Jack In The Box Now Controlled By The HAL9000

Humans? Who needs humans?
I went to Jack in the Box because I was so hungover, my brain felt like a piece of stained glass. There I discovered that it had become a futuristic dystopia. No one was working at the cash register. Human employees had been replaced by a maroon box, which felt the need to constantly reassure me that it was friendly. I paid the box using my credit card. Eventually an actual human, probably some future man from a race of mutants who'd been enslaved by the machines, appeared with my order.

Every so often the music that was being broadcast in the dining room would be interrupted by one of those cold, sexy female robot voices that count down self- destruction sequences in every sci- fi movie ever made, who would drone "Stand by for a transmission from our founder" in her flat, disinterested computer voice. Then Jack, the bobble-headed president of Jack in the Box, would come on to say something. Then the music would resume. They were playing "Aqua Lung" by Jethro Tull. A more terrifying vision of the future could not be imagined by Philip K. Dick.

Luckily the food at Jack in the Box seemed unchanged. Soilent Green was not on the menu, but all the usual shit was. Jack in the Box's menu is almost surreal: at 99 cents for two, tacos seem almost genetically engineered for stoners and are garnished with strange parallelograms of American cheese. The fish pita snack seems like some sort of lesbian code word. And the teriyaki bowl just seems like a bad idea.

But there is one thing on Jack in the Box's menu that makes it all worthwhile: The Jumbo Jack is the best goddamned hamburger in fast food. In case you're from some loser country and don't know about the Jumbo Jack, this is what it is: a pretty standard cheeseburger with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onion, mayonnaise, and ketchup on a sesame seed bun. The iceberg lettuce is usually limp and yellowing, and the tomatoes are frequently mealy, and the pickles are rubbery, but the Jumbo Jack kicks ass because of the onions. Lesser specimens like McDonald's cheeseburgers use diced, reconstituted onions, which smell like a sweaty nutsack. But the Jumbo Jack features manly slices of real onions. It's the culinary equivalent of wearing leather pants.

Better still is the unapologetic inclusion of ketchup on the Jumbo Jack. Some people act like you just suggested they murder an infant if you put ketchup on a hamburger. But it fucking rules. Putting ketchup on a burger is as American as having to buy two seats on a Southwest Airlines flight. And if you don't like it, I invite you to build your own time machine and travel to a distant menacing future in which tomatoes are extinct, ketchup has been forgotten, Sarah Palin's retarded son is President of the USA, and your mom and I got married.

Rating: 1.5 Jacks out of 10

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