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My optometrist ruins everything. As a man who choose a strict, almost autistically obsessive code of economics over all else, dinner can often be a dicey proposition. When the subject of dining out is raised, he often responds by rattling off restaurants like this:

"What about the eight dollar chicken parm? Or 50 wings for $7.50? I haven't had stomach cancer in a while. You pick!"

Quality takes a back seat with my optometrist. In fact, sometimes quality isn't even invited along for the ride, and most of the time it's just tied to the rear bumper and dragged along behind him at dangerous speeds. He has just enough patience for something - meat, fish, a candy bar - to be lowered into a vat of bubbling oil, and raised again 30 seconds later. I've seen him pick up the remains of a steak in his bare hands and chew on it all the way to the car because his attention span for sitting in one place had expired too quickly. And when my optometrist is finished, everyone is. I wish I could explain how this works, or why it's impossible to fight, but that would be like trying to explain why lightning kills babies. It just does, so adjust. Stop buying aluminum strollers, and copper rattles. Taking all of this information into consideration, I should have known my optometrist would figure out some way to taint the single greatest joy my mouth has ever known: barbecue.

[Several months ago, I became apprised of a new storefront a few blocks from my apartment. The sign read, "BISCUIT," and I had a hunch that this would mean very good things. I grabbed a takeout menu and, upon scanning it briefly, nearly popped an audible boner right on Flatbush Avenue. Pulled pork. Double (yes double) fried chicken. Collards. Grits. Beans and rice. Bread pudding. Lemonade. The menu had the very rare whiff of authenticity, particularly their claim that, if requested far enough in advance, they will COOK AN ENTIRE HOG FOR YOU. (pig roast location pending, but you're all invited.) Before I even made it home I had my optometrist on the phone, as he is often my partner in artery-clogging meat. And I knew he'd love the menu because items were listed both by name and volume - 6 oz. pork vs. 11 oz. - and I knew my optometrist would appreciate spinning the mathematics of the arrangement. In that way, he was like a retarded child with a dreidel.]

I had gone weeks without pork. Weeks! And it was not self-imposed, like my caffiene strike, or beyond my control, like my pussy fast. I was just too busy to meditate on a plate of freshly slaughtered pig but I couldn't think of a better partner to celebrate my return to hog than my optometrist, so I gave him a call. (this served a dual purpose for me. our friendship has fallen upon hard times recently and i've been off my optometrist even longer than i've been off espresso. we are making a comeback gingerly, slowly, and though we may never enjoy the same co-dependency we once did i thought this meal would be a good reunion for us. two old friends, putting aside their differences while tearing greedily at flesh on a bone.) He was game and within minutes we were seated at Biscuit, and giddy from the high levels of sodium we were anticipating in our bloodstreams. The waiter/owner dropped menus, and that's where the trouble began.

My optometrist couldn't overcome the low prices and his famous indecision, and insisted we order three entrees to split between the two of us. The suggestion was sort of reprehensible, and not just because our nation is being torn asunder by an overseas war. I knew he was ordering too much because he felt he could afford to waste leftover meat, and I knew that even if he'd ordered two additional entrees I would have found a way to eat it all, so great is my love for smoked meats. My self-control was being compromised while his tendencies toward low-budget conspicuous consumption were being teased and licked.

The food arrived and I ate more than I could manage. I stretched myself from the inside in order to struggle a few more pink-ringed bits of pig down my greedy throat. I ate until I absolutely hated myself, and then I ate several more bites. It was quite a scene at Biscuit. A small dining room full of oversized black men being out-gluttoned by a pair of reedy, bespectacled Jews. My optometrist upset the balance of good taste with an order that could have been prevented had he taken his ritalin today. Now, as a result of my over-indulgence I will probably never look at pork, and then run home and masturbate, again. Thanks a lot, my optometrist.

WE FIRST MET ON 04.01.2003

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