Rejected Hannah Barbara Cartoons

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You may not know this, but my first foray into writing didn’t involve this website or the Bob and the Cyber-Llama series. When I was a young lad living in the mountains of Tibet, I had dreams of employing my writing skills to aid in mankind’s greatest venture: Hannah Barbara cartoons.

Unfortunately, every one of my ideas was rejected as “disturbing” or “not appropriate for children.” But that doesn’t mean I can’t share them with you here:


The Flatulent Wilma Flintstone

This was my take on the classic modern, stone-age family. The entire show was nothing more than a series of reruns from the original Flintstones series…with a brilliant twist!

In the middle of each of her dialogue scenes, Wilma Flintstone would pause, squint her eyes a little, grit her teeth, and rip a massive fart. Your average dialogue scene would play out something like this:

Fred: Wilma, where’s my dinner?

Wilma: It’s not ready yet, Fred.

Fred: “It’s not ready…” Darn it, Wilma! When a man gets home from a hard day of work, he expects his dinner to be prepared!

Wilma: Fred, I was at the grocery store all day looking for those dino eggs that you insisted I…[Wilma stops speaking. Her lower lip quivers and she bites it determinedly. Clenching her eyes shut, she puts a fist in the air and raises one of her legs. A juicy blast erupts from her sphincter like the bursting of a dam. Her skirt billows like a flag atop Everest. Then, the hurricane of flatulence over, she stands erect once again.]

Wilma: Those dino eggs that you insisted I buy for the casserole.


Scooby Doo: A New Perspective

My second series was a new take on Scooby Doo.  Instead of focusing on the perspective of the Scooby gang, the series would let viewers see the mysteries through the eyes of the other characters. Because let’s face it: the Scooby Doo gang was high. Like, all of the time. And I’m sure that skewed their perspective a bit.

I imagined the average scene playing out like this:

Police Officer: Hey, uh…are you kids alright?

Velma [stumbling around incoherently]: Dude…there’s like…a guy in the amusement park over there.

Police Officer: A guy?

Fred: Yeah…and he’s dressed like an eighteenth-century pirate so he can scare people away from the ferris wheel and protect his Spanish doubloons!

Police Officer: I see. I think you should come back to the station with me.

Daphne: And I think we should split up, gang. Shaggy and Scooby, you go find the pirate’s ghost and lead him to the fun house.

Police Officer: That’s a hobo and a dead chihuahua, ma’am.


George Jetson’s 1984

In this dystopian future, the Jetsons have left their skyscraper cities behind and exchanged them for identical gray suits and an undying loyalty to “the Party.” Rosie, no longer the whimsical, smart-talking robot maid, has had cameras installed in her eyes and watches the Jetson family scrupulously.

We watch the slow indoctrination of Elroy as he learns how to discern whether or not his parents are defectors, the words “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Tom is Jerry” inscribed on his schoolhouse. And we slowly see George begin to question the system as he sees the higher standard of living enjoyed by the Party’s officials.

By the end of season one, we see that George’s entire family has “disappeared” thanks to the higher ups and George sits in a cell. He is confronted by his former boss Mr. Slate, who yells “Jetson! Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four!”

If only Jane could, in fact, stop this crazy thing.


Amazingly, Hannah Barbara didn’t want to pursue any of my ideas. But such is life, I suppose. Anyway, it gives me more time to work on my magnum opus: Citizen Snagglepuss.

New Stuff on the Writing Blog

Hola, mis chaplupas!

For those who don’t know, I’m in the process of writing the next book in the armpit-moisteningly exciting Bob and the Cyber-Llama series. As I throw myself into the embracing arms of the muse time and time again (or some such artsy garbage), I’ve decided to describe some of my writing processes on the Bob and the Cyber-Llama writing blog.

My latest post is about adverbs, the smelly, red-headed stepchild of the grammar community. Check it out here.

More content will be descending on the Sturgeon-verse soon.

