smooth operator

April 28, 2008

My husband and I went to Milwaukee this weekend, on a belated Earth Day mission. A TV store in Brookfield was having a computer monitor recycling event. And what with the power surges we get in the country, we had a stock of disabled monitors.

Even with surge protectors, we’ve lost a string of appliances to brown-outs, and power fades. And computer monitors are like nuclear waste, you can’t just pitch them in the trash. You have to find a legal place to pitch them. Preferably one that won’t charge you $40 for shipping and handling.

So we loaded up the truck with monitors, and an assortment of other receivers, boxes, and gizmos, and dumped the works appropriately.

Afterward, we went to Kopps to celebrate.

Kopps is a hamburger and frozen custard stand, and it is one of the things I miss most about moving to the hinterlands. In comparison, all other hamburger stands pale, and almost all other custard stands are purveyors of flavorless slop.

If you have ever been to a Culvers, Kopps is the place they wish they could be, but will never be, not in their wildest dreams.

Culvers will throw handfulls of Oreo bits, pastry chunks, and M & Ms into a standard custard base, and come out with something hopelessly mediocre, and yet, incredibly fattening. Culvers makes the Baby Jesus cry.

But flavors at Kopps are the stuff that makes the angels weep. And the special flavors only one or two times a year. If you miss Mimosa on New Year’s Eve, because you went out drinking? See you in 2009, Sucker. And next year, try to get your priorities straight.

And the Bienenstich. Oh, dear God. A mixture of honey custard, white cake and almond paste. I was hopelessly addicted to that one year, around Germanfest, when they must have made too much and had a hidden stash in the freezer and I ate it for a month.

When it ran out, I was looking for the ice cream equivalent of methadone, to avoid a painful withdrawl.

And the burgers are on par with the custard. Because every bun is topped with a large pat of butter, before the burger and fixin’s go in.

None of this is good for you, of course. If you eat regularly at Kopps, you pretty much have to resign yourself to dying young, but satisfied. But as that last artery clogs, you can take comfort in the fact that at least you didn’t kill yourself at McDonald’s. You had standards.

So, anyway. We went to Kopps.

After 24 years, my husband knows what to order. But I had all the cash. And I wanted to go to the lady’s room. So I turned to him, pushed $30 at him, and said, “I have to go to the bathroom. You know what I want, so go ahead and order.”

And the strange man who was standing behind me, looked at the $30 I was passing him, and said,

“What am I supposed to do with this?”

When you are passing someone money, especially if you are 5′ 5″ and they are over six foot, it’s generally a good idea to look them in the face. If you can’t do that, then at least look them in the shirt. And notice that this is not a shirt you’ve ever seen before. Or a stomach or chest, for that matter. If you don’t, you will not realize that your husband has stopped to read a sign, and is several feet away. Laughing at you.

Do not just turn to a random stranger, especially if he is moderately handsome and ten years younger than you; force money on him and talk about your bladder. You will end up feeling like a weird old lady, even if your husband, the comedian, is calling you a “cougar”.

And it will spoil your enjoyment of the flavor of the day (Orange dream).