Sunday, July 30, 2006

My Weekend Boost

Given the number of weird cravings I get, you’d think I was seven months pregnant. Then again, you’d get that idea by looking at my gut. But this weekend, I decided that I wanted something from Jamba Juice to beat the heat. I have never been to Jamba Juice (or any other smoothie establishment) in my life, so this was a big step. Normally, I get my required daily serving of fruit from a variety of Jolly Ranchers.

I immediately began the process of planning out my trip to Jamba Juice. I got on the computer and looked up their location (State Street) and checked out their incomprehensible menu. Once I decided what I wanted, I practiced saying it over and over again, so I didn’t look like “guy who had never been to Jamba Juice.” I finally settled on the “Orange Dream Machine,” which sounded like a good deal since all it would cost me to get it would be $4.25 and my testicles.

I drove all the way down to State Street in search of my smooth, icy friend. When I finally got to the store, I walked in and I was the only male amongst about 12 females. Having said “Original Orange Dream Machine” about 200 times on the drive in, I confidently ordered, while triumphantly pulling out my wallet. But then, as if a microcosm of life, things got much more complicated.

Sensing I was a little overconfident, the guy behind the counter suddenly threw me a curveball and offered me something called a “boost.” I was completely unprepared for this. Suddenly, my palms got clammy and I became shifty and evasive. I was breathing into a paper bag when he pointed me to a little chart of what kind of “boost” I was eligible for.

At this point, you are forced to reflect on the state of your life and how this drink can be improved to meet your needs. Need more energy? There’s a boost for that. Lacking protein? There’s a boost for that. Do you feel that your immune system is lacking the ability to fight off viral intruders? Get the “Immunity Boost.” (Although I’m quite certain that boost makes you immune to ever seeing another naked woman.) Evidently, there is also a "Femme Boost," which is mandatory for any man who goes to Jamba Juice more than twice in a fiscal year.

Having taken a moment to take stock of my life, I decided the energy boost was for me. I handed over my money, now wet from perspiration, to the guy behind the counter. He seemed a little overly satisfied, having “outed” me as a first-timer. I could feel the contempt from the other customers burning the back of my neck. I was just anxious to finally wrap my lips around my fruity orange friend.

I realized at that point how great the whole "boost" concept was. What if other eating establishments could put things in your food that enhanced the true effect of the food? You could go order a pizza with the "fat boost." You could go to Burger King and just have them sprinkle your double Whopper with a boost of arsenic, to speed up your dying process.

Once it was in hand, I began the long sojourn back to my car. At this point, I realized that I should have really stopped off and picked something else up at a nearby store, so people didn’t know that I went down to State Street just to go to Jamba Juice. About halfway to my car, I realized that they probably gave me the “gay boost.” I suddenly felt the desire to own a poodle. I think if someone beat me up while drinking an Orange Dream Machine, that would qualify as a hate crime.

Here's my great marketing idea for Jamba Juice - for $1.00 more, you can get your drink in a cup that doesn't have the words "Jamba Juice" on it. I'd pay it - then I could walk down the street and drink it in peace. Make it one of those nondescript "to go" cups you get at a diner. Or have the cup say "This Drink Was NOT Purchased at Jamba Juice." That will fool everyone.

When I relayed the horrifying experience to a buddy, he said I played it totally wrong – I should have acted like a guy who had never been to Jamba Juice before. He thinks I would have won more respect from people in the store if I clearly had no idea what I was doing. And I think he’s right, which reminded me of another time where I had to play dumb.

About 10 years ago, I went to a bachelor party in Vegas for one of my uncles. Naturally, the party ended up at an “adult establishment,” which wouldn't have been that bad, except that my Dad was there. So I had to totally act like I had no idea where I was, including saying things like:

“This looks like a nice place – what are all these nice ladies doing here? All the lights and noise – I’m so confused! Excuse me, miss – If I put this $20 bill on the stage, do you think you could make change for me? I really need a Diet Pepsi.”

The final Jamba Juice verdict? The drink was fantastic. As was the nice Nine West purse I picked up on sale at Field's on the drive home.