When the barbecue joint first opened my boss put up a shelf of assorted homey tchochkes that would hopefully evoke the feel of an authentic barbecue eatery, only one situated right here in Brooklyn; no pretentious bullshit for us, we’s just simple folk!
The initial items on display included a few carved wooden livestock, namely a couple of roosters and a fairly hefty pig, a couple of beer signs, and a pig in a chef’s outfit holding a chalkboard sign that reads, “EAT.” All well and good, but when your restaurant employs such a diverse assortment of balls-out fucking wackos — myself and the lovely Tracey leading the very warped pack — it’s only a matter of time before all manner of hideous, ungodly and just plain downright stupid shit begins to wend its inscrutable way onto the display area with the intent of boggling the innocent onlooker’s mind like some scurvy, flea-infested boardwalk freak show of the lowest order.
Recent addition to the kitchen staff, Scott, contributed the hardcover edition of the most important tome in recorded history, country music star and breakfast sausage maven Jimmy Dean’s autobiography, “Jimmy Dean’s Own Story,” which proudly bears the banner, “Thirty years of sausage, fifty years of ham.” Hey, it’s no “Chuck Norris: My Story,” but what is? Next to my treasured copy of the poetry of Suzanne “Three’s Company” Somers (no, I am not kidding), this may be the single most useless book ever published.
The brick with the newspaper item attached to it is a souvenir from the night of the crazed brick-throwing guy.
This assortment of Lilliputian piss poor protoplasm is part of the “Trailer Park” collection, a series of fifty cent figurines that you can get at the local supermarket in a shameless move to rip off/cash in on the hugely successful Hispanic pioneer of the genre, “Homies.” My favorites from the set are the retard with banjo, the redneck serving himself a party cup from a keg, the fisherman who looks suspiciously like the aquatic specimen that he’s proudly holding up, and the fat biker-looking dude scarfing down a bucket of chicken.
The previously mentioned Tracey recently got married in Thailand, and as if that wasn’t cool enough she illegally sneaked into Laos — fucking LAOS!!! — and obtained a bottle of “medicinal” snake whisky. And just what, you may ask, is snake whisky? It’s an elixir that allegedly cures many common ailments such as rheumatism, lumbago, and “sweat of limbs” (?), but what gives this stuff that extra little “zetz” is the fact that it contains not only an actual cobra, but a cobra with another snake in its mouth. Now, THAT’S fucking hard core!
My old buddy, Amanda, knows of my love for ludicrous “negrobilia,” and her contribution is this stunningly cheap and tawdry black Minnie Mouse. Although, I must admit to being somewhat disappointed that she doesn’t have the huge white lips of minstrelsy.
The Barbecue Bash Barbie is wholly appropriate because not only is it gleefully stupid, but it is also a K-Mart special edition, and we all know just how special that is, right, kids?
Last, but definitely not least, is this stunning painting that was one of several that I found outside on the sidewalk, presumably abandoned by the tortured artist who crafted them. This one was the more displayable of my two favorites — the other being a crudely depicted woman in lingerie being simultaneously impaled on a picket fence and having her throat slashed by what looks like an especially unsavory and drunken Vampire Lestat — and I really don’t know what it is meant to represent. To me it looks like an irate Alistair Crowley/Winston Churchill brandishing a staff or cane over the burning body of one of his enemies. Merely seeing a jpeg image of this work just cannot get across the crawling disturbingness of the piece and the possible mental illness of its author. Every time I behold this wonder I instantly hear Mercyful Fate’s “Black Funeral” screeching inside my head.
So, what strange artifact will next grace the Mystical Shelf of Idiotic Shit? Only time and the odd zeitgeist of the barbecue joint will tell...