I apologize for not blogging for a few days. I've been out of town, hangin' with my homey, Mad Max Cleland, down at Six Flags Over Georgia. Let me tell you - one arm or not, the man is a SkeeBall God. After he cleaned the place out of their stuffed animals and dogs-playing-poker tapestries, we dropped into a local greasy spoon to get a bite to eat and talk shop.
"I'll have a denver omelette with some hash browns," Cleland told the waitress. He was wearing a colorful balloon animal hat a friendly clown had made for him by the Tilt O' Wheel. I privately wondered whether it was a giraffe or an ostrich. Perhaps a gazelle, or other form of cervid?
"I'm sorry, Mr. Flynt," the waitress apologized. "But we stopped serving breakfast eight hours ago. We're on the dinner menu now.'
"Zat so?" Cleland drawled. "I can lose three limbs on the field of battle, but I can't have breakfast for dinner. Amazing."
The waitress apologized again, and promised to take it up with the manager.
"You do that," Cleland suggested with a wink. "I'll just sit here and twiddle my THUMB."
I ordered a veggie burger for myself. "With lotsa Heinz ketchup."
"Sir, we don't serve veggie burgers here," the waitress informed me. "Just cheeseburgers and regular hamburgers."
I threw down my menu in a fit of rage. "HOW MANY LIMBS DOES MAX CLELAND HAVE TO LOSE BEFORE I CAN GET A DECENT VEGGIE BURGER IN THIS TOWN? And this coming from people who have not served! UNSCRUPULOUS AND DISGUSTING!!!!"
She glared at me. "How about a nice salad, sir?" she snipped.
"Just bring me a cup of coffee," I snipped back.
She grabbed the menus and huffed off.
While we waited for our meals, the senator and I discussed his long, distinguished military and political careers, from how he lost three limbs in Vietnam, to the way the GOP viciously criticized his brilliant suggestion to allow the labor unions to run the Department of Homeland Security.
"I felt as if George Bush had blown my arm and legs off all over again," a tearful senator told me. He may be a battle-hardened veteran who lost three limbs in Vietnam, but "Mad Max" Cleland has the tender heart of a little girl.
The waitress finally returned with my java, and an omelette with hashbrowns for Sen. Cleland.
"What's that?" the senator growled.
"Your breakfast, sir," the waitress replied.
"Holy CRAP! It's been TWO DAMN HOURS! I could have grown three new limbs in the time it took you to get back here!" One of the legs on his balloon headress popped, as if to punctuate his accusation. "I'm ready for DINNER now! Gimme a chicken salad sandwich."
"You ordered breakfast just 15 minutes ago, and now you want a goddamn chicken salad sandwich?" the waitress asked impatiently.
"Yeah," Cleland replied, "and I want you to hold the butter, hold the lettuce, hold the mayonnaise, and hold the chicken."
The waitress rolled her eyes. "You want me to hold it between my knees, right? Old joke, asshole."
My mouth dropped open.
"How DARE you speak to him that way! How DARE YOU attack this poor man, who lost three limbs on the battlefield of Vietnam! I want to see the manager, RIGHT NOW!"
"Fine, whatever," she shot back with a sneer, and stormed off to the kitchen. Moments later, she emerged with the manager who greeted us at our table.
"Your waitress here was questioning Sen. Cleland's patriotism,"' I told him. "THE Senator Cleland, who lost both arms and three legs on the Vietnam battlefield, mind you."
"I WAS NOT!!" the waitress cried. "I have nothing but the utmost respect for this man's service. But with all due respect, he's a jackass in a silly balloon moose hat."
Ahhhh...it was a moose!
"Oh, so I guess I'm unpatriotic and a LIAR now, too..." Cleland harrumphed, his giant balloon antlers flopping to and fro. "I don't like to dig up old Vietnam ghosts, but..."
"Then I will, senator!" I interjected. "This brave man lost three limbs on the battlefield of Vietnam! I demand an apology, I demand a complimentary dinner, and I demand you fire this hatemongering CHICKENHAWK immediately!"
"We can't fire her," the manager shrugged. "She's union."
Max and I spent the remainder of our dinner in relative silence, speaking only to reflect upon his three amputed limbs, which he lost on the Viertnam battlefield. Afterwards, we bid farewell, and I then waited outside for my ride to the airport, enjoying the sweet scent of Georgia lilacs. I couldn't help but think of the late Ray Charles, and his wonderful rendition of the state song:"...some sweet day, when blossoms fall and all the world's a song, I'll go back to Georgia 'cause that's where I belong.
"Christ," I said aloud. "I'd give Max Cleland's left arm for a goddamn cab."