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Robert St. John

Restaurateur, author, enthusiastic traveler, & world-class eater.

Freeze! This is a Ham Up!

May 29, 2006

Freeze! This is a Ham Up!

I read a news story a few weeks ago with this headline: “Robber Allegedly Holds Up Bar With Ham Sandwich.”

O.K., I thought, you’ve got my attention, I’ll bite.

The story stated: “Police say a man used what they call a ‘gun-shaped’ object in his attempt to rob a Humboldt Park bar at 1013 N. Western Monday night. But a tipster tells CBS 2 the weapon was actually a ham sandwich molded into the shape of a gun. The ham-robber fell on his way out of the bar and was arrested. Brian Latuszek has been charged with aggravated robbery.”

And people wonder why I never run out of things to write about.

So much for the carved-block-of-soap and black-shoe-polish trick, now we have moved into the realm of luncheon meat hold-ups

How drunk does one need to be to rationalize— not only robbing a bar— but doing so with two pieces of Wonder bread, pressed ham, and a side of mayo as your weapon? Better still, how drunk would someone need to be to be threatened by a man holding a ham sandwich?

Granted, the robber should get marks for creativity as I am sure that it is not easy to mold a ham sandwich into the shape of a 38-caliber handgun. I wonder if he used white or wheat?

If this incident would have taken place in New Orleans (and it certainly could have, and sometime in the past, might have), I believe that the robber’s attempt would have been successful. First, they don’t eat a lot of ham sandwiches down there. Most of the sandwiches that are consumed are po-boys. It would be much easier to shape a po-boy into a believable assault weapon than a ham sandwich. Second, there’s no shortage of drunks in New Orleans. If they can elect Ray Nagin for another term, they could certainly fall for a po-boy being used as a firearm.

A po-boy would work, but so would many other foodstuffs. As a matter of fact, I could think of at least seven better weapons in the grueling 15 minutes it took to write this column:

SPAM. A can of SPAM would certainly be a more effective weapon than a ham sandwich. One could still stay within the “ham” theme. Though a can of SPAM is compact and could be easily concealed. It is also heavy enough to hurl across a room and do some damage.

Vienna sausage goo. That gelatinous goo floating on top of Vienna sausages is deadly stuff when in the hands of a trained professional.

Boiled Brussels sprouts and cabbage. Walk in your neighborhood bar with a large pot of boiled sprouts and cabbage and watch the place clear out faster than a group of Marilyn Manson fans at a Barry Manilow concert.

A week-old bag of Krystal burgers with extra onions. In college, I left a bag of Krystals in my car by accident. They stayed there two days. I couldn’t get a date for two years.

My wife’s broccoli and blue cheese casserole. One bite and they’ll hand over all of their worldly possessions.

A potato gun. During down times in the early days of the Purple Parrot Café, we shot potatoes out of a homemade PVC cannon from the front door across the street to a large billboard that advertised trial lawyers.

A medley of the greatest hits from the Waffle House jukebox. Not a food weapon, but a deadly threat, nonetheless. A few choruses of “Waffle House Stomp” or “Waffle House Hash Browns, I Love You” and the patrons of any business will fork over all of the money in their wallets to stop the ear-bleeding misery.

We don’t need stricter gun control laws in this country. We need more sandwiches. Now, if someone could just get Dick Cheney to use a ham and Swiss on rye the next time he goes quail hunting.

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