Dining with the Devil

The devil makes tasty root beer floats!

I don’t think I’ve actually been in a coffee shop in a really long time. I don’t know why that is. What this means is that I don’t actually know if coffee shops still sell gum and Life Savers.

But in olden times (the 1970s), they did. It was always in the glass counter beneath the cash register. I guess the logic was that you’ll probably want to buy something minty to cover up that putrid breath you’ll have after eating their miserable food.

When we went out to eat when I was a little kid, I would always beg for gum or Life Savers as we were paying the bill. I didn’t actually want the gum or Life Savers; it was just a Pavlovian response to stimuli. My mother would always refuse (I think that was her Pavlovian response to my stimuli.). She’d say “You just ate! You can’t possibly want any more.” Her track record on this was impeccable. She never bought the gum. At least she stuck to her principles.

Through the technology of blogging, we will now jump the story forward 8 or 10 years. I was now in my mid-teens, and I was out with my mother one day. I don’t know where the rest of the family was; it was just us. Maybe she had taken me out to buy clothes or something. Somehow we wound up at Denny’s. Those were the days before they sexualized their menu. It was just regular food.

Denny's menu from slightly later than our story

Denny’s menu from 1981. (Click to embiggen.)

The waitress brought the bill and departed. My mother picked it up and said “Oh! It comes to $6.66!”

I think I was only vaguely aware of the number of the beast at that age, so I wasn’t fazed. My mother said “Some people think that if your bill comes to $6.66, your money goes straight to the devil!”

I thought that was quite humorous. I wasn’t even sure why the devil would want our money. Maybe once he collects enough of it, then he can buy somebody’s soul with it.

She then told me the story of one of her friends, who was highly religious. It seems this friend was driving a little too fast on the freeway one day, and she got herself pulled over by the CHP.

Ponch is excited to see you

This is what the CHP looked like in the 1970s.
(I don’t know if they all carried their nightsticks in this manner.)

The cop gave this woman a speeding ticket. Then she looked at her odometer. The last three digits were 666! Satan made her speed!

I thought this was also quite humorous. My mother seemed to think it was funny, too. She certainly didn’t give me the impression that she took any of it seriously.

My mother considers herself Christian. She’s just not one of those church-going Christians. She’s not even a “Christmas & Easter” Christian. She’s probably a “too-much hassle” Christian.

That wasn’t always the case. She is, after all, the one who dragged me to frickin’ church every frakkin’ Sunday morning between the ages of 5 and 10. Then she suddenly lost interest in my moral development, and I never had to go to church again! In the absence of God’s guidance, I’ve been killing puppies and shoving old ladies in front of buses ever since. Don’t be like me. Stay in church, kids!

Anyway, we had finished our lunch at Denny’s, so we went to the front register to pay the bill. I thought it would be slightly amusing to watch my mother pay her “soul tax” to the devil. But what does she do?

She said “I’d also like to buy a pack of gum!”

9 Responses to “Dining with the Devil”

  1. thoughtcounts Z Says:

    Made me think of this recent addition to (The Customer Is) Not Always Right.

  2. Ron Britton Says:

    Z:

    That’s one of those funny coincidences like the anal cell phone.

    I had been planning to write this article for the last several years, but I kept putting it off. Then last Monday, Snopes posted (or maybe updated) their article about it. I subscribe to the Snopes RSS feed because, really, I have nothing better to do with my life than read about how stupid other people are. I know that makes me a bad person, but I can’t help myself.

    Anyway, I saw their article on Monday and decided the time was right for my own article on the subject. And then on Wednesday, Not Always Right published that story you linked to. I thought that was a great confluence of internet events, so my story would be even more timely. I was originally going to mention those other articles and then launch into my own story. When I finally had the chance to write it this weekend, those other articles just didn’t fit into the flow, so they got axed.

  3. Dan Says:

    I used to work at a grocery store and I saw this kind of thing all the time. If the total came to or ended in $6.66, 75% of the time the customer would frantically proceed to add or subtract an item. It was funny the first couple of times but after that I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and sigh.

    Meanwhile my friends and I had also discovered that Taco Bell had what we called the “666 Meal,” which consisted of a grilled stuffed burrito, two tacos, and a large soda (if I remember correctly).

  4. Luke Says:

    A colleague of mine lives a number 666. And get this: his surname is Lucifer.

  5. Lindsay Says:

    Same here Dan…I worked at Burger King in high school and probably about 75% of the time the same would happen. I grew up in a small town and I knew most of these people…even people who weren’t particulary religious or superstitious would add something to their order so it wouldn’t come to $6.66. I guess maybe with some people it is more about the superstition (like not walking under a ladder or avoiding crossing the path of a black cat) than being afraid of the mark of the beast.

  6. Parrotlover77 Says:

    This begs the question of whether a fast food joint would make more money if they intentionally made more of their commonly ordered meals add up to $6.66 after tax?

    Or would it have the opposite effect of the religious avoiding the place for fear of the 666 meals?

  7. logoseph Says:

    Oh, I definitely have a Taco Cabana “Devil Meal” with my friends-two bean&cheese tacos and two fajita tacos and tax= $6.66. If Domino’s had launched a 666 deal instead of 555, I would have ordered it. Too bad they’re run by religious nuts…

  8. Parrotlover77 Says:

    But wait… A Domino’s 666 deal would be more expensive than the 555 meal. Personally, I would not have ordered it for that reason alone. I may find a sort of morbid pleasure in exploiting other’s silly numerological superstitions, but that doesn’t mean I want to pay $18 for my pizzas instead of $15. :-)

  9. katie5000 Says:

    …she suddenly lost interest in my moral development, and I never had to go to church again! In the absence of God’s guidance, I’ve been killing puppies and shoving old ladies in front of buses ever since. Don’t be like me. Stay in church, kids!

    This totally made me ROFL. XD