Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Five Easy Pieces, Gunther Toody Style

To be completely honest, I don't know that I remember a single thing about the rest of this movie. To be even more honest, having just watched the trailer to jog my memory, I don't really believe I've ever seen Five Easy Pieces in its entirety. I will see it soon though--not because of all the awards it was nominated for, but because Buck recommended it, and I've yet to be steered wrong by most of my blogging friends (we'll just pretend Idiocracy never happened, Barry). But somewhere along the line, quite some time ago, before there was a YouTube, I did see the diner scene, and I remembered it.

I remembered it well enough to employ it one morning a couple of months ago when I woke up on a weekend craving biscuits and gravy. I make a pretty mean gravy. Mean enough that I'd rather make it myself and just have it on toast than order it out. But the "uncured" bacon in my fridge had become rather furry, so I headed out to Gunther Toody's. Unfortunately, I arrived about five minutes past eleven, just outside breakfast hours. Problem.

"Sorry. Biscuits and gravy is a breakfast item and we just stopped serving breakfast," said Toby.

"Really?" Jack Nicholson to the rescue. Without hesitation, I said, "Tell you what. Can I order a side of biscuits?"


"And you serve Elvis Fries all day, right? Aren't they smothered in gravy?"


"Okay, bring me a side of biscuits and an order of Elvis Fries, except bring the gravy on the side. Can you do that. Or, if you really want to be a pal, put that in as the order and charge me for it, but put the biscuits on a plate and pour the gravy over the biscuits."

The kid just grinned at me. "You got it, sir." He'd never seen the movie. I asked. So, he thought I was a genius, and I just tried not to shatter the illusion. He brought me the biggest plate of biscuits and gravy I've ever tried to eat.

It didn't work out so well for Jack Nicholson's character, but that scene has to be one of the all time classic examples of thinking outside the box. I clearly never forgot it. Thanks Jack.