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> Tangent #24: Step-By-Step Micro-Meal Goodness
At work, I am well known for my most glorious and rather nasty smelling Micro-Meals that I suck down during the lunch hours. Everybody else that I work with will go OUT and buy lunch... but NOT ME!!! I have OTHER plans. Why spend upwards to $5.50 on fast food that tastes like feces, then you can spend only 50 CENTS (I get 'em on sale) for an entire Mini-Meal (and I mean mini) made out of Almost-Food stuffed into a packaging consisting of cardboard, a plastic tray, little compartments to keep the Almost-Food from touching the other Mini-Portions of Almost-Food, and the thin layer of plastic saran-wrapish coating super-glued on top of it all that never quite comes off and ends up being stirred in with your Almost-Corn or Almost-Peas or the Almost-Brownie-Looking-MushBall-Thing.

Whenever my stomach begins to gurgle and I begin to get woozy, giddy, and downright stupid from hunger, I know... in the back of my mind... that my lunch time fun is waiting for me in the bowels of the freezer stuffed behind a half-a-tray of ice cubes, mysterious frozen remnants of left-overs someone brought in back when Reagan was still president, and chunks of stalactites that have been growing in the freezer for well over 1.8 million years**. I think I may have also seen Jimmy Hoffa smashed back in there as well (or it could have been a Chicken Pot Pie, not sure really).

There is a process to the Micro-Meal experience:
  1. Realize when you are hungry.
  2. When you DO find yourself hungry. Walk over to the freezer.
  3. Unless you have one of those fancy freezers that merely opens when you just stare at it and think real hard, you should now grab onto the freezer's handle and open the freezer.
  4. Watch all of the other items that had been jammed into the freezer come spilling out onto the ground.
  5. Grab your Micro-Meal that just so happens to still be in the freezer while kicking the rest of the food (now on the floor) underneath the cabinets so you do not have to exert yourself by bending over and picking them up.
  6. Never... ever... EVER... read the NAME of the food on the front of the box. The less you know about the food the better. Just look at the instructions on the back. Do not look at the "meal's" name, because ultimately it is a lie and will instill false hope into your head that this is INDEED real food. Which it isn't. Almost-Food is called Almost-Food mainly because it is almost food, but it's NOT food. Do not let yourself be fooled by their evil marketing trickery.
  7. Never... ever... EVER... read the INGREDIENTS on the side of the box. If you do, you may go into toxic shock automatically and will need immediate medical attention. It is better to happily live the lie as opposed to comprehending the true reality of what you are about to ingest. Honestly, eating an entire pack of Menthol Cigarettes WITH filters would be healthier than eating THIS garbage.
  8. Take the plastic tray of goodness out.
  9. Now, slooooooowly pull at the plastic that has been glued over the tray and watch it magically tear to shreds. Don't tear it off ALL the way. Just let the shreds sort of lay there so the meal can breath (and you -- to heave).
  10. Stuff it in the microwave, dial in the magic number, hit "START", and pray for your soul.
  11. For the fancy ones, you will have to take it out -- stir the Almost-Potatoes until it is evenly mixed (which takes about half an hour because it is really just water with starch chunks swimming in it) -- and stuff it back in for Round 2 of the heating process (again, pray for your soul).
  12. When you hear the final DING, you know it's done. Pull it out. The box says to let it "stand" for 2 minutes until cool, but I have NEVER been able to do this. Whenever I attempt to stand it up, the Almost-Food goes all over the counter making and Almost-Mess. So I typically just let it "sit" there instead.
  13. Tear the rest of the now dripping-wet plastic off the top, and savor the aroma of DIRTY ASS. That's all it will EVER smell like, no matter what kind of meal it is. There is a light at the end of the rainbow: through years of consuming these, your lil "sense of smell" receptors up your nose will die due to the stench and you will no longer notice this (much like if you work on a farm all your life, and you eat cow bombs for breakfast every day, after while... mmm tastes like.. well cow shit. But since you have never eaten anything else in your life, how the hell are you suppose to know that anything else tastes better. So you just keep eatin' it, while thinking to yourself, "Gosh, I sure hope something out there doesn't taste like cow shit" ---- but I digress).
  14. Sit back, relax, and ENJOY your Micro-Meal while everyone else around you gets sick from the noxious vapors wafting off your spork. Wallow in deep satisfaction as the mere sight of your HORRIBLE DRIPPING GROTESQUE HEAPS of Almost-Food causes everyone else to vomit all over their expensive food they just bought from fancy-schmancy fast food joints. Yes... life is good.
There is ONE thing that has confused me. My buddy was looking at the box of my "Chicken Fried Chicken Meal" and noticed something odd. The shear fact that "Fried Chicken" could somehow be "Chickened" was weird enough. The REALLY REALLY weird issue concerned the instruction on the front in the lower left corner (see pic above). If you look REAL close, it has only TWO simple instructions for you.
  • Keep Frozen and...
  • Cook Thoroughly
It was only after reading this that our brains went into unbreakable loops of the irrational until short-circuiting entirely.

So WHICH IS IT??? Am I suppose to keep it FROZEN or am I suppose to COOK THOROUGHLY. I can't do BOTH. If I COOK it, it won't be FROZEN anymore and if I KEEP IT FROZEN it sure in the hell isn't going to be COOKED THOROUGHLY!!!

When it comes right down to it, Micro-Meals are always a Micro-Adventure.

** We are not allowed to remove the stalactites since the government has decided that they should be protected for historical purposes. Tour groups of school children come in to view and take pictures of the freezer every Monday through Thursday (9a.m.-3p.m.). During this time, I am forced to wear my bear skin loincloth (which I conveniently already owned) and drag my Captain Caveman Club around while reenacting the Homo erectus (hehe... I said Homo erectus... hehe) that lived in this freezer so long ago. We couldn't find any stuffed Wooly Mammoths (Wal-mart was fresh out), so I just bring my huge cat Fatso in, tape a portion of a garden hose to her nose, and toss toothpick at her, thereby showing the children how the cavemen hunted for food.... when they were not eating MicroMeals of course.