Mr. Wrong By Joe MacLeod

Mr. Wrong: Laurel Park Has Destroyed my Holiday Tradition

It is still The Holidays and I hope you are experiencing exactly what you want to and what you Need to when you close your eyes and think of The Holidays, and while the Holiday Window of Opportunity is still gaping wide open, I would like to say one more thing about Thanksgiving in terms of my Personal Thanksgiving Experience, and this concerns The Day After Thanksgiving, when I traditionally go to the Laurel Park race track to bet on the ponies. You messed up, Laurel Park, seriously. I'm not coming back, ever. Done with you. I have crossed the Finish Line with you, and we're not in the Winner's Circle, hiyo.

It's like this: I have some friends here in Baltimore who invented a Holiday Tradition of packing up their Thanksgiving Leftovers (the only Holiday Leftovers truly and sincerely Prized and Cherished for being the Remnants of Yesterday's Holiday) in a cooler and driving that cooler full of Leftover Thanksgiving down to Laurel Park every year on "Thanksgiving Friday," if you will, not to be confused with dopey "Let's Go to The Mall at 6 a.m. Consumer Friday." No man, no Black Friday for them, we're talking about packing up hunks of turkey (dark meat and white in perfect harmony), a squeezer of mayonnaise, some relish, cran, the whole thing one thinks of when one considers the Platonic Ideal of a Leftover Thanksgiving Sandwich, a thing one even thinks about when one is snarfing down the meal the inside of that Sandwich is going to be left over from, you know? That's how we used to rock it, back in the Good Old Days of The Year Two Thousand Fourteen, A.D., back when you could bring a cooler fulla leftovers to the track as an accessory to good clean fun in the out-of-doors, Trackside, watching the Bangtails fly by the Rail.

This cooler full of Leftovers is a big deal, in terms of the Emotional Aspects of Food and stuff. You have a generally Low-Impact and Well-Received Holiday, tied together with a Fundamental Item found within the very Base of that Maslow's Hierarchy of needs Pyramid-thing, man! To wit: Physiological Needs, Safety Needs, Love and Belonging, Esteem, and Self-Actualization. The Physiological aspect, Sustenance, is one of the things you need before you can be Movin' On Up toward the pinnacle of Self-Actualization! What good is anybody if they are not Self-Actualized? Laurel Park, you have played hob with my Hierarchy of Needs, man, for many Thanksgiving Fridays up until now, all those Warm and Fuzzy Feelings have been stacked up into a delicious and heartwarming Sandwich that also included Laurel Park itself, but not any more, right, Laurel Park? Right? Because now Laurel Park, you have signs on the door that read No Outside Food.

Meanwhile, Laurel Park, you ran a "beer special" Thanksgiving Friday, but each bar we hit at the track it was only like two kinds of beer being poured, and the rest of the taps were, well, tapped out, you know? Would it kill you to change some kegs? In terms of bar service, I got in right before Post Time for a race and I thought I would grab myself a beer before I hit the betting window, but the bar I stopped at featured a Bartender deeply involved with her Cellular Telephone, oblivious to the Outside World, featuring: Customers. So I skipped the beer and made my bet, then I went to a different bar where I was informed as to the whole tapped-out situation, and I had to drink pumpkin beer. Laurel Park, you made me drink pumpkin fucking beer against my will, and if I was gonna be able to walk out and convene with my pals on the rail (Hierarchy of Needs Category: Love and Belonging) and make myself a Leftover-Turkey Sandwich, I would be Philosophical about your Beer Failure, but you don't want me to be Self-Actualized, you want me to buy the food you sell at the track, but guess what? Nobody goes to the fucking track to have a Meal, man, the only food you eat at the track is of the Incidental and Traditional variety, like a slice of Pizza, for example, on the Day After Thanksgiving, see? Anybody bringing in Leftover Turkey is not going to be deterred from grabbing that Palate-Cleansing slice of Pizza, see? A Turkey Sandwich is never gonna stand between me and a slice of Pizza, fools! I'm getting one no matter what! It's is on my Hierarchy of Needs!

Also, Laurel Park, maybe you have some Business People who figured locking out coolers fulla Leftovers would up your Revenue, but you are a Gambling Facility, man, you are cutting off your nose to spite your horse face, see? Somebody who brings the Leftovers of Thanksgiving Friday also brings 10 to 20 people with them who are motivated by the Power of a Pleasant Holiday Tradition, and those people came to drink your beer and Play the Ponies, man, to hit those Windows that Clean the People, dig? You are gonna lose that business, the business of people who came to the track and Brought food. Those are not people who came to the track to Eat food, do you understand the Distinction? You even sweated a friend of mine who brought in like, a few healthy snacks and some Granola Bars or whatever for his kids (your Future Patrons) because he knows what his children will eat, and it's not anything you sell, but whoever found the Contraband was a Logical Person and realized it was kinda ridiculous to bust somebody for bringing in food for his kids, but the food for their Pater Familias was rejected, and as a result of that, those wee ones will not be back next year to look at the Post Parade and help Daddy pick a Winner. You lose, Laurel Park. We came to your Park to play, and have a little Picnic, and it's sad, but you killed a Holiday Tradition. We won't be back. Bet on it.

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