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OPINIONS 101: Death Tolls at Denny's and Other Dining Distractions

March 18, 2006

Denny's has been making headlines lately, unfortunately, none of them for the food. Here's a smattering of what's in the news...

Denny’s Discontinues “Den Meals”

In the wake of three separate incidents this week that spread across the state of California like butter over a hot croissant and have left a trail of dead and wounded, Denny’s restaurant chain has announced it will discontinue its popular children’s menu, Den Meals.

During a press conference held Friday at its corporate headquarters in Saint Paul, MN, a spokesperson for the chain stated, "In hindsight it was probably a bad idea to offer a kid’s meal that included a working firearm and armor-piercing freedom fries, but, you know, that's why God created erasers for pencils." NRA spokesman Charlton Heston voiced disapproval and referred to Denny’s management as a cadre of "damn, dirty Apes." Heston later vowed to "part the Pacific Ocean" in protest. When asked to return the uneaten portion of his Den Meal, the gun crusader remarked, "You can have my Den Meal when you can pry it from my cold, dead fingers." Rising to the challenge of this declaration, Denny’s managers throughout California have vowed to kill Heston within the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile, several women proclaiming themselves "Den mothers" have joined with Heston and, in addition, are declaring that Denny’s popular Soylent line of dinner entrees is, in fact, "made from people." Denny’s has denied the allegation.

Denny's Announces Price Restructuring

It appears that the killings that occurred across three separate California Denny's restaurants this week are but a precursor to what may soon be an even greater tragedy.

Talking this week with reporters via webex, Denny's spokesman Montague Blanque advised consumers to expect to pay more for their favorite Denny's concoctions in the coming months. "As sad as these shootings are, I think the real tragedy is the impact that this will have on John Q. Public."

Because of anticipated and costly lawsuits against the corporation, Denny's anticipates a ten- to twenty-percent global increase in its menu prices. Additionally, several of its less-popular entrées, including the Mushroom Cloud Burger, the Mushroom Cloud Burger with cheese, and the Waffles of Mass Destruction are likely to be discontinued by year's end. A local Denny's manager, upon hearing the news, remarked, "thank God; we never could find the ingredients for those waffles."

The restaurant also plans to cut costs by substituting the half-and-half currently used with "expired half-and-half found in McDonald's dumpsters."

Denny's will, however, continue to serve its Support Our Troops salad. "It's hugely popular," San Francisco waitress Andie Abelson remarked, describing the salad as "a large bowl, filled with whatever's lying around the kitchen. Seems Americans'll eat anything in the name of patriotism once it's covered with ranch dressing."

News of the impending changes resulted in a flurry of activity on Wall Street this week as shares in the corporation dropped an average of seventeen percent. NYSE analyst Shelley Murdough was not surprised. "It's to be expected," a teary-eyed Murdough told reporters. "You can't expect to simply uproot WMDs from your menu and not take a financial beating."

Denny's Announces "Bring Your Firearm to Work" Day

Following a series of shootings at several Denny's restaurants across California, a corporate spokesperson for the firm announced the much-anticipated "Bring Your Firearm to Work" day. Mirroring white-collar America's popular "Bring Your Daughter to Work" day, all Denny's personnel are invited to bring a handgun, shotgun, or other type of firearm to work on April 3. "We believe this plan serves two purposes," Jose Riveria, night-manager of an Orange County Denny's told reporters. "First, it gives our employees a sense of empowerment and confidence that they lack without a sidearm. Second, you're less likely to have some jackass complain about his Moon Over My Hammy if the waitress is packing heat."

It appears that handguns and Denny's employees make strange bedfellows. A recent USA TODAY poll found that 99.8% of all Denny's employees own one or more firearms, and 99.6% are card-carrying members of the NRA.

Employee morale was unchanged by the announcement. "The fact is," Anaheim Denny's chef Karl Fitzgerald stated, "we're always packing. If we're not supposed to be armed, God wouldn't have made guns now would he?"

