The bitter taste of fish sandwiches and disappointment

As I mentioned in my previous post, W and I are going away for the night on Saturday.  We will be gambling, drinking alcohol, engaging in adult conversation and eating food that doesn’t come in disposable cardboard boxes or with a side of Ranch.

As 2012 is winding down, this is probably it for us for the year as far as nights out without the kids.  So, there is a whole lot riding on this weekend.  We have to cram gobs of fun and romance and sexiness in a single night.  It’s a tall order.

I asked W if she thought the weekend would fall short of our sky-high expectations.

“Definitely not,” she said.

She is an optimist.

Me, not so much.

My meal came without a happy ending.

High expectations and disappointment bring me back to the 80s.  (Everything brings me back to the 80s, if you haven’t noticed.)  I’m on a road trip with my college friends.  Hung-over in a major way.  We decide to stop at Friendly’s for lunch.

If you have ever had a serious hang-over (or a touch of “flu,” as we refer to it within my circle of friends), you know the importance of filling your tank with just the right food and beverage post why-did-I-wash-down-a-six-pack-of- pounders-with-that-bottle-of-Boone’s-Farm.

World’s greatest hang-over beverage: Yoo-Hoo

World’s greatest hang-over food: Wendy’s single, ketchup only

At Friendly’s, I carefully scour the menu.  I need protein.  And, liquid.  Lots of liquid.

Disappointment on a plate

I spot Friendly’s Fish-a-majig sandwich.  The name is jaunty and whimsical.  Just saying “Fish-a-majig” brings a slight smile to my lips that are still stained red from way too much sloe gin.  A fried fish sandwich would work, I think.  Yes, a Fish-a-majig.  That’s what I’ll have.  “A Fish-a-majig,” I say to myself with conviction.  I’m starting to rally already.

I order a Fish-a-majig, a vanilla Fribble and a bucket of water and wait for my fried fish sandwich to come.  I can already taste the soft, warm bun, the tang of tartar sauce, the crispy fish filet.

Fifteen minutes later when the waitress places a sad, flat sandwich in front of me, I tell her that she must be mistaken.  “I have ordered the Fish-a-majig,” I announce.  “You know, crisp, golden breaded fish,” I say.

Apparently, I’m the one who is mistaken.

The Fish-a-majig is a piece of fish bookended by two pieces of toasted white bread.  No soft, warm bun for this hung-over college student.

I can still taste the disappointment to this day.  It’s tart and tangy like tartar sauce.

Never mention Friendly’s Fish-a-majig sandwich to my college friends.  “If we have to hear about that fucking fish sandwich one more time,” they will tell you.  They are equal parts over dramatic and unsupportive.

I’m hoping that the weekend doesn’t turn out to be a 2012 Fish-a-majig.  So many high hopes and expectations, but in the end you’re left with nothing but toast and a soggy piece of processed fish.

I know what you’re all thinking.  If you think the weekend will be a Fish-a-majig, it will be a Fish-a-majig.  Self-fulfilling fish sandwiches and all.

You’re a human Fish-a-majig, Joe Carter

It’s funny that when I think of my top disappointments in life, the Fish-a-majig always swims to the top.  Not the nine-year marriage that ended in divorce or the civil union that crashed and burned less than a year after my girlfriend and I exchanged vows.  Or even the 1993 World Series when Joe Carter ended the Philadelphia Phillies’ magical lightning-in-a-bottle season with a single swing of the bat.  Curse you, Joe Carter.

Truth be told, W and I have had very few Fish-a-majig moments in our relationship.  From the get-go, everything has always worked out the way that it was supposed to, which has been perfect.

And, I know the weekend will be perfect, too.

I guess I just like kvetching about a 30-year-old fish sandwich.

How about you?  Care to share a random moment of disappointment?

65 responses to “The bitter taste of fish sandwiches and disappointment

  1. funny write-up! i’m a huge fish fillet fan; i almost always end up ordering a fish fillet meal whenever the menu has it. Sadly, fish fillets are kinda complicated i think, because disappointment usually follows after my first couple of bites. But i still keep on ordering them anyway. Sigh!

  2. I didn’t know that there were any Friendly’s still around! When I used to go to Friendly’s I enjoyed their chocolate shakes! yummy!