Fast Food Dominance


During my dabbling in the sciences, I’ve learned three important facts: clowns cannot breathe in space, tamales should only be consumed orally, and nature is full of symbiotic relationships. The hippopotamus relies on tiny birds to keep its back clean and ambrosia beetles carry and plant a nutritious fungus that eats a tree’s interior a serves as a food source. Different parts of nature depend on each other, linked in the near-unending chain of God’s creation. Any reasonable person would assume that the same to be true of fast food.

But that is not that case. I speak from experience when I say that any attempt of multiple fast food chains to coexist can end only in dominance and despair.

For those not already aware, I like fast food. I like it a lot. I’m the kind of person who, if I had the money, would stuff myself with Quarter Pounders and Double Stacks until grease oozed from every pore and each piece of my fecal matter took on the form of a huge, singular, steaming french fry. And like any connoisseur, I soon began to suspect that many of these restaurants were owned by the same organization.

I was right. Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, Wingstreet, and until recently, A&W and Long John Silver’s, are all owned by Yum! Brands (which is owned by Pepsi.) At first, they existed as singular organisms. But, pioneers of science that they were, the folks at Yum! Brands soon began combining their restaurants, serving radically different kinds of food under the same roof.

It seemed like a dream come true: customers would be able to walk into a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut and order a burrito alongside a steaming slice of pepperoni pizza or get a cheeseburger and a root beer with a side of mashed potatoes and coleslaw from a KFC/A&W. The possibilities would bring a greasy tear to the eye of any fast food denizen.

However, my joy soon turned to fear and confusion as I came to the stunning realization that these chains weren’t morphing together into awesome fast food mega-creatures but were instead eating each other alive! Whenever you walk into one of these combination fast food joints, one of the restaurants is completely dominant; it’s almost like the other restaurant ceases to exist.

I remember the first time I walked into a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut. The walls were lined with edifices of burritos, churros, tacos, and hot sauce. I ordered pizza. And the employees looked at me like I had just ordered a fried infant on a stick. They then informed me that they had no pizza ready and weren’t sure if they had enough sauce and dough to make one. At a pizza restaurant.

The same thing happened at KFC/A&W. I felt the piercing eyes of Colonel Sanders staring judgingly into my soul as I nervously ordered my cheeseburger. The guy behind the counter spat in my face and slapped me, heretic that I was. I walked out of the establishment, dejected, and was forced to anoint my head with gravy as I said my twenty “Hail Sanders” as a penance.

This isn’t natural selection. It’s something far more sinister. We can now clearly see that putting a Taco Bell and a Long John Silver’s in the same building is not simply akin to putting two Japanese fighting fish in the same bowl. It’s like putting two Japanese fighting fish in the same bowl and arming them with metal chains and razor blades.

There are no symbiotic fast food relationships. There is only shame, emptiness, and crusty, uneaten pizza toppings.

Century Link and Eternal Damnation


 Outsourcing. It seems like virtually every corporation has moved its customer service operations out of the United States. Each time I have to call Comcast or Verizon or some other large company, I speak to someone in India or Cairo or Dagobah.

But Century Link is the worst. Period. They’re customer service is so bad, I’ve come to an inescapable conclusion: they’ve moved their customer service not to Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, but to the fiery pits of Hell itself.

I’m no stranger to bad customer service interactions. Whenever I call the customer service department of a large company, I grit my teeth and prepare to have my brain worked over with a metaphorical meat tenderizer. But there’s one interaction with Century Link customer service that, to this day, makes my buttock hairs rigid with fear.

The call started off innocently enough. After navigating a sea of automated menus and waiting on hold for about five hours, I spoke to a customer service representative about setting up new phone service. It was all going swimmingly and I began at last to see light at the end of the tunnel.

The rest of the exchange went something like this:

Customer Service Representative: Okay, sir. I’ve got you set up for the Phone Plus Plan, which includes caller ID and voice mail. Your monthly premium will be $35 per month. Now, I’m just going to transfer you to [unintelligible series of words] department, which will finish setting up your service.

