I’m the kind of person who is satisfied with a low-key weekend of reading magazines on the porch or just eating junk food and watching movies. So when a weekend is filled with actual stuff to do, it’s a shock to my system. And this weekend, we went to a rock show, a wedding, and helped paint a house. But the highlight of the weekend was one of the simpler things in life–running into the Combos “Man Zone” Prize Van. Literally, we ran into it.
On Saturday morning, the girlfriend and I were taking a jog around Camden Yards, where the Orioles were playing the last exhibition game before opening day, and there was a lot of hubbub taking place outside the stadium. We were making a last-ditch effort to fit into our dress clothes for the wedding later that evening. LAST CHANCE WORKOUT, as they say. That’s when we ran into the Combos Prize Van. They had a prize wheel set up. After the jog, I breathlessly wanted to go back and SPIN THE COMBOS WHEEL.
Combos is a snack cracker filled with a cheese like substance. They sort of smell like dog treats. Their newest marketing campaign involves something called The Man Zone. The thing is, Combos aren’t a very manly snack. They just don’t have the same barechested appeal of Doritos. According to Combos, the four zones of men–the realms shall we say–are the Gaming Zone, the Tailgating Zone, the Home Theater Zone, and the Grilling Zone. And Combos are the perfect snack for all of these, though I’m having a difficult time imagining a cookout where a big bowl of Combos is brought out for all the guests’ enjoyment.
But the freewheeling marketing of Combos gets even weirder. A look at their website and you’ll find words like “Combivore”. (Don’t worry, Lex. It’s not a meat-eater. You’re safe in the trees if a Combivore’s around.) And you’ll also find stuff like this–a diagram for a “Tuxeato”:
Barf! A secret pocket in your tuxedo jacket to hold your Combos? I won’t be wearing that to the wedding. Would you really want people coming up to you and saying, dude, do you smell Snausages? My dog loves those! Actually, this is one of the reasons I always liked Combos, because then me and the dog could eat similar looking things. She ate Snausages, I ate Combos.
Anyhow, I got mad respect for Combos, and I don’t generally use the term mad respect. Combos are a whimsy, non-chip snack food that has survived alongside other offbeat snacks like Bugles and Hot Fries. It was a great honor for me to have a chance to spin the Combos prize wheel. The prizes available were a t-shirt, a drawstring bag, a pack of playing cards, a bottle opener, or ONE OF EVERYTHING. As the wheel ticked, I prayed to hit one of everything. Please god please god please god please… DAMN IT. I got the playing cards. Worse prize ever. I wanted the bottle opener.
I had to think fast–I needed my best charm, my best winning smile. I asked if I could have the bottle opener instead. It worked. Works everytime. The girll slipped me both the cards and the bottle opener with a wink and a “shh”. A top secret just between us. Next, the girlfriend spun the wheel and she got the drawstring bag. And we both were handed a sneak peak bag of Combos’ newest flavor–not even on the shelves yet–Jalapeno Cheddar Tortilla flavor. I felt like an insider.
So there’s that, the number one highlight of the weekend. The number two highlight was the hotel room we stayed in after the wedding reception. Upon entering and inspecting the room, the girlfriend gasped. Not for the 55 inch television. Not for the king size bed with eight fluffed pillows. She gasped because “the soap has its own soap dish!”
Yes, the places I book for us are so cheap (“crap holes”), that we’ve never had a soap dish in the bathroom. A true luxury.
The hotel also inspired an idea–and I’m going to propose it here on THE SURFING PIZZA. Here it is: You know that website fmylife.com, where people gripe about the little things in life that are fucked up? Well my idea is fthepool.com, a place to gripe about all the times the pool sucks in the hotel.
For all the times the pool at the hotel isn’t the same pool from the picture. F THE POOL.
For all the times the pool was green instead of clear. F THE POOL.
For all the times your parents didn’t let you swim. F THE POOL.
For all the times you forgot your bathing suit. F THE POOL.
For all the times you just ate right before your friends decided to jump in. F THE POOL.
For all the times you had female problems and couldn’t swim. F THE POOL.
For all the times you went to the pool, only to see it overtaken by a tribe of small children. F THE POOL.
I know, it’s brilliant, right? How do I come up with this stuff? The ideas are flowing, man, and it’s like, the ideas are a stream, and I’m a river that meets up the stream running through. Something like that.