Monday, September 17, 2001

I am sitting here enjoying a cool and refreshing Sprite on my lunch-hour, and I notice that the ring of advertising around the top of the can is yelling "XTREME!! XTREME!!" It's an ad for Magic Mountain. Granted, the roller coasters at Magic Mountain are getting a little out of hand, but the point I want to make here is the abundant overuse of everyone's favorite buzzword: Extreme.

This weekend my wife and I took a road trip, covering about a thousand miles. While we were toodling around California, we passed one of those school Car Wash events in a parking lot. But this was no ordinary car wash. Oh no. It was an EXTREME car wash. I don't really know what Extreme means in that context. Maybe it would be Extreme for the teenage car-washers if you drove at them at, say, 40 miles an hour and they had to shammy your PT Cruiser while leaping out of harm's way. That would be pretty extreme. Maybe they could bring in a huge crane and the kids could bungee up and down, stealing the precious seconds of gravity well inertia to rub some bird droppings off your grill. That, too, would be fairly extreme.

The creme de la creme of the Extreme pantheon is Togo's new slogan: Xtreme Summer. I am guessing that for a sandwich shop to be "Xtreme" they would have to assemble your sandwiches while standing on beds of white-hot embers, or maybe construct a hot pastrami on wheat while street-lugeing down city streets. Maybe the sandwiches themselves are the Xtreme component. I envision "Sourdough Chicken and Gravel" or "Roast Beef and Broken Glass". Now that sounds impressive.

With all the the DNA experimentation going on lately, perhaps you could even craft a sentient sandwich. Imagine the thrill as you personally stalk and strangle an Avocado and Turkey on white, before stuffing it into your gaping maw. The Sandwich Hunt could be the new X-Game event, right after Mountain Bike Parcheesi, or whatever the hell they do on the X-Games. "New Champion Kafkaesque disabled his prey, a large Egg Salad, after a new record time of just under thirty seconds. Especially impressive given the ferocity of the Egg Salad - Oil and Vinegar Dressing combo. And I think I saw Kafkaesque pull off an 820° Free Triple Reverse Buttstand there too, showing this sandwich that it was clearly no match for his mad freakish skillz! And now, five minutes of Mountain Dew and Red Bull ads!"

Or, after you give the Togo's employee your order, they could fire it at you from some sort of sandwich-cannon. Xtreme? I think so. Just think of the sense of accomplishment as you grab a Mortadella, Capicolla and Provolone out of the air with your teeth as it rushes towards you at speeds that approach the sound barrier!

All I'm saying is, leave "Extreme", "Xtreme" and all the rest in the hands of trained professionals who know how to use such potentially powerful buzzwords. In the wrong hands, such Extreme-osity could result in numbness to the Xtremities.


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