Me: Wait, what?

[silence as call is transferred]

Me: Hello? Hello?!

[continued silence]

New Customer Service Representative: Hello, sir. My name is Brian. Can I please begin by having your date of birth and social security number?

Me: Uh…which department have I reached?

Brian: Hello, sir. My name is Brian. Can I please begin by having your date of birth and social security number?

Me: No, I already heard you. Can you please tell me which department you work for?

Brian: Sir, I have to stick to the script. I’m not allowed to talk to you about anything different than what appears on my script. Now, can I please begin by having your date of birth and social security number?

Me: But I was just talking to Century Link and I thought I’d set my service up completely.

Brian: Sir, I just need your date of birth and social security number.

Me: Brian, which department of Century Link do you work for?

Brian: I don’t work for Century Link, sir. Now, can I please have your date of birth and-”

Me: But I was just talking to Century Link. To set up phone service. And they connected me to you.

Brian: Yes, sir.

Me: So I need to know how you’re related to Century Link and what you have to do with setting up my phone service.

Brian: Sir, I’m required to collect personal information using the script I was given. I have to follow the script and collect the information from you.

Me: Brian, what company do you work for?

Brian: I don’t know, sir.

Me: You don’t know what company you work for?!

Brian: No, sir.

Me: Then why the heck would I give you my personal information?!

Brian: Sir, I’m required to collect–”

Me: Brian, for all I know, you work for some evil, sphincter-eating cult and you want my personal information so you can break into my house tonight with a pair of disemboweling tweezers and some ketchup and have at my colon! Goodbye!

And then I took a shower. Because that conversation made me feel violated.

My only explanation for this phenomenon is that, desperate to cut costs, Century Link decided to move its customer service operations to an otherworldly plane of fiery torment. Some middle-manager probably packed a sacrificial dagger and a goat into the back of his Suburban (as middle-managers are wont to do), dragged them into the office, and slapped them down on the stone altar right between the coffee maker and the copy machine.

Then the whole office probable chanted something in backwards Latin and drew pentagrams in goat blood on all their manila folders until a fiery portal emerged in the middle of the altar, into which they cast a few dozen VOIP phones and headsets.

Nothing quite encapsulates the phrase “where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” like listening to a six second loop of hold music for four hours.

Gerbils: Cannibalistic Cretin of the Pet World


Lots of people have fond memories of their childhood pets. They remember a favorite dog or cat or bunny that brought them joy and merriment for many years. But as appealing as that idea is, there’s one species that, instead of creating precious memories, will scar your children on a deep, emotional level.

Never buy your kids gerbils. They are disgusting, vile creatures that kill their own families indiscriminately and reproduce like Catholic rabbits on Viagra.

When I was about six years old, my parents brought me to the pet store to buy some gerbils. I picked out two, a black one and a white one with brown spots, which the sixteen-year-old zoologist behind the counter assured us were both male. And pretty soon, we had about thirty gerbils.

That wouldn’t have been such a big deal, since they all stayed in their cage, but as I came to find out, that black, mother gerbil made Jeffrey Dahmer look like Mister Rogers.

The first thing six-year-old me wanted to do when I saw the dozen-or-so baby gerbils was pick them up and pet them. So, like any other kid would, I picked up one of the baby gerbils and let it crawl across my fingers. Then, the next day, I went to the gerbil cage to find the baby gerbil lying motionless, its neck gashed open, and the mother gerbil’s whiskers coated in blood.

All it takes is the slight scent of a human being to make a mother gerbil brutally murder its child in a way that would make Jason Vorhees squeamish. I tried handling the baby gerbils with gloves or only petting them lightly. But every time, it led to gerbil infanticide and an impromptu gerbil funeral in the back yard.

The last straw came when Herman, the father gerbil, died. The mother gerbil continued having babies, even though the only other gerbils in her cage were her children. Then all my gerbils mysterious disappeared. I guess my parents drew the line at gerbils with an Oedipus complex.

