March 12th, 2005

I Will Not Defame New Orleans.

Existential Condiments

Stopping off at Taco Bell on the way home from the St. Paddy parades Uptown, I came across this little packet of hot sauce.

At first I thought, "Well, that's pretty dumb." But as I was munching my Gordita (which, incidentally, translates to "Little Fat Girl") I kept staring at the hot sauce packet.

And it sorta made me sad.

It's one thing to lend absurd personification to something as personality-free as a packet of hot sauce. But wherefore the morose wailings of the poor little thing? Whence springs this doleful refrain? What childhood trauma could have possibly happened to a Taco Bell hot sauce packet to warrant such a hopeless jeremiad as this?

And what meaning should we, the reader, the consumer of hot sauces, take? It seems to impose upon us a very real, but very stupid and trivial calling for a god complex. The fate of this lonely condiment packet is in our hands. It's squeak of fear and hopeless doom has reached us, but ultimately we may choose or choose not to open the plastic pouch and spill its precious lifeblood.

The more I thought about this (while munching my little fat girl), the more I felt pretty much bullied into not opening the hot sauce packet. A backhoe of guilt ladeled upon me with this plaintive plea. Just what kind of establishment is this Taco Bell?

I had no qualms nor hesitations about opening another hot sauce packet which said simply, "Hello."

"And hello to you little hot sauce packet. I will squirt you on my Gordita now." A very straightforward relationship between us, and rather chummy, with little formality nor fanfare.

Another packet had some not-at-all-clever one-liner about hot sauces, and, once again, I tarried not a jiffy in ripping it open, feeling that such a badly composed line deserved to be spread on a pita-thing and devoured.

And then this lugubrious soliloquy. This shout into the void. This abysmal howl.

I nigh well shed a tear.

(Yes, I'm empathizing with a condiment.)


I still can't wrap my mind around this. I keep breaking down the sorry tale and reading the sauce packet's deepest secrets:

"Of all those sauce packets…" — he recognizes his bretheren, and by doing so, a society of sauce packets is created. The use of "those" (as opposed to "these") shows us that he further recognizes he has been removed from his community. Perhaps he was an outsider. He doesn't seem to speak well of his species. His story says, "Let it happen to another sauce packet! Not me!" A selfish, narrow sentiment. Perhaps he deserves whatever fate shall befall him.

"Why me…" — the bitter and downtrodden often bemoan these two somber words to a god whom they perceive has averted his gaze. The sauce packet is effectively, and in two tiny words, acknowledging the omnipotency of us, the Consumers of Gorditas as godheads, and flirting dangerously with causing us displeasure by doubting our omnipotency. It's starting to piss me off, in fact!

"Why now?" — the sauce packet gains a more complex consciousness! He has a past and (he hopes) a future. But what was he doing at the moment of being chosen for the Gordita that was so important that this moment is worse than another moment may be for consumption? No doubt I disturbed him writing his memoirs or fluffing the scansion of his latest bad goth poetry…