If the United States Census Bureau ever wanted to get a stunningly accurate look at a cross section of the population, they need only look one place. The Golden Corral buffet restaurant. Just one of them too. That’s right, just one buffet. Nobody coming to your door to ask the size of your family while you are watching Deadliest Catch. None of those stupid television commercials depicting a tantrum prone artist that wants to take a portrait of everyone in the country at the same time. That would never work to begin with. One or two of us might have to go to the gas station anyway and it would mess the painting up.
But anyway, if you really want to get a great in depth look at a cross section of the United States; just visit a Golden Corral. You probably aren’t too far from one right now. Look out your window you can probably see one in the neighbor’s yard. Don’t fret if the people across the street don’t happen to have one lying around as you are dangerously close to one at any given moment. Golden Corrals have the tendency to be put near something else, like a Jiffy Lube or an auto parts store of some kind. That’s where they get the oil to fry everything with. The parking lot of one is usually pretty full in the evening hours, since most daytime TV is inundated with commercials advertising their “all you can eat for ten dollars” deals. And to go along with this horrifically modest price, you get a massive assortment of items to choose from. Like popcorn shrimp, which upon closer inspection appear to be nothing more than sea monkeys fried in panko crumbs. Or their mouth watering fried chicken, which appear to be several sea monkeys taped together and fried in panko crumbs.
Aside from the standard buffet fare; you get the excitement of standing in an amusement park grade line for a sliver of steak that looks about the size of half a fun size candy bar. By a pit master whose sole job it is at this establishment is to give you as little steak as possible. If I didn’t know any better I’d swear the guy at our local Golden Corral is a vegan.
But let’s go back to the beginning. When you decide to go you will arrive through a side door into this maze like holding pen. Yep, just like the name says. You, a grown human being along with about fifty other grown human beings , is standing in an actual corral. After being herded through to the front of the line and paying for your meal, you get handed some plates that look like they got stolen from an old middle school or a prison cafeteria. No uniformity in color, giant chunks taken out of every plate. Silverware that could be bent in half by a baby breathing softly at it. Then you get directed to your table. Where if you begin to look at the people around you; you will notice that you have suddenly been plopped down into a mass live action recreation of the dinner scenes from The Nutty Professor. All races and religions. All creeds and colors. Making complete pigs of ourselves. Dinner rolls and Jell-o everywhere. Not one open spot on a plate to be found. People are piling it on and often.
Invariably during your internment at this academy of gluttony, someone in your party will make a complete and total ass out of themselves. When our family recently decided to visit; I personally consumed a rack of ribs, two pounds of pulled pork, about a pound of shrimp, enough baked beans to power the space shuttle and a myriad of other items I generally poured hot sauce on without even asking what they were. The best, however, came when for dessert I piled apple cobbler onto a plate, then piled banana pudding onto that, and then finally piled vanilla ice cream onto that. After two bites or so of this disgusting concotion the plate looked like a flat slop bucket. I appeared to be so at peace my wife asked one of the wait staff if there was any way a pig pen could be constructed so I could feel more at home.
So if you ever want to get a look at America, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars. Just take ten bucks and drive to the nearest Golden Corral. You get to see true equality in action. Everyone there is doing the same thing. Making complete and total pigs of ourselves; and loving every minute of it.