One of the great things about being a writer is royalties. Every time someone buys my book, I get a portion of the money, and at the end of the month, Amazon sends me a check. I never know how much I’m going to get, but here’s a clue: they call them “royalties” because you have to be independently wealthy to live on them.
My first royalty check was for $27.13. That may not sound like much, but to me, it was $27.13 more than I had before, so a celebration was in order. The money had to be spent.
The obvious first stop was the nearest Hardee’s, to wolf down a half-pound ThickBurger El Diablo. I love Hardee’s because, while every other fast-food chain in America is trying to offer “healthier” alternatives, Hardee’s has doubled-down on the heart-stopping goodness that American’s crave, offering a menu that basically says, “Fuck you, food Nazis.”
The excellently named ThickBurger El Diablo is a glorious amalgamation of grease-infused Angus beef, several strips of bacon, a slab of pepper-jack cheese, a layer of breaded cheddar-and-jalapeno-pepper poppers (!) supported on a bed of even more jalapeno peppers, all delivered on a giant squishy bun.
Straight out of the chute, the El Diablo weighs in at 1,380 calories and 92 grams of fat—but if you’re nice to the girl behind the counter, she’ll add a split hot dog (from the Hardee’s “Most American” series), which easily pushes it over 1,500 calories and 100 grams of fat. People who eat El Diablo’s don’t think these numbers are frightening, because they don’t think about them at all. I only include them here as a point of reference to illustrate how truly awesome these burgers are. I like them because they tend to get lodged in your digestive tract, making it unnecessary to eat anything else for several days, which saves money. And, since double-digit royalty checks only come once a month, that’s important.
I still had $18.22 left after my El Diablo binge, so I headed over to the liquor store to buy a case of Bud and some Swisher Sweets. Drinking beer and smoking cherry-flavored cigars is an under-appreciated pleasure. In fact, I’ve pitched the idea of doing an article on it to several notable “lifestyle” magazines, but I’m convinced that all those magazines are edited by socialist snobs who secretly want to live in France or Italy. They don’t care what real Americans do for fun; they’d rather tell their readers what imaginary Europeans are eating and smoking, as if it’s somehow “better.” It’s not. Trust me, Italians have no idea how to flavor a cigar.
After all that, I still had $6.89 burning a hole in my pocket, so I stopped in at a local convenience store and bought a small pack of fireworks. Individually, most of these fireworks are pathetic. But throw the whole box in a backyard campfire and the results can be quite impressive.
After the guys from the fire department questioned me, I reached into my pocket and found that even after all that celebrating, I still had twenty-six cents left. Instead of spending it on something frivolous, I chose to invest it. That’s what the jar in my kitchen drawer is for—retirement savings.
My next royalty check is due in three weeks, and I can’t wait. I’m eager to try The Big Slab at Famous Dave’s, which is 2,770 calories of finger-lickin’ fun. And every bite tastes like freedom.