I suppose things could be worse---well, maybe they couldn’t be worse. In fact, if you want to call a chicken a chicken, this is probably the absolute lowest point that can realistically be reached. I guess what I’m not seeing is how we got to this point. When I originally suggested temporarily adding a thirty-second flavor to Baskin Robbins’ lineup as part of a new marketing campaign (“We’re busting out all over---with flavor!”), I expected a little opposition from some old-timers, sure, but nothing more than that. Honestly, the 77 percent decline in our stock, the dozens of lawsuits, and the necessity for a bankruptcy filing came as a pretty big surprise. That the company would be forced to shut down entirely in only five months’ time? Yeah, that too. But where my imagination seems to be really failing me is taking it from that point to where we are now. I mean, please whiteboard for me how this caused the collapse of the American economy, a doubling of the crime rate, and the forced evacuation of thirteen major cities? And if you have the time---and I know you do, since the unemployment rate somehow stands now at 82 percent---could you please, very slowly, take me through the steps to show me how adding Mocha Ripple to the Baskin Robbins flavor lineup led to packs of wild dogs completely taking over the streets of Detroit, Baltimore, St. Louis, and Providence, heroin addiction skyrocketing, and the President rescinding the Declaration of Independence? It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. When a poll of American citizens reveals that their number one daily concern has changed from “saving for retirement” to “being eaten by another human being,” and the addition of a single tub of ice cream to the display case at a handful of Sacramento-area Baskin Robbins locations is blamed by scholars, the media, and every significant world government as the initial domino that set this whole horrific chain of events in motion, I’m not ashamed to tell you that I’ve completely lost the plot here.
You know what the part that most baffles me is? How all of a sudden, in the midst of a national catastrophe more nightmarish than any in history, ABC is making new episodes of Barney Miller. Not that I’m not grateful, but you’d think now that the airwaves have gone dead with all the signal satellites having been brought down by terrorists, and with the Internet being cut off under martial law, the people in Hollywood would be scavenging for food and a reliable source of heat like everyone else instead of shooting new Barney Millers on scavenged Super-8 film and projecting it in church basements. But hey, any excuse to get Max Gail back in front a camera. You want to go see one tonight after you finish looting that Hanes outlet store? Dietrich arrests the Phillies’ mascot!