You’ve Been Johnnyburgered

Many years ago, my dad’s cousin Johnny came out for a visit  when we lived in South Dakota. He and Johnny are the same age and were very close growing up on the mean streets of Trenton; theirs was a friendship that continued into adulthood. Johnny is a real character. Always wears his hair greasy and slicked back, smokes like a chimney, and is the pickiest eater I have ever met. The only type of meat Johnny ever ate was beef. This would drive my mom nuts anytime he came out to visit, as it strictly limited our menu, forcing her to either make him a separate dish or devote a week to cooking nothing but red meat.

During that South Dakota visit, my parents decided to pull a fast one on Johnny. Guessing he’d never be able to tell the difference, my mom made buffalo burgers one night and presented them as angus beef. Johnny was sitting there at the dinner table, plowing through his burger with gusto, none the wiser, when my dad cleared his throat.

“How’s that burger, Johnny?” he asked.

“Delicious!” Johnny replied, never pausing from his chewing.

My dad then let the hammer fall and told his cousin that what he thought was beef was, in fact, bison. Johnny was surprised, but to his credit, finished his burger. This trickery didn’t suddenly turn him into an equal opportunity carnivore or anything, but probably made him a little more cautious when sitting down at the dining room table in our house from that point forward.

bison burger
How’s that burger, Johnny?

Ever since, I’ve thought of these little food switcheroos as “Johnnyburgers.” In fact, I’ve turned the noun into a verb when describing this act of subterfuge. One time when my kids were young, I snuck some vegetables into their spaghetti sauce. Audrey and Rusty were Johnnyburgered!

Just last week I Johnnyburgered Tara. When it comes to coffee, she is very choosy over what she pours into her mug. It’s gotta be Costco’s Kirkland brand Medium Dark Columbian Roast. Which was all well and good when we lived within spitting distance of not one, but two, Costcos, but the nearest one now is 346 miles away. Suffice it to say, that’s a long way to go for coffee! We stocked up before our move, and still have several cans left, but we go through coffee pretty quickly. The day is sure to come when we run out of the Kirkland Medium Dark Columbian Roast. Keenly aware of this, I decided to pick up a can of Maxwell House at Safeway last week when I spotted it on sale for $4.99. The next morning, after stealthily substituting Maxwell House for Kirkland, I asked my wife, “How’s that coffee, dear?”

“It’s good!” she replied.

“Would you say it’s good to the last drop?” I asked, unable to resist their gimmicky advertising slogan.

When she replied in the affirmative, I told her – rather gleefully, I might add – “You’ve been Johnnyburgered!”

To her credit, she wasn’t upset over the deceit. I think she realizes, too, that our precious coffee resources are dwindling faster than Trump’s approval rating, and certainly isn’t opposed to finding a different brand we can procure more easily. But after a few days of drinking the Maxwell House, she decided it was “too bitter” after all. I dunno about that…I think my wife doth protest too much…but, that’s fine. Back to the drawing board it is.

There’s always Folgers!

We had a nice weekend. The weather has been very pleasant, so we took advantage and hiked 5.5 miles on Saturday morning. Saw a movie in the afternoon, “First Man.” Two thoughts: man, Buzz Aldrin was a dick. But Neil Armstrong wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy either. I had no idea he suffered from so many inner demons. I googled him afterward and while most of the scenes in the movie were based on reality, the…








first man

…part where he landed on the moon (I warned you I was giving away secrets!)…

OK, kidding. You probably already knew that unless you prescribe to conspiracy theories. I’m referring to the scene where he threw his dead daughter’s bracelet into a crater on the moon while shedding a tear. Turns out that was totally made up to heighten the emotional factor  in pure Hollywood style. And that’s fine. Never go into a “true story” expecting a completely true story!

After the movie, we went to Chili’s. Casual dining chain or not, I have missed that place! All I can say is, fajitas. (Well, I can also say Presidente margarita.) Good stuff!

Sunday we drove out to Prairie Berry to stock up on wine. They were having a great sale on their Pumpkin Bog (pumpkin/cranberry wine – yes, it’s good; no, it does not taste like a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbuck’s): one bottle cost $17.00, two bottles cost $17.06. I mean, how could we not?!

It’s a wonder I didn’t walk out of there with a case of the stuff…

7 thoughts on “You’ve Been Johnnyburgered

  1. Six cents more for a second bottle?! Wow. They really wanted to move that stuff. Sad to learn the astronauts weren’t all warm and fuzzy and sweet like we thought. Funny about the spoiler. It DID give me pause, but then I plowed ahead anyway, and phew, it was okay. I think if I were to see it, I wouldn’t believe the bracelet scene was real anyway. Plus, it’s a little hard to “throw” something in space anyway, isn’t it?


    1. Ha – you bring up an excellent point. Zero gravity and all. I should have known better, but that never even registered!

      The case price (12 bottles) was only a dollar more than the half-case price (six bottles). That was pretty tempting!


  2. That’s a great story! Picky eaters drive me nuts, so it’s always funny to trick them. My son’s ex-gf was the worst. I seriously wanted to do a post on her eating habits. I believe there were 6 foods she would eat. Yes, 6. Well, more if you count junk like cookies and cake. At the end of her 2 week stay over the holidays one year, I was ready to commit myself.

    Sunday, our newspaper carried an article about the Armstrong space museum in his hometown of Wapawkoneta, Ohio. I might be off on that spelling! I visited once as a kid, so might have to return.


    1. Ohio and flight sure seem to go hand in hand, don’t they? Speaking of, did you know that one of the few items Neil Armstrong really did bring along to the moon was a piece of the Wright Brothers’ first airplane? I find that very fitting!


  3. HA! Mark, I freaking love that term “Johnnyburgered”, I’ll have to use that on someone at work this week! I do that sort of thing all the time, but never had a word for it!

    And speaking of Maxwell House coffee, I just recently purchased that brand at Acme. Maxwell House was a brand that my mother always loved, so I decided to buy it in her honor (also, it was on SALE). I still prefer Folgers “Dark Silk” it’s amazing! I like my coffee strong and dark (like my wine).

    I saw a trailer for “First Man” and it looked very interesting. Even though I read your spoiler alert, I’ll still see it because as you said, true stories are VERY RARELY ever totally true. Hollywood always embellishes the truth.

    Yum…that Pumpkin Bog wine sounded awesome. And what an incredible price!$


    1. I like “Johnnyburgered” because it sounds like something Seinfeld would have come up with, and I’ve always been a huge fan. Plus, it’s just a fun word to say. And it’s caught on with some of my friends now, too!

      Folger’s Dark Silk, eh? I might have to give that one a try next.


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