Now they've gone and ticked me off.
As the attached story explains today we had an enormous rally for immigrant rights, whatever that is, in Chicago. The rally which seemed to begin around 1pm was utterly enormous and must have had at least 10 million people involved. At least.
Even worse, today I had to leave the office to go to a meeting near my home, and since I don't get out much during the week, I had a special little treat planned for myself. Those of you who've been here for awhile might even be able to guess just what that treat was.
The Mecca of Meat.
Yup, I had the full intention of checking out a little early to go see my pal Gino and get me one of them fine Manny's corned beef samiches....with two potato pancakes and a large coke. As I drove in this morning all I could think about was that wunnerful meat, piled high between two slices of rye bread, with swiss cheese, sauerkraut and a little thousand island dressing. Oh this samich is a true delight. The corned beef is cooked beautifully and sliced to thin perfection. I like to add a little horseradish - not the sauce mind you, but the real thing - at the table to round out this lunch.
I beavered away at my desk all morning with dreams of Manny's in my mind and it seemed that it would be forever until the magic moment arrived. Then, at about 1:15 I bounded out of my office, announced my absence for the remainder of the day, and quickly exited the parking lot across the street. I proceeded west up Madison street weaving in and out of traffic, spectacularly as Jackie Stewart used to say. The crisp spring air coming through the driver side window, I shot across Wacker, literally flew over the bridge at the Chicago River and turned through the yellow light at Clinton. I was on my way, moments from my salvation!
And then it all stopped. Stopped dead!
I was behind a truck so it was hard to see what was going on, but I knew it was bad. Clinton is never backed up. In all my years of Manny's patronage Clinton was where you could hit the gas, shoot by Union Station, rocket past Harold's Chicken Shack (#43). As you cruised down the street you could tip your hat to the recruits at the Chicago Fire Academy, site of Mrs. O'Leary's barn and then turn on Roosevelt, just up from Al Capone's vault.
But not today, because nothing was moving. I maneuvered my Volvo 240 deftly to the right, made a turn west onto Adams and at that moment it became clear some kind of protest was underway. "Hah!" I thought. "Silly fools, carrying banners, waving signs when they could be headed to Mecca, like me!" I felt pity for such an unevolved breed. No doubt a quick couple of blocks west, I'd turn south and once again be off.
I drove west on Adams, and drove and drove. The throng was endless and my pity turned into contempt. Block after block it went and if anything the crowd was getting bigger! My God! Where were they all coming from and why did they feel it necessary to keep my from my corned beef samich?!
It was at that moment that a bunch of school kids in a bus next to me started shouting to the protesters. "Viva Mexico"! they screamed. Viva Mexico? Viva Mexico?! Viva Freakin' Mexico?!
My contempt turned into active loathing.
"I'm a friend of Mexico!" I thought. I've vacationed there, learned a bit of the language......I've been good to Mexico! And this is my thanks?
"Screw Mexico and all who keep me from Manny's!" I said to no one in particular and yanked the steering wheel hard to the right. The school bus driver had to slam on the brakes as I cut in front of him letting out a manical laugh and heading north up Peoria! "That'll teach you!" I yelled as my 240 accelerated (as much as 240's accelerate) north. Nobody, not even cute little Mexican immigrant kids suffering from confused loyalties was going to keep me from my appointment with Gino and his cholesterol laden goodness.
I revved the 240 (again, as much as a 240 rev's) back east into the loop and then south on Michigan avenue. At Roosevelt street and Michigan (site of the Roosevelt Hotel where Al's aforementioned vault was - now it's a condo development) I headed west. Once again weaving like A.J. Foyt closing in on Unser I drove into Manny's parking lot, slammed on the brakes, straightened my tie, and headed inside.
As I said, nobody was gonna stop me. But that doesn't make what these people did right. I'm sure they're a well intended folk, but when their protest interferes with a hard working American's right to the lunch of his choice, well that brother just ain't right. It ain't right at all.
I now find out that our Mexican friends, no doubt all of them legally in this country, were protesting against tighter immigration controls, a subject on which I've been somewhat ambivalent. Not......Any......Fricken.......More.......People.
Today I announce the Pursuit of Happiness' official support of a wall on our southern border. A really big, really high wall. Protection against terrorism is one thing. Controlling our country's borders is another. But people, keeping out those who do not appreciate the right of their fellow hard working citizens to a good and decent lunch?
Well that trumps all.
Build it. Build it now!