07 January 2006

Ain't Life Unkind?

I'm on the road this week, enjoying life lived from a suitcase and sampling the offerings of America's finer chain eateries. Today found me at Ruby Tuesday, a Red Robin-like gourmet burger restaurant. That was (as Space Ghost would say) a super-unsatisfying meal, although the chocolate pudding at the salad bar deserves props.

The chain has taken a page from the Applebee's decor guide and gone the "cover every square inch of the walls with bric-a-crap" route. It's an eyesore and no aid to proper digestion, but occasionally one sees something which piques one's interest. And causes one to refer to oneself as "one", apparently. This time, that special something was an antique-looking print of an anonymous early-20th century football player; it was a truly unique piece of Americana and so was the identical print on the next wall over.

Only in America would someone manufacture random faux-antique junk when there's no shortage of random real-antique junk to be had. Only in America would someone else buy multiple copies of that random faux-antique junk to ugly-up his strip-mall restaurant. When you get right down to it, the original antique football print is probably less authentically American than the random faux-antique copy. The copy of the random faux-antique copy is even more distinctly American, but that's where it ends; a third copy would just be tacky.

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