The Everly Righteous Doobie

Photo by David Robert

I’m on the phone, trying to remember if I have any other friends. My kid sister Amy has “volunteered” to help with the Dollar Menu Experiment, and so has Eric’s friend Greg. (I gave up ownership of Greg last weekend, because he’s weird.) Rory has better things to do, so we call him names and hang up.

“Pre-dinner refreshments?” ask my only friends.

“This story will be much funnier if you’re all drunk,” I say with a grin.

We’re talking about rock ‘n’ roll while everyone gets their buzz on. Eric struggles to remember the name of one of those “Brother” bands: “You know, the, er, Everly … Righteous … uh, Doobie … “

(Now, look up to the sky, imagine angels singing and golden rays shining, and say to yourself “The Everly Righteous Doobie.” If you’re not laughing your pants off, there’s something wrong with you.)

So, laughing, we pile into Amy’s ‘65 Chrysler New Yorker. This car is huge. The hood is tied to the bumper with rope. Only two windows roll down, and Eric gets stuck by the one that doesn’t always roll up again. We only get AM radio. We are on an adventure, in search of grease and salt.

There’s a perfect loop of fast food joints along the southwestern quadrant of McCarran Boulevard and Prater Way. I put my arm out the window at a 90-degree angle and say, “blink, blink, blink” to indicate my turn. The Chrysler easily glides into the Burger King drive-thru, and we roll up to the mouthpiece.

Next comes the Wendy’s experience, which is nice, and we’re all calm and everything is good until Ethyl Mermen comes on the radio singing “Anything Goes” and then the car is full of dancing singing weirdos. (Yeah, me too.) At McDonald’s, the line is really long and we’re all getting antsy and the guy doesn’t hear me order the hot fudge sundae until I whisper sadly into the mouthpiece “Hot fudge sundae? Hot fudge sundae?”

Crossing Prater to get to Jack in the Box, Amy assures me that the metal scraping sound is only the trunk. I order a final string of cheap food and the reality of our situation settles like the grease soon will in our bellies: We have to eat all this junk.

Back at the ranch, we spread the goods on the kitchen counter. Greg grabs his food and hides on the couch. He shouts into the kitchen that Wendy’s and Burger King’s chilies are tasty and that the Jack in the Box chicken sandwich looks better than the McDonald’s one tastes. Eric assumes the role of Hamburger Tester; he eventually chooses McDonald’s Big and Tasty as the champion. Amy and I enjoy the star and lightning bolt shapes of BK’s chicken bits. She declares Wendy’s baked potato the winner. I’m happy with my late night Breakfast Jack. Everyone ignores the salads.

“I think that mixing all these meats might be toxic,” Eric says.

Greg falls asleep on the couch. Eric looks green. Amy can’t move. I face plant into the leftover burgers. The things we do for you.

If you need to eat and you only have a dollar, any of these places will do. If you’re going to attempt something like this, bring friends, turn up the AM radio, and please, don’t try to order one of everything. Like Amy says, "You don’t have to get fat just because there are starving people in other countries." Right on, little sister, right on.