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*25 May 2002 - You Don't Know Jack*
First off, if you aren't familiar with the fast food chain "Jack In
The Box", you're really missing out.  They're located all over the
place on the west coast of the US, but you don't really see them that
much out on the east coast.  The food is actually really good for a
fast food chain, and they have quite a bit of variety beyond the basic
burgers and chicken sandwiches.  But the food isn't necessarily the
reason why everyone thinks Jack In The Box is such a great place.

The true reason would be Jack, the founder and mascot of Jack In The

"What's so great about this Jack guy?" is probably your next question.
Jack is, well... a unique individual.  First off, he's a normal guy
with the exception of his head.  Jack's head bears a close resemblance
to that of a snowman wearing a yellow road cone.  In addition, there
are a number of radio spots and TV commercials that feature Jack doing
very memorable things like campaigning to be the next president and
getting blown up.  Needless to say, these ads stick with you.

Jack In All Of His Glory Jack In All Of His Glory
Everyone knows who Jack is out here in Southern California. On the east coast of the US, you'd probably call the police if you saw a guy walking around wearing a "Jack head", but out here you'd probably just assume it was Jack and leave it at that. In fact, you'd probably go over and talk to him, since Jack is such a cool mascot. Everyone out here loves Jack. I just had no idea of how much people liked Jack until the other day. I had just spent a whole day at E3 up in Los Angeles doing "work". This work would involve walking the show floor while wearing a suit and canvasing the products for something that might be suitable to run on some specialized hardware I'm working on at work. I can assure you that a suit isn't my first choice in clothing... I'm more of a blue jeans and button-down denim shirt kinda guy. I had just left a business meeting at E3, and I was getting ready to head back down to Orange County. One of my co-workers swung by E3 to pick me up and give me a lift down south. I'll omit his name in case he ever decides to run for office. Anyway, we left the convention center and swung out onto the freeway, where we promptly flip-flopped between blasting down the freeway and slamming on the brakes just in time to avoid crunching into other vehicles. In other words, it was your typical southern California driving experience. He couldn't let the fact that I was in a suit slide, so he made a comment along the lines of "It's Halloween already?" Har, har. He then sat there quietly for about twenty seconds before he started snickering. I figured that he was going to make a few more cracks along the lines of funerals or weddings, but he turned to me and said that he had had a very memorable Halloween back when he was in college, and that it was "a really good story." "I went as Jack. I wore a 'Jack head'. I was 'Jack-In-The-Box Jack' for Halloween." A friend of his had done a presentation on Jack In The Box a little while before Halloween, so she convieniently had a "Jack head" that she had made that was just lying around. He couldn't let that go to waste, so he managed to borrow the thing so that he could use it as his Halloween costume. Seemed like a pretty good costume, right? Anyway, fast-forward to Halloween night. He puts on his Jack head, and he and his buddy go out and hop in his buddy's convertible to drive to a Halloween party. As they're zipping down the highway with the top down on the car, all the other drivers are going nuts. They're all honking their horns, screaming to "Jack" through rolled down windows, hanging out of their cars and waving, and just basically going crazy. He was rather suprised at this, but he took it in stride by waving to the other drivers and fulfilling his roll as the mascot of that fine fast food chain, Jack In the Box. Once they arrived at the Halloween party, "Jack" was just another goofball in a costume. So, other than just a few remarks from people here and there, the ol' Jack head didn't provoke the same reaction that it had on the way to the party. He was at the party for about an hour or two before it became apparent that someone needed to make a run to the liquor store to buy more beer. "Jack" proudly volunteered to go on a beer run. This is where the story starts getting interesting. So, my co-worker and his buddy pile into the convertible once again and drive off to the liquor store. And, once again, all the motorists and pedestrians that they passed on their way to their destination all go bananas when "Jack" cruises by. People yell out, wave, jump up and down, honk horns, and generally act like idiots. Once Frick and Frack show up at the liquor store, "Jack" heads towards the back of the shop and examines the shelves. His buddy starts picking up case after case of beer and stacking them on the front counter. After he puts four cases up there, "Jack" wanders up from the back of the store and stacks case number five on the counter. As the last case of beer hits the counter, the clerk (who has been looking at something else and hasn't looked up yet) says, "I need to see your ID." Then the kid behind the counter looks up and sees who's actually buying the beer. He looks rather suprised, stares at him for a second, and then says, "I don't need to see your ID... you're Jack!" The two guys carry their cases of beer out to the convertible and load them into the car. It's about this time that the two of them realize that they're starting to get hungry. 'Lo and behold, across the street there is a convieniently-placed Jack In The Box. The two decide that that sounds like a good place to go grab something to eat, and they head across the street to the fast food place. From the general reaction, you'd think that Jesus Christ had just decided to appear at Jack In The Box. All the people in the drive-through line started going absolutely crazy when they saw "Jack" saunter their way. People were screaming, waving, and honking their horns to our fast food hero, and he waved back to them as he closed in on the door to the restaurant. I'm sure that the staff inside Jack In The Box were wondering what in the hell was going on outside. When he finally reached the front door of Jack In The Box, he grabbed the door handle and gave it a firm tug. No dice... the dining room was closed for the night. So, he decided to knock on the door to get the attention of the guy behind the counter. Couldn't hurt to ask to be let in, right? The guy behind the counter looked up and then quickly looked back down to the paperwork he was doing. Then, his head snapped back up as did a double-take at the patron standing outside the front door. He started yelling to someone in the kitchen area. A young lady peered out of the kitchen to see "Jack" waving from outside, and she started yelling to the guy behind the counter. The guy shot out from behind the counter with his keyring in his hand, fumbling around to try and find the right key to unlock the front door. Our two heroes were standing outside, trying to stay upright and steady despite the multiple beers swirling around in their systems. This whole "food" thing was turning out to be more exciting than they had thought. Apparently, wearing a Jack head has it's privlidges. The young man from inside the restaurant looked at Jack and said, "Jack! It's YOU! Come in! Come in!" It never seemed to dawn on these people that it was Halloween, and that the probability of people wearing Jack heads was infinitely increased for that 24 hour span. There must be some sort of urban legend going around in the circles of the Jack In The Box world that states that "Jack" might make a suprise visit. Some free fries, free drinks, and a free "Jack head antenna ball" later, the staff are still all staring at "Jack" from behind the counter. People are STILL sticking their heads in through the drive-through window and screaming to "Jack", who is waving back to them from inside the dining room area. This was turning out to be a rather eventful night for the poor Jack In The Box staff. The guy with the keys asks "Jack" if he'd like to come behind the counter and serve some of the customers. Our hero ponders this for a second before declining and stating the reason "No, you're doing a fine job on your own." This statement lifts the spirits of the staff, who have apparently been running at double their normal pace since the "boss" had decided to show up and put a spin on their evening. They all jump back to work, and are proudly telling the patrons going through the drive-through that yes, it really is THE Jack that's sitting in their dining room. Finally, our two heroes say goodbye to the staff and wander back out to their car. They put the top of the convertible down, and climb into the car amongst the several cases of beer already there. Once again, every person they pass on the street goes nuts when they see "Jack" pass by. People scream out and wave at "Jack" as he, his buddy, and their beer pass down the street. When they finally end up back at the party, somebody asks them why it has taken so long for them to go on a beer run. "Jack" shrugs his shoulders and says that they had to stop to get something to eat while they were out. Looking at the Jack head he was wearing and then pondering what exactly could have happened while they were out provided enough of an excuse to explain their prolonged absence. Moral of the story: If you're underage and want to buy alcohol, wear a Jack head.

When this .plan was written: 2002-05-25 22:50:22
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