The label on the gerbils’ home said “gerbil cage.” It should’ve said “Blood Sport Pit.”

So go ahead; buy pets for your kids. Buy them loving dogs or indifferent cats or smelly rabbits. But unless you want your children to have the combined visual experiences of Game of Thrones, Deliverance, and Se7en, don’t bring any of these little demons into your home.

Elmo’s Hostile Takeover


Remember Sesame Street? Of course you do. The colorful puppets, songs, and memorable characters have educated and entertained millions of children. Many people learned to speak English by watching Sesame Street and there are some who otherwise wouldn’t have learned to read or count.

It’s too bad that, in the ‘90s, Sesame Street experienced a bloody coup and now finds itself ground under the fuzzy heel of a brutal dictator.

Those of you who grew up in the ‘90s may remember some of the changes that beset Sesame Street during that time period. The biggest one was a small, red puppet name Elmo who, narcissist that he was, always referred to himself in the third person.

At first, Elmo appeared only occasionally, but after a year or so, some of the other puppets began to disappear. Oscar, the Cookie Monster, and even Big Bird were rarely seen. And there was more Elmo. A lot more Elmo.

Elmo started showing up in practically every sketch, song, or other segment and the likes of Grover and the Count slowly went away. If you look closely, you can see Elmo handing out tiny copies of his manifesto to the other muppets and, in a rare deleted scene, using brutal interrogation techniques to teach Ernie to count to ten.

It was truly becoming Elmo’s World.

Then, a lot of the Muppets started to disappear. There came a time when Prairie Dawn, the Amazing Mumford, and others went away entirely. Mr. Hooper died under suspicious circumstances and Gordon was silenced. New Muppets—Zoe, Telly, and Lil’ Stalin— marched through the streets and indoctrinated the children with their message of a new world order.

As is the case with most hostile takeovers, the evidence was largely hidden away and destroyed by the powers that be. A great wall was built and people, Muppets, and information alike were kept inside (ever notice how no one on Sesame Street seems to walk beyond those fences in the background?)

The worst of it was the effect on the children; ever noticed how, every few years, Sesame Street gets a completely new crop of youngsters to interact with the puppets and teach important lessons? It’s only a matter of time before those kids learn too much.

No one said it better than George Orwell: Today’s episode was brought to you by the number twelve. Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the Muppets. The Tellitubbies outside looked from Muppet to man and from man to Muppet, and from Muppet to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

The Black Jelly Bean Phenomenon


I can’t take it anymore. I’ve tolerated it for years and years now; for almost a decade, I’ve been sitting on the sidelines, watching as all I hold dear goes down the tubes with a pathetic whimper. No more. It’s high time we had a discussion about the horrid philosophy that takes all that is good, turns it on its head, and pretends everything is okay while systematically destroying all that is decent.

We need to talk about the Black Jelly Bean Phenomenon.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you about black jelly beans. I hate them. You hate them. God hates them. Little children in sub-Saharan Africa who’ve never heard of jelly beans hate them. These “candies” sit amidst all the other jelly beans, staring at you, daring you to pop them in your mouth. And at some point, all of us have been duped; we’ve all bitten into a black jelly bean and felt our tongues contemplate seppuku.

Seriously, who in the candy manufacturing business thought “Hey, let’s have pink jelly beans that taste like strawberries! And we’ll have yellow jelly beans that taste like lemons! And we’ll have black jelly beans that taste like a buffalo’s rectum!”

All of this is common knowledge to anyone over the age of four, and I won’t waste your time recounting my traumatic jelly bean experiences. Black jelly beans have always been an evil, but until recently, they were an isolated evil. I’ve become aware of a disturbing trend: the Black Jelly Bean Phenomenon is spreading. It’s already spread to other food groups and, unless stopped, will soon consume all that is good.

