Baseball, Busses, and Gluttony…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, April 20, 2009

Two West Michigan things you need to know:

  • Our minor league baseball team, the West Michigan Whitecaps, recently generated international media coverage with the introduction of a new sandwich at their home ballpark: the Fifth Third burger. (The ballpark is named after Fifth Third Bank, possibly the most confusing business name ever, but as it turns out, works well for a burger which has five 1/3 pound patties.) It was the perfect counter-story — that is, in these times of belt-tightening and prudent behavior, folks around the world seemed delighted to be presented with an ostentatious display of gluttony.
  • Next Tuesday we’ll be heading to the polls to vote on a millage for a new high-speed bus route, the Silver Line. Like all initial efforts in public transportation, it seems like a clumsy idea and potentially wasteful. Until it’s there and people start to use it, then it will be great and seem like it’s always been there.

And here’s something that you really don’t need to know, but I’m going to tell you anyway. The last time I recall overeating to the point of physical pain was when I was a sophomore in college — during the last week of school the dorm cafeteria had Italian Food night. After a year of Salisbury steak doused in A1 sauce and the quality of salad fixins you’d expect to find in Houghton, Michigan in 1983 (not good, not good), I had no self-control. I ate twice my body weight and maybe one of my own fingers. I remember barely getting back to my 5th floor room and falling like a wounded cow on to the floor. I wanted to throw up but feared the pressure would be so great that my digestive tract would be turned inside-out. After a couple of hours I was finally able move around again. Yeech! So, no, I won’t be ordering a Fifth Third burger anytime soon.

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