I have a confession to make.
I have never eaten at a White Castle restaurant, ordered takeout from a White Castle restaurant or even picked up one of those boxes of White Castle burgers in the frozen foods section of the grocery store.
As y’all know, it’s Krystal country down here. I’ve seen a few White Castles in my travels but never stopped. Because I’ve never had a White Castle burger, I can only assume by the way they look that they are almost exactly like a Krystal burger. I’m sure some tiny burger aficionado is hyperventilating and ready to beat me over the head with a bag of little burgers because he considers such a thought to be heresy and is screaming that I am not qualified to even discuss White Castle burgers.
Despite taking tiny burgers way too seriously, he might have a point. Let’s face it: Everything I know about White Castle, I learned from Harold and Kumar. But even they didn’t want White Castle burgers until they got high. I’m sure, though, that after a long night of cruising around New Jersey and being attacked by raccoons that an order of 30 sliders, five large fries and four large drinks indeed hits the spot.
However, I’d like to take Harold and Kumar to the little burger joint where I grew up, Troy’s Snack Shack. Every town seems to have some restaurant that they believe serves up the world’s best burgers, but in our case it’s true. They also are the fastest little burger joint on the planet, and they’re still going strong after decades.
Years ago, I created a Facebook group called “I would kill for a Troyburger.” Approximately 2 billion people joined it. The slogan even wound up on the back of the shack’s T-shirts. I am certain that Harold and Kumar would agree with me if they ever tried a Troyburger … or 30.
But there is one thing White Castle has that neither Troy’s nor Krystal nor any other burger joint does — Flippy. No, Flippy isn’t some 95-year-old fella who began flipping burgers during the Great Depression and refuses to retire. In fact, Flippy hasn’t even flipped his first little White Castle burger. He starts his job in September at a White Castle in the Chicago area. Flippy won’t even get a paycheck.
We’ve been hearing for years, at least since “The Jetsons,” that robots are coming for our jobs. Granted, coronavirus came for them first, but robots are waiting in the wings.
I’m not a big fan of robots in general. Sure, they’re nice friends to have when you’re about to get squashed by a giant trash compactor on some Death Star, but I don’t want them doctoring on me, enforcing traffic regulations, driving my truck, flying my plane, beating me in chess or making my food — especially my burgers.
Burgers are sacred, especially for us folks whose doctors don’t want them having more than a few a year. Trips to burger joints are special moments to be shared by me and some sweaty, potentially grumpy guy slaving over a hot grill. Robots don’t sweat, and I don’t trust folks who don’t sweat — especially during a Georgia summer.
I realize that in 200 years, robots will be marching in the streets, demanding to be paid and seeking the right to vote. By then, they’ll look at robot-hating folks like me the way we look at mid-20th century segregationists today. By then, Flippy might even be running for president — probably against Barron Donald John Trump VI.
In the meantime, I don’t give a flip about a burger made by a robot — especially one named “Flippy.” I prefer burgers flipped by guys named Tony and fries handed to me by folks known by nicknames like “Round Man.”
And for the sake of those folks in White Castle country, let’s hope that Flippy is a flop.