Remember the days when there was only one kind of chocolate? Those were happy times. Back then, if someone asked if you wanted chocolate, you always said yes. Always. Why wouldn’t you? Chocolate was an exceptional thing that filled one with feelings love, comfort, and acceptance.

Then they introduced dark chocolate. Now, if someone offers you chocolate, you have to ask “Well, what kind of chocolate is it? Is it the good kind or the kind that tastes like celery and cough syrup?” And God forbid you bite into a piece of dark chocolate thinking it’s the good chocolate. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

Chocolate: once an honest, loyal friend, now a devilish deceiver.

And remember when there was just one kind of yogurt? I’m not a heavy yogurt user, but I do dabble. Once, while housesitting for my grandparents and scrounging for food, I opened the refrigerator and spied a package labeled “Greek yogurt.” I thought, “Hm. This must be different than normal yogurt, but whatever. It has pictures of fruit on it. I’m sure it’s just regular yogurt mixed with Spartan blood or something.”

So I took a bite. And for a split second, I thought a sewer rat had climbed in my mouth, died, and evacuated its bowels all over my taste buds. Once again, a rancid taste abomination has wormed its way into what was once good and wholesome. Greek yogurt is black jelly beans in yogurt form!

All over the world, black jelly beans are taking on new forms and poisoning the things we love. It isn’t just happening with food, either. Remember when there was just one DC Comics? Before that New 52 crap? Now, whenever I buy a comic book, I have to check the publication date to make sure I won’t be engrossing myself in the adventures of pissed-off, angst-y Superman or PMS-ing Wonder Woman.

Remember when there existed only good Star Wars movies?

Remember the days before low-flush toilets?

Remember when all movies were two-dimensional?

Black jelly beans are popping up all over the place. They may not look like black jelly beans, but they are black jelly beans in spirit. It’s time we put our foot down and demand that all black jelly beans be destroyed with holy fire, as they should have been since the beginning.

Or at least, we should stop buying baked potato chips.

Furby Hunters

furby hunters logo final 2 (small)

Like a dark harbinger of doom, the Furby menace stands at humanity’s door, ready to destroy our world and devour our very souls. Foolishly, I had thought their kind rendered powerless after their toy fad wore off, but after their triumphant return, I can remain silent no longer. We face two choices: either succumb to the sinister fuzziness and become the furbies’ zombified slaves or stand and fight.

Friends, now is the time to join the Furby Hunters.

The black magic of the Furby is great, but my studies have led me to believe that they are not invincible. As we did with the vampires, werewolves, and hippies of old, we can fend off the furbies with the proper tools and knowledge.

Pledge your sword to the Furby Hunters, comrades. Our cause is noble, our hearts are pure, and our logo took me a good six hours in Microsoft Paint to design.

In the coming months, this site will be the staging ground for our war against furbykind. I’ll still be writing about beards and chicken fries and cybernetic llamas, lest the furbies discover the site’s true purpose and destroy it with their dark powers. But check back often, friends, for I’ll be disclosing more details on humanity’s war against the accursed Furby race.

The first step to becoming an effective furby hunter is to gird yourself with the proper equipment. If it catches you unprepared, a furby will not hesitate to incinerate your flesh and inappropriately harass your soul. To survive against the satanic spawn of Hasbro, you must employ the following equipment and strategy:

