Every Veterans Day, some lovely, patriotic establishments offer free meals to veterans. As a veteran myself, it is a kindness that I have appreciated and partaken of for years. It warms my heart, and it is one of my favorite expressions of gratitude because I love food, probably a little too much. Because of how much sadness and division the recent election cycle has caused, this year I decided to create something that we can all get behind as Americans, because I love this country with every goddamn fiber of my being.
THE VETERANS DAY FREE MEAL CHALLENGE!
1. Spend no money, except tip (I'm not a human monster)
2. Eat only single meals, no appetizers, no buffets (for my own safety)
3. Eat the entire meal
Also, this has to be my uniform:
I chose this outfit for a couple of reasons. First, America, duh. Next, the shorts are loose and have elastic in the waistband. Both are important qualities when attempting this sort of feat. Finally, the outfit will help with the heat. Besides the fact that it is unseasonably hot right now, having seen some of the free food, I'm almost positive I'm going to be faced with the meat sweats at some point today. And I'm off on my quest like some sort of wizard whose only power is gaining weight at an alarming rate.
I feel so patriotic right now, I might as well be drinking eagle blood and eating the tire off of a Mack Truck shipping American flags and fireworks. Also, the contrast of the sweet glazed doughnut with the coffee is always pleasant. Sure, this is a small meal, but this is my challenge, and plenty of people have just this for breakfast.
Short stack with strawberry and blueberry toppings, and a streak of whipped cream down the middle. I immediately destroy the barrier between the red and blue cakes because I'm a man for all the people, and cakes. The pancakes are delicious, and the berries taste like unity. U-S-A, U-S-A!
OK guys, I'm going to level with you, I made a miscalculation and chose to start off with three meals that contain a lot of starch. I'm not giving up, I will push forward for you, America. I will probably need to rally sooner than expected, but the coffee is kicking in and that should help.
Morale: "Livin' In America"
Appetite: The hardest working man in show business
I underestimated this salad. I knew that I was going to need some vegetables at some point, so this seemed as good a point as any. This was the wrong salad to choose -- it had three meats, it was served in a concave plate so you didn't really understand how much there was, and it had these sneaky little fuckers known as chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, aka more starch. Those gar-bastards hid motionless among the vegetables until they made it past my outer defenses and used the water I'd been drinking to expand in my stomach like a mob of starving Violet Beauregardes locked in Willy Wonka's Inventing Room with nothing but the three-course-meal gum to eat. I did it. I had no idea you could get food sweats from a salad, but it's done. Time to rally.
Morale: Look, I know, "It's a salad, that barely counts"
Appetite: Don't judge me
I went home to rally and passed the hell out when I sat down on the couch. My brain was fighting off the insulin like Jackie Chan vs. the biker gang in Rumble In The Bronx, only our hero is fatter and more apathetic. I did rally, though, and even though it's four hours later, I'm going to persevere.
Morale: Rally Monkey
This monkey is probably dead.
This was pretty good, a well seasoned and cooked chicken breast that was still moist. A solid meal. I mean, it was free, you can't beat that.
Morale: Gloria Gaynor
Appetite: "I Will Survive"
I had to rally again before this one. I think I'll probably need to after each subsequent one. The meat sweats are so real right now. This stopped being funny in the last entry. I'm really not sure I'm going to make it back to my car after this one. I'm about as mobile as the Spruce Goose trying to achieve liftoff with both its wings on fire. I need to rally again, even if it hurts -- it's the only way I can keep going. I love you, America.
Morale: Existential crisis
Appetite: WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE?!
Fuck ... I mean ... after this cheeseburger, I think I really get that sad Jeb Bush gun tweet.
Is there a legal driving limit for blood insulin levels? I'm definitely going to rally again. That drive home is going to be a race against the devil, and I really don't want to rally in these shorts and ruin them.
Appetite: "What's in the BOX?!"
Cristian is an Army veteran who works on the video team at Cracked. You can bear witness to more irresponsible things that he does on his Twitter.