. (Boston Harbor)
🐲Never got my Hogwarts letter, but I did make it to Hogsmead, fly with dragons, and threw back delicious butterbeer. @samrawiththecamera by my side the whole time. #TomFeltonInACowboyHat
🍿Mad food scientist @altonbrown playing guitar and singing while surrounded by popcorn. Y'know. As you do.
🌶️️Had the privilege of being a group leader for @mississippihoby again this year. Group J never looked so good.
😊A smiling rock. Honestly, could have used more smiling rocks this year, I think.
☀️The Great American Solar Eclipse. Managed to get totality in the great city of Independence, MO. Wow. Just wow. Im already planning for 2024.
🗽Went to New York for a business trip and managed to find time to get to NYC for a few hours. Here's Milton's, a jazz bar in Harlem.
💒One of my best friends in the whole wide world married her best friend in the whole wide world. And if that's not amazing, then I don't know what else you want. @whitneykni
🎄Wrapped up the year with family and continuing our Christmas pizza tradition. Photobomb by my sister.
- Die Hard - Yes, the original. The first. Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman (!!!), I know. I'm only just now watching it because 1) I only recently realized it was a Christmas film, 2) I had a coupon, and 3) Yes I'm watching it in January, so sue me. I really enjoyed it apart from the barefoot glass walking and am keeping an eye out on the sequels to go on sale, too. R.I.P. Alan Rickman.
- Alice Through the Looking Glass - The best character of this film is Time or Tick-Tock or whatever nickname you yourself came up for him; he saved this movie. Honestly? You could've made an original film with original characters and the plot wouldn't suffer. Which is totally a knock against it when it had Alice and the Mad Hatter. This is not to suggest that I didn't enjoy this film; on the contrary, I had a splendid time watching it. But it's nothing special.
- Parks and Recreation - My friends have been trying for years to get me to watch this show, and wow have I been missing out. I've only just finished Season 2, but yes gimme more!
Starting a new section this year with Travel. In 2017, I decided that, instead of going on one large trip (like I did with London 2016), I would go on several smaller budget trips throughout the year. Beginning with:
- Boston - Sure it was less than 30F most of the weekend, but I had a wonderful time. I spent most of the time walking the Freedom Trail and learning (or re-learning) what history I could. Absolutely wonderful trip made better with a <$90 round-trip airfare. This is also the first time I stayed in a hostel to which my review is: it's a college dorm but with grown-ups.
To the Goth Girl I Met in Wal-Mart Last Tuesday
First of all, I want to apologize if you don't happen to be goth. It just seemed like an appropriate conclusion to draw after seeing your dyed black hair, your nose ring, and your all-black clothing. Maybe today you just felt like wearing black? I have days like that, too, so I know how you feel if that's the case.
Also, I don't want to keep calling you "goth girl" for the entirety of this letter, so if you're agreeable I'll call you "Jasmine". Not because I know it's your name, but, as names go, I think it's a good one. I hope you understand.
Jasmine, you did something that Tuesday night that I absolutely loved. It's a silly thing to love, and I don't even know why I'm so fond of it. I think it's a combination of the read I picked up off of you during our short, frustrating time together, your attitude toward me and everyone in the store, and culminating in what you did while leaving.
You pushed the red button on this thing. It was such a righteously indignant reaction to Wal-Mart's we're-not-going-to-have-any-lanes-other-than-self-checkout-open-after-10pm crap, which left me smiling like an idiot the rest of the way to my car.
And you didn't even stop there! It go so much better. After pushing the button (even though you went to a self-checkout register and I managed to snag that one poor soul who has to deal with all of those self-checkout lanes, we left right at the same time), you still stopped afterwards to look at the flowers they keep right before you leave the building. It was such a "I'm so pissed off at Wal-Mart I will push this ridiculously childish sad face, but I will not let my anger stop me from looking at Beauty" kind of thing.
You had an entirely human-less experience: you shopped alone, you paid alone, and you complained alone. But even with all that, you still maintained your humanity.
Your actions left such an impact on me, that I'm sitting here writing this letter, a letter you will never read, from a person you will never meet again. But I think someone deserves to know this story, and I hope you don't mind that I share it with others.
Enjoy your life, Goth Girl. May you always hold on to that beautiful indignation, and may you always never let it control you enough not to smell the roses.
Guy Who Was Buying Tortillas