This needs prefacing at length with a monologue by Lewis Black, who recalls standing in a line at the movies or something
… when from behind me, a woman of 25 uttered the dumbest thing I’d ever heard in my life … She said, “If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.” I’ll repeat that. I’ll repeat that because that’s the kind of sentence that when you hear it, your brain comes to a screeching halt. And the left hand side of the brain looks at the right hand side and goes, “It’s dark in here, and we may die.” She said, “If it weren’t for my horse”—as in, giddy up, giddy up, let’s go—”I wouldn’t have spent that year in college,” a degree-granting institution. Don’t! Don’t think about that sentence for more than three minutes, or blood’ll shoot out your nose. The American medical profession doesn’t know why we get an aneurysm. It’s when a blood vessel bursts in our head for no apparent reason. There’s a reason. You’re at the mall one day, and somebody over there says the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard and it goes in your ear. So you turn around to see if your friends heard it, ’cause if your friends heard it, and you can talk about what the jackass said, then it’ll be gone. But your friends are over here, pretending they’re gonna buy a cellular phone, and they’re not gonna buy a cellular phone, because they don’t even understand how the rate structure works. So you turn back, to find the person who said it, because if you can ask ‘em a question like, “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKIN’ ABOUT?!” then it’ll go away. But they’re gone. And now those words are in your head. And those words don’t go away. Cause the way I see it, 7% of our brains functions all the time, because 99% of everything that happens is the same old stuff. We get it. All right. Move on. Get it. Right. But every so often, somethin’ like that happens: “If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.” So your brain goes, “LET’S FIGURE IT OUT! Son of a bitch! I wonder what that’s about!” I wonder, was she riding the horse to school? No, she wouldn’t be riding the horse to school. Maybe it was a polo pony; she had a polo pony scholarship. Maybe she sold the horse and that’s how she … she was betting on the horse! WHAT THE FUCK?!! And then you realize that anybody who went to college would never say anything that stupid in public. And as soon as you have that thought, your eyes close and the next morning they find you dead in your bathroom.
That’s exactly what happened to me, the death on the john & everything, one day some years back in Boston. I was in a crammed cablecar on the B Line, which runs straight through the hell on earth that is Allston/Brighton, crammed as it is in turn with the damned souls of BU & BC coeds—not tortured, mind you, in fact perfectly blithe, in fact soulless, but nonetheless or hence utterly damned—when I heard a girl with a larynx like a squeak toy say this:
“I’ve never tasted an artichoke. I mean, I have, but I haven’t, do you know what I mean?”
I’ve regretted not giving her at least half of what she was (&/or wasn’t) missing by wringing her neck ever since.
Until now. Now that I’ve been to Buckhorn Exchange, I’m really relieved I’m not doing time for choking the life out of the only daughter of a Norwegian shipping magnate or whatever sort of heiress she presumably was to be able to afford tuition at BU or BC. Now that I’ve been to Buckhorn Exchange (BE?), I get her; I hear her; & I can honestly say with her that I’ve had something but not had something. A number of things, in fact—namely alligator, rattlesnake & above all Rocky Mountain oysters.
Says the menu: fried, center-cut alligator tail with seafood cocktail sauce. Says I: if you say so. Practically minced & heavily breaded, it could’ve been leg meat. It could’ve been crocodile leg meat. Hell, it could’ve been ocean perch. Maybe it needed freshwater swamp–critter cocktail sauce to really bring out the flavor.
Says the menu: rattlesnake marinated in red chile & lime & served with a chipotle cream cheese. Says the dictionary under the entry for “with”: used as a function word to indicate combination, accompaniment, or addition. Apparently the chef confused it with “under”: in or into a position below or beneath something; or, better yet, in or into a condition of subjection, subordination, or unconsciousness. As in: The rattlesnake was rendered unconscious when it was smothered under a blanket of chipotle cream cheese.
Says the menu: Rocky Mountain oysters with horseradish dippin’ sauce. Period. Says I: substitute “Rocky Mountain oysters” with “chicken fingers” or “calamari fritti” or “not even roadkill but bits of the blown-out tire that hit the roadkill.” You’d still get the same thing.
Too bad; covered every inch with the stuffed heads of ibexes & impalas, bucks & buffalo, humming with the sounds of a dead ringer for Sam Elliott in The Big Lebowski on the autoharp,
the place is a kick in the assless chaps. & there is 1 anomaly of a nibble, a gem among the rubble—namely the buffalo sausage with red-chile polenta & what the menu calls “spicy wild-game mustard,” which seems to contain both honey & horseradish, much like my soul. The sausage was rich, firm & pepper-spiked; the polenta was properly creamy; the mustard I could & did eat all by itself, with a spoon.
But overall Exchange appears to be a euphemism for Sellout, Blackmail, or plain old Bum Deal.