Friday, August 10, 2007

Coincidence Happens

Yesterday I was listening to the radio as I drove to Arby's to score lunch. Specifically, I was listening to a Christian station. I know, I know, I can hear you now: "Greg, what were you doing listening to Christian radio?" The truth is that sometimes I find it entertaining. For example, I'm awed when I listen to the Young Earthers, pretty much in the same way I'm awed by Cirque Du Soleil. Watching Cirque Du Soleil: How do they get their bodies to do that? Listening to Young Earthers: How to get their brains to do that?

Anyway, yesterday they were broadcasting a sermon that a Black minister was delivering to a Black congregation. I enjoy listening to the back-and-forth between the minister and the congregation in Black churches. It creates an energy that even I, a non-Christian, feel. The sermon went more-or-less like this (I don't remember it exactly):

"The Bible is the word of God, but the word doesn't come alive until you add faith. You know cocoa comes in those little packets, but it's not really cocoa until you add water. You can buy instant soup, but it's not soup until you add water. The word of God is the same way. Anyone can buy a book. Anyone can buy a Bible. Anyone can set a Bible on their nightstand."

Then, with rising passion: "But it's not until you add faith to the word of God that it comes alive. Just like you have to add water to cocoa. Just like you have to add water to instant soup. Just like you add water to instant gravy."

Then he cried, "No!", sharply. "Wait a minute! We don't have instant gravy!"

At this point some in the congregation laughed and others called out, "No! We make gravy from scratch!"

The idea of instant gravy made me smile, as did the horrified reaction of the minister -- he had obviously let himself get carried too far -- and his congregation.

So I arrived at Arby's, went inside, and ordered my sandwich (a Rueben). While I was waiting for it to be made, I watched an employee grab a shallow white styrofoam bowl off a stack, peel off the plastic lid, run hot water into it, snap the lip back on, and drop it into a bag. "That's odd," I thought, "what does Arby's sell that's instant? Oatmeal? Soup?" I scanned the menu board, looking for something that might be "add hot water and serve." And then I found it: The French Dip and Swiss Sub comes with au jus. And the au jus apparently begins life as a powder. Just add water.

Instant gravy.



I love it that he took the instant gravy part back. I guess God is in everything but instant gravy!

I used to work at an Arby's in Waltham, MA when I was in college. Boy o boy could I tell you stories. Not good stories though.
i, too, sometimes peruse stations such as the christian ones--it's an interesting cultural study, and sometimes the music is kind of interesting in that "did he just say what i thought he said?" way

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