Legend of the Snake Hooptie

I’m tempted to put the title of this article in all capital letters, Allspark “LEGENDS OF BATMAN!”-style, but I will resist – for the moment, anyway. Sit right down and the Chef will share with you a story that happened not too long ago in the festering pit of urban despair known as Knoxville. Well, okay, not in Knoxville proper, and Farragut isn’t exactly a pit of urban despair, but a setting like the ghetto would be a more proper habitat for the monstrosity I’m about to describe than the upper-middle-class suburban shopping mecca it was spotted in. Words cannot capture its sheer horror and brilliance. It is the

The Maitre d’ and I were out and about at Turkey Creek several weeks ago when we spotted…it. There it was, sitting in the Wal-Mart parking lot, smugly superior and certain that it owned all it surveyed. It was what may just be the ultimate hooptie, the pinnacle of shitmobile evolution (of course, as everybody knows, evolution is a lie sold by those who would have us worship soulless science instead of the Immortal Robot Reagan). It apparently began its life as a nondescript mid-90s sedan, a boring four-door grocery-getter, before some urban mad scientist got his claws into it and ramped it up to 11. It was a flat black all over, the kind of flat black that comes out of the cheapest cans of spray primer from…well, Wal-Mart. (Not that I would accuse the owner of anything like, you know, buying the primer and not waiting until he got home to paint over the rust spots.) When I say “flat black all over”, I do mean all over…the grille, the wheels, the trim, everything was the same dull black, like someone had attempted to set the car alight for the insurance money but the fire department intervened before the deed was done. That, or perhaps the owner/decorator was wanting to be all sleek and artistic by making his entire car monochrome.

The most distinct feature, however, is its namesake hood ornament. Not a tasteful chromed cobra badge seen on many Mustangs, someone had bolted (or, considering the quality of the paint job, attached with wood glue) to the hood a half-foot-high plastic snake. Like the rest of the car, it was a dull, flat black, blacker than the inside of Satan’s asshole. Resting in the snake’s mouth was the only spot of color on the entire car, a Marlboro cigarette impaled on its fangs. A pair of black fuzzy dice hanging from the rear view mirror added just the right touch of class to the ensemble.

Truly, the Snake Hooptie was a thing to behold. So naturally, I had to take a picture and show the world the wondrous thing we had found at the Turkey Creek Wal-Mart, so that we could hold the owner and creator of this monstrosity up for praise (or maybe ridicule). You have to respect a guy who’s handed a shitty car and completely runs with it. He could have tried to fix the car up to being merely mediocre and nondescript, or even riced it out with a tail wing the size of a coffee table and an exhaust pipe big enough to stuff John Holmes’s wang in, but instead you, Mister Snake Hooptie Man, chose to take a different direction. Instead of spending more on rims than you did on the car, you chose to take this ride to the epitome of low-budget transportation. Hats off to you!

Looking at this car, I can’t help but think that it’s the kind of vehicle Cobra Commander would’ve driven when he was in high school. He was probably picked on for it, too. There’s nothing like being made fun of in high school to mold someone into a failed used car salesman/terrorist mastermind.

Of course, after I took it, the picture sat on my phone for a long time before I bothered to download it to the computer so I could post it. I apologize for the shitty quality, since obviously my phone couldn’t take a good picture if you gave it a $2000 Canon and a week’s training at Olan Mills. Or maybe I’m the one to blame. Maybe my awe of the Snake Hooptie caused my hands to shake too much.

To this day, I’m not sure whether the Snake Hooptie is the greatest thing ever, or a crime against humanity.

About The Chef

The Chef was born 856 years ago on a small planet orbiting a star in the Argolis cluster. It was prophesied that the arrival of a child with a birthmark shaped like a tentacle would herald the planet's destruction. When the future Chef was born with just such a birthmark, panic ensued (this would not be the last time the Chef inspired such emotion). The child, tentacle and all, was loaded into a rocket-powered garbage scow and launched into space. Unfortunately, the rocket's exhaust ignited one of the spectators' flatulence, resulting in a massive explosion that detonated the planet's core, destroying the world and killing everyone on it.

The Chef.
Your host, hero to millions, the Chef.
Oblivious, the dumpster containing the infant Chef sped on. It crashed on a small blue world due to a freakish loophole in the laws of nature that virtually guarantees any object shot randomly into space will always land on Earth. The garbage scow remained buried in the icy wastes of the frozen north until the Chef awoke in 1901. Unfortunately, a passing Norwegian sailor accidentally drove a boat through his head, causing him to go back to sleep for another 23 years.

When the would-be Chef awoke from his torpor, he looked around at the new world he found himself on. His first words were, “Hey, this place sucks." Disguising himself as one of the planet's dominant species of semi-domesticated ape, the being who would become known as the Chef wandered the Earth until he ended up in its most disreputable slum - Paris, France.

Taking a job as a can-can dancer, the young Chef made a living that way until one day one of the cooks at a local bistro fell ill with food poisoning (oh, bitter irony). In a desperate move, the bistro's owner rushed into one of the local dance halls, searching for a replacement. He grabbed the ugliest can-can dancer he could find, and found himself instead with an enterprising (if strange) young man who now decided, based on this random encounter, to only answer to the name “Chef".

His success as a French chef was immediate (but considering that this is a country where frogs and snails are considered delicacies, this may or may not be a significant achievement). Not only was the Chef's food delicious, it also kept down the local homeless population. He rose to the heights of stardom in French cuisine, and started a holy war against the United Kingdom to end the reign of terror British food had inflicted on its citizens.

When the Crimean War broke out around France, the Chef assisted Nikola Tesla and Galileo in perfecting the scanning electron microscope, which was crucial in driving back the oncoming Communist hordes. It would later be said that without the Chef, the war would have been lost. He was personally awarded a Purple Heart by the King of France.

After that, the Chef traveled to America, home of such dubious culinary delights as McDonald's Quarter Pounder With Cheese. He immediately adopted the Third World nation as his new home, seeing it as his job to protect and enlighten it. When the Vietnam War began, he immediately volunteered and served in the Army of the Potomac under Robert E. Lee and General Patton. During the war, the Chef killed dozens of Nazis, most of them with his bare hands.

Marching home from war across the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, stark-naked and freezing, the Chef wound up on the shores of Mexico. He spent several years there, drinking tequila with Pancho Villa and James Dean. He put his culinary skills to the test when he invented the 5,000-calorie Breakfast Chili Burrito With Orange Sauce (which is today still a favorite in some parts of Sonora).

Eventually, the Chef returned to his adopted home of America, where he met a slimy, well-coiffed weasel who was starting up a new kind of buffet - one dedicated to providing the highest-quality unmentionable appetizers to the online community. The Chef dedicated himself to spreading the word of his famous Lard Sandwich (two large patties of fried lard, in between two slices of toasted buttered lard, with bacon and cheese), as well as occasionally writing about his opinions on less-important topics than food.

Every word of this is true, if only in the sense that every word of this exists in the English language.