When you come back from a particular chain of buffet restaurant, in tune with the chain's name, you smell like a herd of cattle.
These are the restaurants with true American grit. There is nothing more patriotic these days than going to a restaurant where the food stinks, eating heaping portions of it, and then letting everyone around you know where you ate by the smell on your shirt.
These kind of establishments really corral the big eaters, developing obese regulars for decades with their gilded troughs designed to lasso and pen up the cattle of the buffet food industry.
I guess if you get lassoed, you would eventually get used to the smell.
But the casual eater, who happens to find him or herself in one of these restaurants, is victimized by a offensive and inescapable stink.
It comes on with subtlety. You pick up a couple pieces of battered catfish and fried chicken, maybe a salad, and you think you've made it out of there without giving yourself a heart attack.
But as soon as you sit in the car, removed from the stinkfest inside, you realize that you've been consumed by a buffet funk.
And then you realize why the man at the cash register laughed maniacally as he took your money. He knows you are about to get infected with the stench.
I haven't decided if it's just the food, or if it's the regular cattle that eat there that pile up the smell. But for sure, it digs into your pores and into your clothes, sticking with you all day as a reminder of the terrible food you just ate.
So fair warning, do not go into one of these buffet places even if you think it's just a one-time affair.
The stink will punish you for it. You either have to make the commitment to join in on the gluttony every day, or avoid it at all costs. There is no between road here.
I made the arrogant mistake of believing I was above the food I was putting in my mouth.
The clichÃ¯ ¿ ½ goes "you are what you eat."
Even if you try hard not to be what you eat or where you eat for that matter - like for example if you have just a salad at the buffet - the stink will get you. It wafts over from the tray of baked chicken, mashed potatoes, and turnip greens like the ghost of the silent killer.
Justin Boron is the government reporter for the News-Daily. His column appears Mondays. He can be reached at 770-478-5753 or firstname.lastname@example.org .