My friend Mikey once posted this picture of a Larry the Cable Guy sponsored TV dinner with a simple caption saying, "Num nums." The caption wasn't enough, in my opinion. His photo held much more emotion and intention than "Num nums." When I saw the photo, I instantly visualized the life of a man who bought it. His entire evening hit me in a single second and I wrote it down.
Richard had a long day at work. Nothing bad happened, there was just a lot of repairs to be made. More than usual.
"Good job today, Richard," his supervisor said to him as they finished their end of the day rituals. "Thanks for the extra hand this morning. If you're ever here early again and there's work to be done, feel free to clock in. You don't need to ask me. I trust you."
"No problem," replied Richard with his most convincing smile. Today was Saturday and he knew it's when all the guys went out for a drink at Tim's Tavern. He was hoping that this would be the day they would ask him to join, but maybe they'll ask him some other time. Richard went to Tim's Tavern twice before on Saturday, but none of his coworkers talked to him, but maybe they didn't see him. They're nice to him at work.
Richard got in his truck and headed to the grocery store to buy a 6-pack of beer. "It's cheaper if I buy beer from the grocery store, anyway," he thought to himself. As he walked his 6-pack of Budweiser to the checkout, he passed by something he had never seen before: Larry the Cable Guy's Biscuits and Gravy microwaveable dinner. Richard had seen some of Larry the Cable Guy's comedy on TV before and he thought some of the jokes were kinda funny, but not really. The guys around the workshop seemed to like Larry the Cable Guy and Richard would recognize some of the jokes they'd say at work. Richard decided to buy it. He's committed to buying the Larry the Cable Guy's Biscuits and Gravy microwaveable dinner.
When he got home, he put the beer in the fridge and read the instructions on the biscuits and gravy. "Open grub here," said the bottom corner of the cardboard lid. He slightly peeled it open and put it in the microwave for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. He walked over to the TV and flipped through the channels to see what was on. There was nothing particularly interesting so he settled on Saturday Night Live which had started before he got home. "Maybe I can talk about some of these jokes with the guys at work on Tuesday," he thought to himself. When the first commercial started to play, the microwave began beeping.
He fully peeled off the lid to his biscuits and gravy and wasn't disappointed with what he saw; years of eating TV dinners prepared him with the knowledge that nothing would ever look like the picture on the box. He grabbed a spoon out of his drawer and walked with his meal over to the TV.
The biscuits and gravy weren't very good. The gravy tasted like salty milk and the biscuits tasted like wood. The little specks of sausage were like leftover scraps of someone else's meal. Richard only ate one of the biscuits and decided to just throw the other in the trash. He grabbed a beer from the fridge before going back to the TV.
As he took a sip of beer, he realized that he didn't understand what the SNL skit was about. The audience laughed on the cues, but Richard didn't understand the references. He realized he didn't really like the taste of beer, either. He put the beer on the table and didn't drink any more of it. When SNL ended, he poured the beer down the sink and started getting ready to go to bed. He wondered what the guys were talking about at Tim's Tavern. Maybe they'll tell him at work on Tuesday.