Posts Tagged ‘BBQ’

The Worst Job In America

Posted: May 19, 2012 in Humor, People
Tags: ,

The 2 Bruces went to the Memphis In May International Barbecue Fest yesterday afternoon.   Why?  It was Friday, we live in Memphis, it is May, it was very hot and humid, and we were hungry.  Plus, the other Bruce had a free parking pass.

What is this world famous festival of pork?  As a Jewish kid from Brooklyn who came to Memphis in 1989 to get married, work, live, and procreate, I learned quickly that kosher would not likely be in my vocabulary anymore.; not that it really ever was.    Anyway, Memphis in May’s World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is held in mid May each year down by the beautiful Mississippi River at Tom Lee Park.  Hundreds of teams compete for over $110,000 in prizes and supreme bragging rights. Teams adorn their areas with elaborate decoration, trophies attesting to their boasting rights, and as one can imagine, clever and creative team names. While grilling is the main theme, the contest wouldn’t be complete without the Ms. Piggie Idol competition where the finest swine tests their vocal skills, and grown men dress in tutus and snouts and women kick their heels (hooves) up. There is also a t-shirt competition and even a best booth contest.   It is truly a lot of fun.  I never get bored watching people.  It is better than sitting on a bench at Times Square.   Each year I try and go down to the river before the tourists and big crowds make their way.  Plus, if you know some of the booth owners, Friday lunch is on them.

I have been noticing each year that security is getting tighter.  It makes sense on one level.  With the threat of international terrorism on the rise, it is conceivable that someone would want to do harm at the international barbecue festival.  Right?  Wrong!!!

What are the possible acts of terrorism that may occur at the Memphis In May festival?  Well, yesterday we saw one of those institutional garbage collection containers smoking, and I noticed a man with a small garden hose keeping it under control.  I asked what the problem was, and he stated “the usual, these rednecks do not know how to dispose of charcoal”.  As the water from the Mississippi flowed on the pile, I thought how terrible it must be for those in New Orleans having less water coming down that way.  Terrorism?  Nope.

I saw another guy, likely from Frayser, hitting golf balls into the Mississippi River from a makeshift putting green right at the edge of the river bank. First a cigarette puff, then a swing, then a puff, then a swing.   I asked him if he was keeping away the terrorist gulls that were trying to politely fish for food.  “Nope, just keeping up with my game”.  I had this thought of a bloated catfish in Vicksburg, MS, coughing up a golf ball.

Then why is it that on the entrance line, as I passed through the gate, that I was greeted with “show us your belt line”.  What the hell does that mean, as I thought for a second.  Oh, they want all of us to pull up our shirts to prove that we had nothing hiding in there that might be considered dangerous to the barbeque festival?  What?????   You’re shitting me????  They have enough propane, charcoal, lighter fluid, electrical wires, batteries, and booze on the other side of the fence to blow up Tehran.  Why would I carry a concealed weapon into the fest?  So, I was sure the next communication was going to be, “all laptops, liquids, gels, keys, shoes, money, must be checked separately”.  I did not hear that, and thanks for small favors.

So, I inquired to the guy; are you telling me that your job is to look at people’s guts all day; men, women, children?  Yes, sir.  I reminded him that Memphis and the mid-south has the highest obesity rate in the country.   Do we think the bigger danger to America is obesity or whether a terrorist may hold up a festival booth for its baked beans as in  “this is a terrorist act; I want all of your baked beans”;  yes, and I know you must have extra  molasses back  there……..!

I used to think that the poor shmuck who pats down people at the airport had the worst job in America.  I mean, seriously, touching people’s privates all day may seem fun, but it must get old.   Now I am convinced that the worst job in America is at the Memphis In May International Barbeque Fest.  Hats off to the guy who stands in the hot sun all day asking for people to pull up their shirts and show them their belt line (code for overweight, barbeque and fast food filled gut).