  3. “I know what you’re all thinking. If you think the weekend will be a Fish-a-majig, it will be a Fish-a-majig. Self-fulfilling fish sandwiches and all.”
    Actually, I was thinking just that and you preemptively disarmed me. Aaah! Get out of my head! :-0

  4. Fish Fillet? LOL! You took me back.
    I can’t even imagine having one now. Don’t think my stomach could handle it any more. Times change and along with that the mind and the body. No more expectations for me and definitely no more FRIED Fish Fillet.
    BTW, stay in the moment and focus on W. She sounds lovely!

  5. Wow that must have been a bad fish-a-majig. I’ve had too many disappointing meals to recount – but one memory from the 80s was a ‘mushroom surprise.’ The surprise was – it was served in a teapot. The patron said ‘ You’re probably wondering why you’re the only customers in here tonight’ as he served it. I was wondering why we were in there at all.

  6. I want to eat there – I’ve had many happy ending at Thai massage parlours.

  7. This post even brought back memories for ME!

  8. I’ve got fairly good menu-dar, but my mum’s is atrocious, so I’ve FELT THE PAIN by proxy. The worst time was sitting in this crazy little pan-European place in East London (which is decked out like some kind of brothel as designed by a massively camp male madam (monsieur?) – plaster statues of men with massive penises on the stairs and everything) and getting a huge bowl of moules marinieres put down in front of me, which she got a big mushroom. With some garlic butter on it. Literally just a mushroom on a plate/

    I’d have given her some of the mussels, but she DOESN’T EVEN LIKE MUSSELS.

    • Mushroom on a plate. Doesn’t sound very appealing. I wonder if your mother was as traumatized by her dining experience as I was with mine. The massive penises sound pretty unappetizing, too.

  9. It’s awesome that your all time biggest disappointment was a fried fish sandwich. If that was more common, I’m sure the world would be a better place. :)

  10. We don’t have fried fish sandwiches over here in the UK – or at least I hope we don’t. There is of course the ubiquitous McVomit (sorry, McDonalds) Filet o’ Fish served with tartare sauce I have heard compared to a certain male bodily fluid. Anyway…
    Arriving at ones destination after a long (well, long for the UK) drive. the only place to eat is the local Little Chef. Oh well, I’ll have an omlette. After all – what the hell can go wrong with that? Cue the answer to that question – cold, greasy, with the consistency of leather and about an inch thick.

  11. Hilarious. Great post!

  12. As a kid we would go to Friendlys all the time haha. The one by me now just closed. I do have to say my fav hang over fave food Nesquick with a porkroll,egg and cheese sandwich (I am a Jersey girl )lol some people refer to it as taylor ham)

  13. I learned the hard way when the waitress asks if you would like the “small” or the “large” margarita to ask to see the glasses. In my poor college days $20 should have gotten me more than a shot glass sized margarita! And yes, my friends are sick of hearing the “Margarita Meltdown of 1992″ every time we go to a Mexican restaurant. lol

  14. My existence. Major disappointment. I was expecting to be at least a minor deity by now and possibly a superhero. 5 year old me would be ashamed. Shrinking my cardigan in the wash today, also disappointing. It was a nice cardigan.

    Also, those chips looks like spindly bits of compacted vomit. Not appetising.

  15. some days though i’d be glad to have that sandwich.

  16. I don’t think there are any Friendly’s around my area anymore but I do remember the Fish-a-majig sandwich. Anything that has “a-majig” attached to it’s name is surely a hot mess. LOL! I do remember having some pretty good ice cream desserts there. Their menu items, not so much. Very humorous post.

    • Yeah, the “majig” should have tipped me off. I mean you never go to a fine dining establishment and order the prime rib-a-majig or the escargot-a-majig. Friendly’s desserts rock, though. I love the Reese’s Pieces sundae.

  17. Friendly’s always leads to disappointment. I try to tell my kids this, but they are still obsessed with the idea of Friendly’s. FIsh-a-majig has to be the best name for a sandwich I ever heard, so who could blame you for having high hopes?

    Glad I bothered to check Freshly Pressed today and wound up here!

