The Friendly Nightmare

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

If you live in New England, and perhaps elsewhere, I haven’t tracked their proliferation, you may be aware of a franchise restaurant chain called “Friendly’s” I guess it’s pluralized because someone named Friendly owns it? Regardless, it’s your standard American fare: Burgers, Ice cream, old people, young children and middle aged rampantly obese people. As a child, I loved friendly’s, I wanted to go there every time I went “off island” and I constantly jonesed for their burgers and reese’s peanut butter cup sundaes. In my adult life I’ve tried to resist it, but occasionally the nostalgic urge comes over me and I make the stop, devouring a nice big ball of greasy food and saccharine sweetness. Yesterday on the way to Umass for my brother’s graduation, my mother and I stopped in at one to grab a bite on the road. After using the restroom, I stepped out into the hallway and was met with a horrific site, pictured below:


How would people get to work? What monstrosity is this? As a child I had fantasized about the book “cloudy with a chance of meatballs” coming true but this was a nightmare in front of my eyes. Upon looking more closely around the restaurant, several such horrors were present: churches with ice cream cones towering behind them, A town hall dwarfed by a grilled cheese sandwich. Good god, it was terrifying. Imagine your town, crushed by several pounds of meat and dairy, all cooked in lard. These poor people. I had to save them. I sprinted out the door to the nearest Walmart and gathered up supplies: Mr. Clean, a mop, and as many trash bags as I could carry. I sprinted toward the bridge waving the mop blindly in front of my face, like an amateur jouster, afraid to be hit and knocked from my horse. I swatted at the burger wildly with the wet end of the mop, trying to ignore the screams and whines of the bacon as the grease cutter sliced through it. The bun knocked me over a few times, but after an epic battle, the burger collapsed to the ground, defeated in a puddle of it’s own juices and melted cheese. I begrudgingly collected up the remains of the hideous beast, grease ruining my clothing, and dumped it into the trash bag.

Triumphant, I carried on. I stopped at a salon and borrowed 2 blow dryers that I then wielded like 6 shooters as I approached the ice cream cone. It attempted to drip into my mouth, but I resisted it’s temptations and fired upon it with impunity until it was nothing but a pink sticky mess on the pavement behind the town hall. Just then I heard a distant rumbling and a few moments later, the hill to the north was shadowed by onion rings, rolling downward toward me. I knew I was outmatched. As they crushed cars and knocked fire hydrants out of the sidewalk, sending jetstreams of water into the air. I retreated, meeting once again with my mother and shouting at her to start the car, drive, drive, before we’re all killed! We drove up the next hill and the onion rings lost momentum, collapsing upon themselves in greasy breaded messes. On the horizon I could see the french fries bursting from the pavement like fast growing trees, then crawling down the street as if they were caterpillars, eating the greenery as they went. These poor people. I did my best to save them, but I was overwhelmed, the food was too much, too prolific, too delicious and fattening. This poor town, off an exit in western Massachusetts, would have to fight this behemoth on their own. Good luck, brave souls.

And now, I’m off to watch my brother graduate.