Monday, October 26, 2009

A Serious Issue

Hello friends. I know I can be a little sarcastic and I tend to joke around a lot on this site. I can even be a bit of an asshole and make comedy about real tragedies like cancer and the holocaust and September 11th. But today I'd like to actually be sincere for a moment and talk to you about something that means a lot to me.

There are a lot of problems in the world right now. We're fighting two wars in the Middle East, there is disease and genocide in Africa, political turmoil and ominous nuclear threats in Iran and North Korea, and a global terrorism danger that has not gone away, despite growing quieter in the daily news. Even right here in our own country we have culture wars, racism, fierce debates about health care and national security and gay rights.

These are important issues. Incredibly important issues, and it's good and absolutely necessary that the Obama Administration and so many aid and advocacy organizations are focusing on them. But in the midst of all the noise and clamor generated by flashy and sexy problems like war and poverty, is it possible we are overlooking other issues that, while less exciting and less of a ratings-booster than the latest suicide bombing in Europe, are no less important?

I am talking, of course, about the problem of our nation's burritos having all the beans and rice on one end and all the veggies and salsa on the other end.

Why is no one talking about this? Where is the public outrage? President Obama's peace talks between Israel and Palestine command constant news coverage, but I've yet to see a single story about the hurt and devastation caused by burrito malpractice. This has to change. There can be no action without awareness. That's what I'm here to bring you today. Awareness.

In case you are one of the lucky Americans who has never had to deal with you or a loved one receiving a botched burrito, the issue is this:

A burrito consists of many ingredients and can take many forms, but usually there is some combination of beans, rice, and meat, topped with veggies, salsa, and possibly even guacamole and sour cream, if you can afford the extra charge. The ingredients should be laid out in even layers inside the tortilla, so that when you eat it, each bite contains equal amounts of all the ingredients, which are chewed and swallowed simultaneously, creating a "taste explosion".

Sadly, this is often no longer the reality.

A poll of low-income, late-twenties white males named Isaac Marion shows that as many as 45% of burritos served in America are served "separated"--that is, their ingredients are spread and their tortillas folded in such a way that all of the beans, rice, and meat end up on one end of the burrito, while all the delicious sauces and toppings end up on the other end.

Imagine biting into a burrito. Imagine tasting nothing but beans, rice, and meat. Unflavored, unsauced, unbearable. Now imagine turning the burrito around, and biting into the other end. Imagine a geyser of unalloyed condiments bursting into your mouth--salsa, cheese, maybe even sour cream and guacamole, rushing down your throat with absolutely no solid food to slow it down.

For millions of Americans every day, this horrific experience is known as "lunch".

But what is even more tragic than the nausea and revulsion caused by these separated burritos is the fact that they could so easily be prevented. The producers of today's burritos could fix this problem overnight if they wanted to, by simply educating their employees about how to properly spread ingredients and fold a tortilla. But year after year, the problem persists, and Americans suffer in silence, wiping guacamole off their lips and trying not to vomit.

You're paying these companies top dollar for their burritos--why don't they make them right?

Because they simply. Don't. Care.

The executives behind the desks of the Big Burrito companies have absolutely no reason to change anything---because no one is forcing them to.

That's where you come in.

Get involved. Write your congressman. Tackle the problem on a grassroots level, in your favorite burrito restaurant. Next time you're served an uneven burrito, don't just sit there while you and your children try to gag down half a cup of sour cream. Take it to the restaurant's manager. Remind him of the starving children in Haiti, and how this much sour cream and guac all at once would probably cause their malnourished stomachs to explode. Demand the even burrito you deserve.

There are a lot of problems in the world today. Let's start with the ones we care about.



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