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The Saddest Job in the World

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Were you thinking parenting? Compost truck driver? Michele Bachmann's twitchy left eyelid? Close.

How about middle manager for a Midwestern Monsanto subsidiary specializing in the eradication of parasitic weevils but really dedicated to poisoning all earthly soils with your company's noxious biochemicals, as manufactured by deformed knaves living in oily warehouses that smell like rancid oysters and bloated profit margins? Were you thinking Mitch McConnell?

You might be right. Or rather, you might be almost right.

But I tend to think there's a job that's even worse, given how it's an even more boring form of halfhearted evil, a laborious orientation so numbing and heartless that it's regularly applauded by the jaded minions of the Devil himself, albeit indifferently. Which, of course, makes it even worse.

Indeed, I believe there's a special place in purgatory reserved for people who create, track, heartily defend and then barely enjoy the sidelong profits from the dregs of American fast food.

Does this not feel appropriate? Does it not feel somewhat justifiable to look upon the assorted humans who created this, or thought this "warped creation of a syphilitic brain" was a good idea, or stabbed at the very soul of humanity by inventing and marketing this to your children, or truly believed this flavor wasn't entirely disgusting, as lightning did not strike them dead on the spot?

Do you think these people sleep well at night? Do you think they feel generally OK about the status and orientation of their own heartbeats?

I have a more specific example. At this very moment, a slopshop gaggle of humans you should right now be grateful you never have to meet is vociferously defending the invention of the most famous, best-selling junk food item in this generation -- the Doritos Locos Taco -- from the slings and arrows of two very stoned former Taco Bell interns who are claiming to have created the billion-dollar foodglob back in 1995, on a company bet. And they might be right.

Let us provide a moment of perspective: Did you know the Doritos Locos taco (DLT) is the most successful stunt junk-food item ever introduced in the history of junk food stunt items? Did you know it's made Yum! Brands upwards of a billion dollars on that single hunk of barely digestible chemical byproduct alone?

The DLT is, in short, the stuff of corporate fast food wet dreams, an idea an encephalitic child could come up with, a perfect storm of sugars, salts, corn syrups solids, hormonally supercharged meat- and dairy-like product and unpronounceable preservatives, a true Frankenstein hellbeast of stoner-food perfection, the consumption of which of more than six in a single day will send you to the Emergency Room, mostly for stupidity.

The DLT is as yet unsurpassed in the history of junk food alchemy, of turning inedible sh-t into gold. Cheers all around.

But a colon-clogging heartbomb like the DLT does does not exist in a vacuum. Not by a long shot. It encompasses a wider ring of Hell, sucking into its lethal orbit specialized teams of chemists, scent-makers, industrial slaughterhouses, marketing managers, art directors, lawyers and assorted demonic shape-shifters who claim they spent hours and weeks, months and years of their lives making sure this inedible science experiment was able to trick every sense you own into believing it's actual food. They actually said as much, too: "The Doritos Locos tacos were conceived, developed and successfully brought to market by a hard-working, collaborative team at Frito-Lay and Taco Bell," said PR director Rob Poetsch, a small portion of his soul curdling into death, as lightning did not strike him dead on the spot.

Every once in a while, the very bored media will ask for a quote from one of these humans, something about the success of failure of, say Taco Bell's new venture into the breakfast market, or Starbucks' attempt to serve slightly less Safeway-grade pastries from its food counter. At which point, a VP steps in with sage words to live by. As my friends over at SF Magazine put it, referring, in this case, to Starbucks (failing) attempt to bring in La Boulange pastries, "I don't think they have any sustained momentum in breakfast," said Bob Goldin, executive vice president at Chicago-based restaurant research firm Technomic Inc. "They do OK."

That. That, right there, for me anyway, is the ringer, the final, tragic note...

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Mark Morford is an award-winning columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate, the author of The Daring Spectacle: Adventures in Deviant Journalism, and the creator of the Mark Morford's Apothecary iOS app. He's also a well-known ERYT yoga instructor at San Francisco's Yoga Tree, and the creator of the Yoga for Writers series of workshops and retreats. Join him on Facebook, or email him. Not to mention...

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