Fragmentary chefs: Threat or menace?

Electronic journalism – don’t ya just love it?

The computer age has given newspapers greater speed, depth and access to information than ever before. It has also provided them with an endless supply of fragmentary information that defies any logical explanation.

Pieces of old newspaper stories, office memos and Internet data float through our computer system here like misty ghost ships from the past, tiny Flying Dutchmen seeking a safe harbor in which to create fear, befuddlement and consternation.

Not long ago, an old newspaper brief about a local theater company found its way into our pages and urged interested parties to contact the director-producer if they’d like to help with a show. This was a fine example of how the newspaper supports local performing arts organizations by publishing news of auditions and organizational meetings. Unfortunately, the person listed as producer-director and public contact person had died roughly two years before the recycled news release found its way back into our pages.

The latest fragmentary surprise turned up in my computer queue a few weeks ago. It also appeared without warning in one of the newspaper’s food page queues. Nobody knows why.

The puzzling fragment is clearly part of something else that may or may not have been important to someone at one time, but we aren’t sure if it’s part of a recipe, restaurant review or a terrorist plot to subjugate large numbers of chefs.

Confused? So were we. In fact some of us are still confused (others of us are always confused. That’s just the nature of a 24-hour newspaper operation…).

Perhaps it’s best to simply share the mystery fragment with you and let you draw your own conclusions. Who knows, this may be a vital piece of information for which you’ve been waiting ever since “The Galloping Gourmet” went off the air.

Titled “CHEFS WHA,” it reads:

“…you have to silence two chefs. You can’t shoot them because they’re civilians, so you sneak up on them and knock them out. The first time, if you take out the closest chef, the other one will run to sound the alarm. The next time you have to deal with him, he may fall on the floor in terror. The third time, he may try to escape. Guards have similar variations in how they respond…”

Uh-huh. You have to silence two chefs. And you can’t shoot them because they’re civilians.

This is important to remember. After all, most of us are called upon to silence noisy chefs two or three times a day. You’re sitting in your office and suddenly a couple of loudmouth chefs come barging and start bickering over vichyssoise, or they roll up and start bellowing at each other while you’re trying to sip a beer and watch the Seahawks’ game down at the old Leaky Tiki Tavern.

Sure, you want to shoot them, but now you know you can’t. It’s neither polite nor legal (except, perhaps, in remote parts of New Jersey).

Worse, according to our fragmentary directions for who-knows-what, these boisterous chefs apparently are accompanied by guards.

I’ll try to let you know if we ever find the rest of this story somewhere in the newspaper’s labyrinthine computer system. Until then, though, I’d recommend staying away from loaded firearms and loud chefs.


Originally published December 29, 2002

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