• Like vampires and ACLU attorneys, furbies can be repulsed by the sign of the cross. The Furby’s squishy claws, furry body, and voice like a castrated Kermit the Frog are an affront to God and all that is wholesome and good. As such, a cross will cause furbies to hiss and retreat back into shadows.
• Many ancient creatures of evil are repelled by garlic, due to its purifying properties. Similarly, because it is a nutritious alternative to other sandwich spreads, Nutella can be used to keep furbies at bay. I recommend slathering yourself with a liberal coat of Nutella and making sure you have a generous supply stored in every possible orifice.
• The only way to kill a furby is by impaling its battery casing with a stake made from hardened buffalo mucus. The majestic buffalo has been the enemy of the Furby ever since the two races competed in the fearsome Texas Hold-‘Em tournaments of ancient Babylonia.
• Like sunlight to the Vampire is the sight of a mullet to the Furby. The holiest of hairstyles, a swaying mullet causes furbies a searing pain and prolonged exposure can burn off their fur. Your mullet will be most effective if you whip it around sensually like you’re in a women’s shampoo commercial.
• Because some breeds of Furby are capable of flight, a pogo stick may be in order.
• Even the sinister furby is not immune to the power of music. The melodic sounds of Louis Armstrong will immediately cause even the most savage furby to cease its attack and break into dance.
• Because they savor the terror-stricken expressions on their victim’s faces, furbies will almost never attack a foe from behind. They are also hesitant to attack anyone wearing fuzzy garments, as they feel a kinship with all things furry. This makes the snuggie the ultimate in anti-furby armor.
• Over the millennia, the furbies have made many enemies. One of these was Carmen Miranda, whose erratic dance moves confused and angered the furbies. As such, a tasteful arrangement of fruit will protect your head far better than any helmet.
• For some reason beyond even my comprehension, the most effective battle cry to use against furbies is “sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.”
• Because the Furby’s diet consists mainly of orphans, speaking in a cockney, Oliver Twist-esque accent is a good way to attract and entrap furbies.
• Adult diapers. They don’t have any special effect on furbies, but hey, when you’re facing an army of demonic ‘90s toys, you can’t expect to be in complete control of your body.
• The Furby, at its core, is a toy fad of the 1990s. This is a great strength, but also a weakness, as other ‘90s fads can used against them. So gather your pogs, dunkaroos, and Pokémon cards, friends, and dust off that Ninja Turtles tee shirt.

Granted, running around in a snuggle with a fruit hat and Nutella leaking from your body cavities won’t exactly impress the ladies, but if we’re going to save the human race, sacrifices must be made. Until our next discussion of the Furby menace, may your pogs fly true and may Louis Armstrong bless your buffalo snot.

Return of the Fuzzy Darkness

One of the many great lessons learned by mankind is this: in its re-emergence, evil is often far more threatening in than in its first incarnation. We thought we had defeated the Germans after World War I, the end-all be-all of warfare. Then came World War II. The people of Russia thought they had brought injustice to an end after they overthrew the Czar. Then came the Soviets. And now there is a darkness, one we’ve seen before, that has taken on a more powerful form and threatens all of existence.

I thought I had seen the last of the Furbys.

The Furby, for those of you unaware, was a dark fusion of bird and mammal with a voice like that of a sinister Mr. Rogers and eyes like a thousand screaming, tortured souls. Wielding a powerful black magic, the Furby, at the height of its power, nearly ground all of humanity under its fuzzy heel.

The foolish children of the 1990s purchased furbies in large numbers, allowing them to spread their dark cult across the face of the whole Earth. Fortunately, the fad died out and the hellish idols were left to gather dust in America’s closets, their age of darkness at last brought to a close.

I thought it was over. I held on to the hope that mankind had banished whatever foul spirits had inhabited the creatures and could at last live in peace. But I fear that, like evil, pain, and death, Furby domination may be inevitable.

Earlier this year, I was taking an innocent scroll through my Facebook news feed when I saw that a friend had posted this on my wall:

furby boom 2

“Furby Boom.” They’re back, ladies and gentlemen. And they’re more frightening than ever.

In addition to resurrecting the sick creatures, the poor fools at Hasbro actually expanded their power. With the aid of an app akin to the Necronomicon, the furbies can now interact with your smart phones, tablet computers, and other pieces of technology. That’s right: all of our communications—our phones, our computers, the Internet—all will succumb to the will of the Furby.

How did this happen?! What brain-dead ad executive actually said to themselves, “You know what’d look great on kids’ smart phones? Satan!”

You heard it here first; the future is indeed here, and the future is Furby. In a few years, I suspect we’ll be living in a world that resembles those of The Terminator, Mordor, 1984, and My Little Pony fused together into a land where the air reeks of cuteness and death.

