What happened to you, Long John Silver’s? You used to be cool.

Dear Long John Silver’s:

Better days and better decor: the severed head of Long John Silver

What happened to you?  You used to be cool.  When I was a kid, “going out to eat” was a luxury/event.   Not only were we told that it was very expensive (moreso then than now – don’t get me started on that) but we were also informed that we never deserved it, and for that reason, we had damned well better appreciate it and “act like we had some goddamned sense” in public.   And we did.   We might prefer to eat a Happy Meal, but as we did not have jobs/money, our opinions did not matter, plus we’d much rather go to Long John Silver’s.  Why?  Because it was cool.

I can vividly recall the atmosphere of your establishment circa 1984, when, by some miracle, our parents were forced to take us with them out in public because no other arrangements could be made.  Long John Silver’s brought the magic and mayhem of the sea to the people — from the moment they stepped upon the gangplank/sidewalk ’til they rang the captain’s bell on their way out.   Dark-paneled booths with nautical embellishments were attended by salty sea wenches who served up pirate hats, treasure maps, and chicken planks.   You brought families together by offering a dining experience.

Long John Silver’s made our parents forget, for at least an hour, that they “didn’t know what they were going to do with us.”  They knew what they were going to do!  They were going to watch us act like we had some goddamned sense in pirate hats, and laugh at us for practically puking on our treasure maps after forcing us to try a bite of their malt vinegar-soaked something-or-other.  Ordinary meal-time threats such as, “eat it or sit there all night!” were replaced with humorous allusions to *someone* forcing us to walk the plank.  Not that we would have minded sitting there all night or walking the plank, but we knew better than to pull any nonsense when we were “out to eat.”   Besides, our dad would eat any land or sea creature we happened to push aside to get to the “crunchies.”  Y’all know what I’m talking about.  We didn’t know what the crunchies were, and we didn’t care.  All part of the adventure that was Long John Silver’s.

I never saw the kitchen in those days and never wanted to.  Still don’t.  I’d much rather imagine one-legged, one-eyed scalawags hacking into sea creatures (and chickens, and…crunch beasts) with cleavers than to have the mystery of the feast preparation dispelled by harsh fluorescent lighting, polystyrene packaging, and vacant-eyed dumbasses in “LBJ” t-shirts.  WTF?!! Your restaurant sucks now.

I don’t know whose idea it was to have Queer Eye for the Straight Guy come in and change your theme, but I want you to know that I am against it!  I have no desire to order “fresh side grille” from your bright and colorful menu board, and I sure as hell do not intend to ever consume seafood that has nothing to do with pirates.  There is no adventure in your establishment.  Also, there are never any children, because, unfortunately, they get to have opinions nowadays — and I’ve got news for you, Long John Silver’s:  no kid ever chose sea junk food over land junk food, and no kid ever will.  Bring back the fun.




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