January 09, 2002

Wow. Yesterday a man I very nearly considered a 'friend of the family' died. Dave Thomas, founder of the Wendy's restaurant chain, and familiar face in the TV commercials for the corporate giant, passed away in the wee hours of January 8th. He was 69 years old. 1

Now some of you might be saying that 69 is still kind of young nowadays, and that he brought this on himself for being (basically) a fat guy who made a living off of fast food (the implication being that he ate a lot of it, too). To you I say "consider James Fixx." Mister Fixx was a runner of reknown, and earned a living writing about how good running is. He died in 1984 at age 53.2 You want irony? Jim Fixx and Dave Thomas were both born in 1932.

Oh, sure, there are lots of arguments about how to live well and live long. All I'm saying here is that the vast majority of us don't get to decide how long we stay here, nor how we leave, but we all get to decide what we do with the time we're given. Today I decided to abandon my diet for a day and chow down on a Wendy's Big Bacon Classic in memory of Dave. I remember the commercial where he sold me on the sandwich, when I enthusiastically thought to myself "wow... a cornmeal dusted bun, extra meat patty if I want it, and BACON. I'm so all over that."

Dave, wherever you are now, thanks for the good times. If you get a chance, set up a Wendy's franchise there on the other side. Even in my most optimistic moments I'm fairly sure I'll end up there eventually, and it just won't be a proper Valhalla without a #4 combo meal (make it a double, and sub a frosty for the soda, please-- carbonation makes me burp, and I can rattle every halo in the room on 32 ounces of Diet Coke). And make sure Jim stops in for a bite now and then. I bet he's a guy who needs to re-acquire a taste for bacon.

What more can I say? If you're coming here for your news, you're gonna get it at least a day late.

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