Starting tomorrow, I’ll be writing 100-word fanfiction stories. Expect to see Preacher, Sandman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Poldark, Star Trek, Firefly, and so many more.
But today, it’s the final day of #NaNoBlogMo. It was late when I finished last night’s post, and I hadn’t eaten yet. Neither @snarke nor I felt like cooking at that hour, so we decided to visit Arby’s. As I reached for my keys, I’d wondered aloud what my final blog topic would be. “Arby’s!”, @jillwebb called out from the living room. “They offer roast beef in a world of burgers,” @snarke added. “Representation!”
And so, friends, let us speak of the place where the Curly Fry lives–and sizzles in oil.
Arby’s gets a bad rap, perhaps most famously from Jon Stewart, who good-naturedly mocked the brand mercilessly for years. I always had the sense that they were frenemies of some fashion, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Stewart sometimes feels a strange burst of affection when he drives by this local franchise. In the final days of his Daily Show tenure, the company offered him a job, bought a tribute ad, and even created a 30-second ad featuring a Stewart-inspired sandwich.
About a year ago, writer and radio personality John Moe instituted the “Arby’s rule,” which has now extended beyond cookie fortunes into…well, just about any statement of advisement.
Yes, it’s suffered its share of detractors, but there’s a lot to love about the chain, Internets. Consider this:
Representation. As @snarke pointed out, Arby’s doesn’t make the same burgers and chicken sandwiches that 395 other fast food restaurants in your town offer.** You can order roast beef, brisket, a Reuben, beef and cheddar, a steak sandwich, a turkey club, a gyro, a French dip with swiss…it’s refreshing to see diversity on the menu. Sometimes you want something different in your grease-splotched sack-o-foodstuffs, and Arby’s ensures you have that choice. They also don’t limit their side selections to mere fries and onion rings. No, Arby’s is aware that when the hankering for mozz sticks, curly fries, Jalapeno poppers, and potato cakes arises, it is not easily quelled.
**except maybe Subway, but then you’d have to eat at Subway.
The sauces. Under the Drive-Thru Accords of 1592, Arby’s is required to dispense sauce packets upon request, but it is not satisfied with just handing out ketchup. One can stock up on Honey Mustard, “Horsey Sauce” (mayo-based horseradish), Marinara, Spicy Three Pepper, and others depending on location. Marinara is, as everyone knows, the modern-day nectar and pairs well*** with everything.
***I said to @snarke and @jillwebb last night that writers usually drop “pairs well” when discussing wine, but I’m using it here to talk about fast food because that’s the kind of classy guy I am.
Since we ordered our food To Go last night and our local branch didn’t have sealable containers, @snarke asked for a few packets at the counter. This is what we received:
I used three packets. My dresser is currently stacked with Arby’s sauce, and I’m planning my meals for the next few days around using up my supply. I suppose I could simply throw out the remaining packets, but this would surely constitute a serious lack of decorum, a slight in the face of such generosity! It’s like when Jesus took those loaves and fishes and then fed 4,000 people.****
****It’s not really like that. The Parable of the Tribbles seems more probable.
James Earl Jones.
It’s a small joy to listen to James Earl Jones talk about anything, but I am being entirely sincere when I say that I would patronize an Arby’s establishment solely based on this commercial.
The fandom tweets. And this, dear Reader, is where my love of Arby’s blossoms into…well, some form of lifelong commitment. Whoever runs the company’s Twitter account is a bloody *genius*.
And so, dear Reader, we close #NaNoBlogMo with a cookie atop a paper turtle, the manner in which all things in life must inevitably end. I hope this post has brought you peace, a little introspection, and maybe–just maybe–a yearning to follow the Arby’s Twitter account. You’ll thank me.