Tuesday, January 19, 2010

“A Bunch of Creeps”?……hey,I got feelins you know!

These folks have got to read the fine print!

Just before Christmas I saw a post on one of the forums that I visit which mentioned a website where several BBQ Team logos and banners were being displayed in a not so flattering light. The name of the site is Suicide Food,


That should just about say it all right there, but my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to take a look around.

I clicked on the link and started to peruse the site, sure enough, there were many team logos on display along with some colorful, extremely one sided, venomous comments apparently added by the sites host. The comments were, how should I put it, non-complimentary to say the least. Now, I gotta tell you, for a bunch of peace loving, Kumbya singing vegans, this guy was really spewing some hatred. What ever happen to the “lets all just join hands and sing We are the world”, just like the old Coke commercial.

I started at the beginning and thought that I would see if I recognized any of the teams that were lucky enough to have made it onto this, what I am sure must be extremely popular web site. Sure enough, the longer I looked the more familiar team names I began to see. Each team banner would be accompanied by a short, spiteful blurb.

As the roll call of mentioned teams began to increase, I am not sure if I had a feeling of relief or angst? Relief, of course, as my team name wasn’t disgraced by the sharp barbs hurled by this lettuce eating wannabe food critic, or angst because my team was being ‘left out”, becoming the redheaded step child so to speak. Either way, I continued to read on and chuckle each time I saw a team name that I knew. Surely this guy had no interest or even knowledge of a newly formed team from Street, Maryland that only cooks about 6-7 contests a year, we would be considered small potatoes for sure. (I think these folks are allowed to eat potatoes, but I am not sure, maybe they also run that anti-Mr. Potato Head site that I heard about recently on the Today Show)

All of the sudden it hit me, there it was, the Who are those guys? banner in all its glory. The tirade that was below our logo called us a bunch of creeps. They said that we were trying to frighten a chicken and a pig to death! Tears welled into my eyes as a feeling of dread poured over me, nearly causing my knees to buckle, that is of course, if I had been standing. My stomach did a flip flop that under normal circumstances would have had me reaching for my always handy bottle of Rolaids. I wasn’t sure if I could go on. I have spent several years attempting to build the good name of WATG? BBQ team and now, or so it seemed, my efforts had been dashed, crushed like a stale Pall Mall on the floor of a cheap hotel.

It seemed that forevermore, the entire world, or at least those that were connected to the internet, would think the Who are those guys? gang were a bunch of creeps. They would think that we got our jollies chasing around innocent livestock up here in the northern Maryland hinterlands known as Street, Maryland.

As bad as this whole scene was playing out, me, being the eternal optimist, quietly thanked my lucky stars that we hadn’t decided to include a sheep into what we originally had thought, was an innocent drawing for our BBQ team. Lord knows what we would have been accused of if we had!

The thought that millions upon millions of internet surfers would be reading this fellow’s commentary and then thinking that we were a bunch of creeps really started to get the best of me. I do have feelings, contrary to what the members of my team would say. The fact that folks wouldn’t like us without even knowing us was weighing me down like I was George Costanza.

Then it hit me, this guy must have used an older version of our logo. I quickly enlarged the banner shown on the Suicidefood site and my suspicions were confirmed, there was no disclaimer.

Now, you may wonder what a disclaimer has to do with a BBQ team, which is exactly the same thing I thought 3 years ago when I first formed the team. Everyone knows that we live today in an extremely litigious society. Me, being the forward thinker that I am, took one look at the banner after our first season and realized that we were leaving ourselves wide open. Disclaimers are everywhere in today’s lawyer invested world, they even have them on the Viagra commercials.

I immediately consulted with the prestigious Washington DC law firm of Dewey, Cheatum and Howell. After several meetings we came up with the disclaimer that you see below. The full verbiage has been added to our banner, website and blog.

Disclaimer: No animal was harmed unnecessarily in the creation of this BBQ team. The chicken and pig depicted on our banner are professionals and were only acting; they were not harmed in any way. The chicken is actually from Street, Maryland and the pig knows damn well who we are.

I felt as though the weight of the world had been lifted from my back, we were vindicated. I wanted to scream from the mountain tops, we aren’t creeps and we’re not trying to scare the pig and chicken to death. But who could I tell, the damage had been done. The world already thought we were creeps, how could we right this wrong? After all we had a disclaimer.

I tried in vain to contact the Suicidefood site master, I wanted to let him know he was messin’ with the wrong guys, we were not creeps and certainly were not trying to scare those poor animals to death. We were only trying to catch them in order to make them contest ready. You know, get them ready for the show, make them boxworthy. Could there be any better tribute to our friends, the chicken, pig and cow than a first place call at a major contest? I think not. So it is onward and upward, as we try and reclaim our good name, all the while paying tribute to our friends from the barnyard. It is my vow to you and to everyone within the sound of my voice, that we will work to treat our barnyard pals with the utmost respect, all while striving to get highest calls possible for our finished products in this upcoming contest season.

That is the easy part; the difficulty here will be reclaiming our good name. Everyone knows that once your name is tarnished, it is a constant struggle to make it shine again. We will continue to trudge forward, spreading BBQ cheer and working to restore the luster into our sullied name. I can’t help but think, if only that guy had read the fine print, things would be different.