It Ain't Easy Being
Holy and Cheesy
by Mad Dog
you look at a photo of the sandwich, the image does indeed look like the
Virgin Mary. Or maybe the Morton Salt girl, it’s hard to decide.
||By the time you read this,
some lucky bidder on eBay will be the proud owner of half a ten-year-old
grilled cheese sandwich with a bite taken out of it. Oh yeah, and an
image of the Virgin Mary charred into it. It’s well preserved, has no
sign of mold, and according to the owner, Diana Duyser of Ft.
Lauderdale, FL, is a very lucky grilled cheese sandwich. You know, the
kind you’d be proud to use as a key ring because no one from PETA will
attack you like they did when they saw your lucky rabbit’s foot.
The grilled cheese sandwich is
definitely lucky, and not just because instead of being devoured it was
saved in a plastic box for posterity. No, according to Duyser the
sandwich was responsible for her having won $70,000 at a casino. It
makes you wonder why she’s selling it instead of wearing it around her
neck while playing the slots. With two days and five hours left in the
bidding, the price is up to $7,801. Plus $9.95 shipping and 55 cents for
insurance. That’s a pretty good deal for an item that could help you
win the lottery and retire. [Note: The final bid was $28,000, made by
an online casino.]
While over 1.5 million people have
looked at it online, there have been only eight legitimate bids. The
price is lagging behind the original high bid of $28,470, which is what
it was when eBay pulled the auction, saying they don’t allow joke
listings. Duyser convinced them it was no joke and, not wanting to take
the chance of spending eternity in hell — which in their case would
mean sitting at a computer 24 hours a day and not being able to see
anything on their web site other than “404 Error – Page not found”
— they decided to reinstate it. Along with it came 289 related items,
including the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Shirts, Virgin Mary Grilled
Cheese recipes, and even the domain name TheVirginMaryGrilledCheese.com.
Do I smell the start of a cheesy trend or is that my sandwich burning?
friend took me to a coffee shop named Bongo Java where I witnessed the
Immaculate Confection for myself. There it was, sitting in a glass case
under the cash register, lacquered for posterity and surrounded by an
assortment of Christmas lights and voodoo-like shrine accouterments.
If you look at a photo of the sandwich, the image does indeed
look like the Virgin Mary. Or maybe the Morton Salt girl, it’s hard to
decide. Of course the proof is in the eating. I mean, seeing. As in
seeing it in person. I’ve had the privilege of viewing an iconic
edible up close and personal once in my life, and that was in Nashville
when I saw a cinnamon bun that looks like Mother Theresa. And yes, I was
fully awake, not drunk, and didn’t get the urge to slap an “I brake
for the Second Coming” bumper sticker on my car afterwards.
“Big deal,” you’re probably
saying as you keep mashing a rutabaga that looks like Richard Nixon as
portrayed by Anthony Hopkins. “Don’t all cinnamon buns look like
saints if you squint and let your eyes go out of focus as you shove the
whole thing into your mouth in one bite?” Sure they do, but they
don’t look as good as this one.
It was seven years ago and I was
driving across the country. A friend took me to a coffee shop named
Bongo Java where I witnessed the Immaculate Confection for myself. There
it was, sitting in a glass case under the cash register, lacquered for
posterity and surrounded by an assortment of Christmas lights and
voodoo-like shrine accouterments. Above it was a sign telling people,
“Do not use flashbulbs.” Hey, you wouldn’t want to be responsible
for overexposing a perfectly good Nun Bun, would you?
grilled cheese is the only one for sale. The billboard is gone, the
tortilla is a profit center, and the lamb is going to end up as
shawarma, if it hasn’t already.
The most amazing thing is that while I was there not a single
bleary-eyed cappuccino drinker started their day by pointing to the Holy
Cruller and saying, “Give me that cinnamon bun that looks like a dried
apple doll. And while you’re at it, throw in a Shroud of Turin scone
and a Pope John Paul bran muffin.” Apparently people in Nashville
aren’t impressed. After years of living around Dolly Parton they
understand that often things aren’t what they appear to be.
Scientists have a name for this
phenomenon. It’s called pareidolia, and it’s the mental process by
which our brain interprets random patterns into recognizable images. You
know, like hopefully what happens when you read this column. It’s
funny, when psychologists have us deliberately do this while looking at
a Rorschach ink blot, it’s considered a good thing. When we see the
devil in the smoke at the World Trade Center, it’s relegated to urban
legend websites. And they wonder why we’re all so conflicted.
These sightings happen often. There
was the image of Jesus spotted in a forkload of spaghetti on a Pizza Hut
billboard in Atlanta, Georgia. There was another on a flour tortilla
which is still on display in Lake Arthur, NM, in case you’re in the
Roswell area and tired of seeing doe-eyed aliens everywhere you turn.
And recently a lamb was born on the West Bank of Israel with the word
“Allah” spelled in Arabic on one side of its coat and “Mohammed”
on the other.
But the grilled cheese is the only
one for sale. The billboard is gone, the tortilla is a profit center,
and the lamb is going to end up as shawarma, if it hasn’t already.
They’ve always said sin has its price, now we know cheesy salvation
©2004 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country.
Read them while eating a grilled cheese sandwich.