A Bachelor’s Last Meal

Lightly salted, with plenty of bacon.

The equating of marriage to a prison sentence is not uncommon in American popular culture. Only unlike prison, escape is a viable option for around 50 percent of those who initially believe they won't part 'til death. Like the most committed of couples, many hardened felons actually meet their demise while serving long sentences. Some, obviously, are sentenced to death. These unlucky prisoners are typically afforded a final indulgence: the last meal. For some, it's filet mignon. But the majority of death-row inmates request the most American of meals: a burger and fries. I can honestly say the similarity between the final meal I ingested before proposing marriage to someone I love very much and the final meal most inmates consume before meeting their maker (or that less scrupulous, sunburnt fellow who rents the basement) didn't enter my mind until after the fact. But it must count for something that we shared the meal. And it has to be a decent omen that it was very, very good. En route to the Back Bay Inn on Vashon Island—a trip consistent with me and my now-fiancée's annual tradition of enjoying "anti"–New Year's Eves—we stopped at Perry's Vashon Burgers and ordered lunch to go. (We'd intended to dine at a new rib place next door, but it was closed.) The full order: a bacon cheeseburger, a corn dog, French fries, and two shakes—one banana, one strawberry. The fries, despite being enormous, were a little undersalted, and while the shakes were delicious, they would have been more delicious had they been swirled into strawberry-banana perfection. The burger, meanwhile, was expertly prepared, and corn dogs—well, they're right up there with boxer shorts and ice trays among mankind's greatest inventions. Once we reached our little room above the Quartermaster Pub, a bottle of champagne was uncorked mid-meal and a proposal was made—successfully, thank God. Later, over a scrumptious dinner of New York steak and ravioli, the innkeeper, Stormy, brought us two celebratory shots of Gentleman Jack, a whiskey I'd previously thought to be inferior even to Jack Daniel's. Stormy disagreed, prefacing the toast by saying, "I used to drink Maker's, but once I tried Gentleman Jack, I never went back." Stormy was right: The brand was better than I'd given it credit for. There's no going back for me now either, and I wouldn't have it any other way. mseely@seattleweekly.com

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