  18. It took me a few verbal tries to pronounce the name of this sorry, soggy, sour-hole that was maybe a swimming fish in the “thing ah mah jiggy” sea sandwich.

    “Fish-ah-Majig,” kind of like “thing- ah- mah-jhid.”

    Circa 1989-
    high-school cafeteria with a thick layer of slimy smoke curling half-way, dividing the air space between the ceiling and the tops of over gelled, hair-sprayed, teased, Depeche Mode, and peg-legged pants standing in line at the window.

    Obese hair netted, mole faced workers handed out greasy spoon box lunches famed “Shrimp shapes,” nestled with a generic version of potato fries, and a gleaming, smashed bun tasting of hardened bacon fat sitting on top of the whole mess.

    Don’t ask me what “Shrimp shapes” were made out of! Just use your imagination.

    • Wow, great 80s look.

      Disgusting sounding food. “Shrimp shapes.” Shaped like shrimp but definitely not shrimp because they would have just called it “shrimp.”

      • That’s exactly right! They weren’t actual shrimp because that was too expensive for high school kids. I’m sure prisoners ate better than that. Heck, amoebas eat better.

  19. Ew! Doesn’t Friendly’s usually have a picture of the item next to the menu? That yuckamajig looks so… well… yucky. I ALWAYS play it safe at Friendly’s – french fries, chicken fingers, honey mustard, chocolate ice cream sundae with extra peanut butter sauce and 2 cherries.

  20. Rule 1: If food has the word “product” in it, then it’s not found in nature.
    -I guess we should include: if the description tells what it’s supposed to be shaped like, it’s also not found in nature.
    -Your food trauma was not lost on me.

  21. When I was 4, my kinder gave every kid a book as a ‘graduation’ gift. My book had no words, just pictures. I was gutted, and also surprised that my teachers didn’t know me well enough to know how much I wanted the words.
    I love this post, you have a great writing voice.

  22. Oh, man. I am now CRAVING a fish sandwich. Even a fish-a-majig will do!

    http://indiraadams.wordpress.com

  23. 1989-The greatest hockey player in the world has his season cut short as the Penguins and Mario Lemieux head to the golf course early. They miss the playoffs by ONE GAME.

    The Flyers. Always the effin Flyers.

    If I were to make a list of my top ten disappointments in my life, the Flyers would be included in at least four of them.

    They are worse than a Fish-a-majig. The Flyerzs are like a fish-a-majig that the cook spit on after he retrieved it from the mens urnial.

  24. Greatest disappointment as of late was the “chicken curry on my plate of rice” dinner i had on a local Indian restaurant in KL.l had this huge expectation for Indian food, but at that time, (literrally) the chicken was just splattered on my poor rice. It was daunting to see it.
    p.s: For me, Chinese noodle soup is the best cure for hang-over.

  25. Pingback: The year in review: On blogging and looking back over my shoulder « The Flannel Files

  26. I like to expect Fish-a-magigs and then find myself pleasantly surprised. It works at least most of the time. Thanks for sharing your sandwich with us.

  27. Yeah, you never know when you’re going to get Fish-a-majiged, that’s for sure. In 1964, when I was a kid, I would have given a kidney for a hairy headed Beatle doll. Even though John was my favorite, any member of the Fab Four would suffice, including Ringo. What does my grandmother, who never voted once in her life, get me? An LBJ presidential campaign doll. Insert downbeat. She reasoned that it was the same size as a Beatle doll, but that I’d like it more since his cowboy hat was removable. She was mistaken.

  28. I’ll make that “wah wah” Debbie Downer sound. LBJ is sorta like a Beatle. Ok, not really. Reminds me of when my grandmother told my brother and me that she had gotten us autographs of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Turns out that she meant the mascot for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Must be a grandmother thing.

  29. I truly laughed out loud when I read this. (I don’t mean the generic LOL that just means “it was mildly amusing.”) I’m heading back to a mini-college reunion this summer, and I know exactly which sandwich my friends and I will by laughing about.

  30. Pingback: The bitter taste of fish sandwiches and disappointment | Karelia Stetz-Waters

  31. The metaphor of the Fish-a-majig will be with me for a while, I think. That’s greatness.

  32. Pingback: #mywritingprocess Blog Tour | Karelia Stetz-Waters

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