Oh, but that’s not all. Feast your eyes on the next generation of dark dieties:


This is a “furbling.” Yes. They’re reproducing. Not only have the immortal furbies resurfaced, they’ve multiplied. There is no doubt in my mind: the furbies’ will continue to procreate until their demon spawn overrun the Earth and devour all who resist their iron-fisted rule.

Malevolent forces greater than any mankind has ever faced surround us, ready to devour our very souls. But do not despair just yet. I have long prepared for this day.

My studies in Furby lore have shown me the beasts’ weaknesses, and I plan to share my knowledge with any who will listen. After cowering in fear of the Furby’s return for over a decade, it is at last time to stand and fight.

Grab your crosses and garlic, friend, and check back next week.

Ketchup Negotiations

ketchup packet

The fast food drive-thru (spelled “thru” because words that contain more than five letters are frowned upon at many fast food establishments) is one of the many gifts bestowed on mankind by the gods of the frozen patties. It’s quick, easy, and lets you obtain food without ever having to leave your vehicle; you don’t even have to wear pants if you don’t want to. But there is a dark side to the drive-thru. If you’ve been to one in the last few years, you’ve no doubt found yourself having to go through ketchup negotiations.

Ketchup is the most valuable fast food commodity. Without it, your fries are tasteless, naked, and shameful. And like gold or oil, it is a resource that you must fight tooth and nail for.

In days long ago, the drive-thru worker would include with your meal a few packets of ketchup. It was a happy time when all was right with the world. But these days, as you pull away from the second window and look inside your bag of food, you’ll no doubt be struck with a stunning realization: there is no ketchup. None. Those heartless cretins keep the red goodness to themselves and you are left ketcupless.

This happens every time you go to the drive-thru. The ketchup gluttons at McDonald’s and Wendy’s simply will not give you ketchup unless you ask for it. Having to ask for ketchup at the drive-thru is like having to ask for anesthetic before a kidney transplant; there’s no one who wouldn’t want it, so you’d think they’d just give it to you automatically.

Oh, but the ketchup debacle doesn’t stop there. If, after the employee hands you your bag of food, you do ask for ketchup, they’ll first stare at you for a moment with accusatory, anger-filled eyes. Then, grumbling, they’ll grab a huge handful of ketchup packets—usually around two hundred—and shove them into your hands, as if to say, “Here, you big crybaby, take your ketchup. In fact, take far more ketchup than you’ll ever need, just so you never need to come crying to me about your condiment problems again.”

So now you have too much ketchup. After you’ve devoured all your tasty French fries, there are still a good dozen-or-so ketchup packets at the bottom of the bag, staring at you. Some people think, “I’ll put the ketchup packets in the fridge and use them later.” But you’ll never end up using all the ketchup packets because by the time you’ve used up one batch, the sarcastic ketchup glutton over at the Burger King drive-thru overloads you again and you have a brand new mountain of packets in the fridge to work through. You’re trapped in an endless ketchup cycle!

You’d think it would end there, but no. The fast food powers-that-be have come up with something even more diabolical. A few years ago, some fast food chains introduced new, “improved” ketchup packets:

big ketchup packet

These hold more ketchup than the old packets. But how much more? No one knows.

Let’s say that, before the new packets were introduced, you needed five ketchup packets to adequately cover all your fries. How many of the new packets do you need? Two? Three? Six? You’d better get it right or your ketchup-to-fry ratio is going to be skewed. These new ketchup packets have completely screwed up the ketchup packet exchange rate.

It’s high time we stand up to these fast food fascists and put an end to the ketchup mind games. I implore you, the next time you receive a bag of burger and fry without packets, thrust it back into the drive-thru worker’s greedy hands and say “Nay! You shall not make a mockery of my taste buds this day! I say unto thee, give me sufficient ketchup or give me death!”

Or you could just go to Taco Bell, where ketchup isn’t an issue.