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The Last Meal

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There's been a lot of tough talk lately about my favorite fast food outlet, Kentucky Fried Chicken. Apparently, the Food Nazis have a problem with KFC's new creation, The Double Down Sandwich -- a culinary breakthrough that "is so meaty there's no room for the bun."

Everyone knows bread is as deadly as a black mamba. That's why the boys at KFC replaced it with two massive slabs of deep fried chicken. The sandwich's innards are laced with two pieces of bacon, two slices of cheese and some blood-thickening secret sauce.

Ads for The Double Down make the hearty sandwich look like the clenched jaws of a barnacle-encrusted shark that has just taken down a chicken coop and a pig farm.

"We're selling a lot of these," said Tony, the manager of a KFC outlet in northeast Denver. "People like it."

But not everyone is a fan. Some folks have demonized a snack that delivers 540 calories, 32 grams of fat and 1380 milligrams of sodium.

The LA Times treated The Double D like a flat-chested girl at Russ Meyer film festival. Food snob Jeannine Stein said the sandwich was like "something invented by drunk college kids with a mini-fridge and a hot plate."

If memory serves, that's just how Bill Gates created the PC.

Clearly, these food elitists know little about Harland Sanders, the Southern gentleman who at age 40 began his quest for the ideal Southern-style chicken. The Colonel perfected his designs in the 1950s, then sold his franchise for $2 million in the early 1960s. The Colonel died finger-licking happy at the ripe old age of 90 in 1980.

To me The Colonel was a friendly grandfather, always full of cheer and chicken fat. As a child, I'd let out a heart-stopping shriek whenever I passed a KFC. Being the youngest, my parents allowed me to feast on The Colonel's 11 herbs and spices four times a week.

I've curbed the fast-food habit of late, but dared to dine on The Double D this week to honor The Colonel's memory and damn the food fascists who have slandered his good name.

My cardiologist advised against the move. "Your cholesterol is off the charts already," he warned. "Remember, you've got a family history of stroke and heart disease."

This is the same Johns Hopkins' trained quack who refused to recommend me for a medical marijuana card. He said hunger pangs and bad breath don't constitute a chronic health condition.

My wife also shuttered at bedding down next to a man laced with grease. She's a waif thin Gen Y type, who lives on cheese, fruit and 5-Hour Energy drink.

"You're going to puke and I'm not cleaning it up," she said.

I ignored her warnings and stomped out toward the nearest KFC. Below are diary entries that chronicle my face off with The Double Down.

Day 1, mid-afternoon: The scent of thick grease hangs in the air inside KFC. My eyes water as I approach the counter and order a Double Down Sandwich and medium Pepsi. Total cost: $7.11. I devour the meal in 5 minutes and head for the door.

Day 1, evening: I can't rise from the couch. It's as if a large stone has come to rest between my gut and upper chest. Sweat drips from my lip and pools on my collar. My wife tosses me a mocking glance. "How's that Double D sitting?" she wonders. I want slap the schadenfreude off her face, but something has me pinned to the furniture. It's as if I have moved to Jupiter.

Day 1, night: Houston, we have a problem. My guts are as twisted as the inner workings of Glenn Beck's brain. My stomach emits strange gurgling sounds. My eyesight is failing.

Day 2, morning: "You smell like dead meat," my wife observes. I'd scrap with her, but the entire left side of my body is numb. Meanwhile, the bed sheets are soiled with a rancid blend of sweat, snot and drool.

Day 2, early evening: I've stayed in bed all day. The gut gurgling has stopped, but now acne and bedsores cover my upper torso. I belong in a leper colony.

Day 2, night: I dreamt about Colonel Sanders. The kindly soul took me by the hand and said he'd soon reveal his "secret recipe."

Day 3, morning: Crows clustered outside my bedroom window at dawn. Their calls terrify me. My wife has gone off to "buy a hot looking funeral gown." She said my body is too toxic to cremate. "I'll just bury you at sea with the rest of the garbage," she says. I have to call a lawyer and update my will, but I'm too weak to pick up my cell phone. I'm cold, so very cold.

Day 4, time unknown: The Colonel stands at the foot of my bed. A calm and comforting smile has broken across his face. "No need for worry, son," he says in the sweetest Southern drawl I've ever heard. "Come on now; time to feed the chickens."