Dear Dirty America


The E-Cigarette for Fast Food: Kick Your Bad Diet

The E-Cigarette for Fast Food: Kick Your Bad Diet
February 19
22:04 2014

The man sitting on the bench held in his pudgy hand a finely crafted stick of what looked like polished wood. He lifted the end of the piece to his mouth, clamped his lips around the tip, closed his eyes, and inhaled. When he pulled the device away, he let out a little sigh of pleasure.

I sat next to him. I’d come to have a coffee in Beverly Hills and soak up the rich atmosphere. I enjoy pretending like I’m a normal human in this society. A successful human, with a nice car and an active bank account. Thankfully I do have an attorney, but I’m her charity case.

But today there was an unsettling smell in the air along Beverly Drive. The scent was light and crisp, like rotting garbage at the end of the block. I glanced at the man at the other end of the bench.

He wore a polo shirt with red and black stripes. It was too tight for him. Around his midsection was an impressive roll of fat that conjoined with his upper thighs. I imagined him naked. I couldn’t help it. I’ve got a wicked mental streak that takes pleasure in making the rest of my mind miserable.

Since I’ve become adept at starting random conversations with people, I jumped right in with this guy. What are you sucking on? I asked.

The man held the polished piece between his first two fingers, and rested it on his belly. “It’s an electronic fast food device,” he said. “It’s helped me lose a ton of weight.”

I can tell, I said.

“But now I got all this skin left over. The doctor never said once I dropped the pounds I’d be left with all the extra flab.”

How could you know? I asked. You’d think all that superfluous skin would snap up and conform to your new, slimmer self after decades of being stretched. So you lost the weight because of that e-fast-food device?

“It curbs almost one hundred percent of my cravings,” he said. “I hardly eat at all anymore. I puff and puff on this little guy here.”

He pushed his glasses higher up on his nose. His magnified eyes blinked behind the thick glass. “Just like cigarette smokers. This is the same treatment. They aren’t on the market yet, but a friend of mine bought the patent and is working on manufacturing them.”

I was vaguely familiar with the e-cigarette revolution. Proponents of the electronic cigarettes say they help people stop smoking real ones, but opponents say the health risks are still there, and a greater danger exists if people begin to think e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to smoking real tobacco products.

What’s it taste like? I asked him.

He thought about that for awhile. He stared ahead at the traffic creeping along Beverly Drive. A Lexus minivan parked in front of us. A Jewish mother with a scarf the color of fruit punch tied around her forehead stepped out. She threw open the side door. “Hurry up!” she said. “Unclasp your seat belts and let’s go! Unclasp. Unclasp. Come on. You know how a seat belt works. Hurry.” Two small children in shorts and bright t-shirts popped out of the vehicle.

I asked him again what kind of taste was in that electronic cigarette-shaped stick. Because if it’s a decent taste, I might want to get in on the business. I’m a skilled entrepreneur. I get a kick out new products entering the market.

“This here flavor,” he said, and held up the polished wood, “is supposed to be a fast food breakfast. There is also in development a fast food hamburger with all the trimmings and a side of french fries, and a chicken nuggets flavor, too.” He put the stick to his mouth and took a hit. As he breathed out and sighed, he said, “I’d say the exact taste of this one is somewhere between an egg McMuffin and a lingering fart.” He chuckled. “You get used to the last part.”

So whoever is making these electronic fast food devices has pretty much nailed the essence of McDonald’s, I said.

The Jewish woman’s children ran past us. Their mother sniffed audibly and muttered, “What’s that smell?” She shook her head and followed the pounding footsteps of her kids.

“It satisfies my cravings,” he said. “I used to eat a fast food breakfast almost every morning. Sometimes I’d stop by for an afternoon snack as well. Like a double cheeseburger and fries. I’m on a new path now,” he said.

You’ve got to eat greens, at least, I said. You can’t just inhale that aroma all day long. It’s like wrapping your mouth around the exhaust duct coming out of a McDonald’s kitchen.

“That’s rabbit food, isn’t it?” he said. “All that green stuff. I ain’t a rabbit. I still eat those breaded chicken strips. I like potatoes, too,” he said. “With sour cream and butter. I go easier on bacon bits with my new diet.” He smiled and shook his magic wand. “This makes all the difference.”

The Beverly Hills city council won’t let that thing get too popular, I said. You’ll have to smoke it in private. If it’s like the e-cigarette with its liquid nicotine, the health officials will lobby hard against that little stick. What’s in it, anyway? Green slime, preservatives, and artificial egg or beef flavoring? Mixed with flecks of cow shit and deep fryer oil?

City Council will claim that device will be used by gradeschoolers and high schoolers to get their fast food fix in public school bathrooms between classes. Ultimately it’ll hook children at a younger age to the toxic taste of fast food. People will think it’s safe, just like they think e-cigarettes are a positive alternative to smoking.

The man had his lips around that stick again. His eyes were closed. He exhaled. I didn’t see any smoke. But the pleasure areas of his brain were certainly lighting up. He licked his lips and smiled. “I won’t give up this baby,” he said. “It’s done wonders for me. This is modern living, boy. They’ll have to pry this out of my cold, dead fingers if they ban it.”

Well you look radiant, I said. I have no doubt if the city tries to crack down on those chemical sticks, you’ll be held up as an example of the positive results that are possible with that thing.

He thanked me for the kind words. “Now I need to clean up all this limp skin,” he said. “Any idea how?”

I’ve got a few ideas, I said, but you’ll have to take my business card and call me on the phone because I can’t stand the smell blowing out of that nauseating fast food stick.

[e-cigarette photo by Chatsam]

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