If the anticipated event proves popular, Denny's plans to resurrect it randomly and is already planning its first annual "Pop a Cap in Yer Ass" customer appreciation day.

So Long, Jerry Lewis

Denny's announced today it will be removing from all its stores the plastic Muscular Dystrophy donation boxes found at the checkout area next to cash registers. "We have the utmost respect for Jerry Lewis," Laura Pekarni, a Denny's spokeswoman declared. "Heck, I've seen THE DELICATE DELINQUENT half-a-dozen times and it still busts me up. But the truth is there's a group of persons whose straits are more dire than those of Jerry's kids." Those persons, Pekarni attests, are Denny's own staffers.

Thus, beginning April 14, consumers can expect to see Denny's Kids plastic donation boxes in all restaurants. "We're a family," Denny's manager Manuel Lopez stated, "and our waiters an' waitresses are our kids. Won't you help our kids?" All monies collected through Denny's Kids will be used toward the purchase of Kevlar aprons to be distributed to wait and bus staff.

Denny's is presently in negotiations with the WB Network to produce a 48-hour Labor Day telethon to raise funds as well as promote national awareness on this dilemma; Martin Laurence, fresh off a promotional tour for Max-Lax diarrhea aids, is reportedly "begging" to emcee.

Denny's Announces "Hollywood, In Memoriam" Menu

In an announcement that resulted in wild upswing of its sinking stock, Denny's has unveiled a new line of entrées entitled "Hollywood, In Memoriam."

"We are saddened by the recent loss of several great actors and we wish to honor their memory the best way possible--by offering the pubic a chance to taste what we believe best encapsulates their legacies."

Final menus are still to be announced; however, tentative plans are as follows:

Saturday Night Mystery Meal: An homage to the late Dennis Weaver whose exploits as the horse-riding detective, McCloud, once ruled the television airwaves and whose portrayal of a David Mann, in Steven Speilberg's DUEL, made everyone afraid to drive cars.

The Toast and Mr. Chicken: This meal, an homage to the late Don Knotts, features a full roasted chicken served over toasted white bread. Includes Denny's Apple Dumpling Gang Sundae topped with Mayberry RFDs (re-fried donuts).

The Night Snacker: Darren McGavin would certainly be turning over in his grave with glee were he to learn of his honorarium. Available only between midnight and 3:00 a.m., it features a compendium of frighteningly fried snacks and devilish desserts, all served in a straw hat with a seersucker napkin.

Other celebrity menu items are to be announced. Asked if it plans to honor the victims of the recent shootings, Denny's replied, "at the current time Denny's policy is to only honor recently deceased actors or ventriloquists. While Denny's mourns the loss of these individuals,to our knowledge, none of the shooting victims have appeared in productions outside of community theater; they were not SAG members and were not skilled in the art of ventriloquism, although it did appear from the security cameras that one of the surviving victims was quite skilled at mime.
Bush to Denny's: We'll be Back

President Bush encouraged Americans to remain calm and to continue eating at Denny's. "In these times of trial and tribulation, we must not allow the acts of terrorists to keep us from our basic freedoms. Denny's serves the best chicken-fried steak I've ever had, an' I think of it as a 'Freedom Steak' because, in many other nations, the evil-doers conspire to keep honest, hardworking people from coating their steaks in chicken breading because they hate freedom, be it baked, broiled, or chicken-fried. They can't stand freedom and they can't stand what we stand for, which is, the freedom to bread what we want when we want. And that's what my administration is all about."

Cheney's Whereabouts Confirmed

"I haven't shot a man in the face in 35 days, and I'm sort'a proud of that fact," Dick Cheney declared yesterday during a press conference held at the headquarters of an unnamed militia in Montana.

Cheney was initially suspected of at least one of the recent California Denny's shootings when a victim was identified as a friend of the Vice-President's--87-year-old Whit Harrington. Sheriff's deputies recalled that it was only last month when another "friend" of Cheney's, 78-year-old Harry Whittington, received a face full of hot-southern death at the hands of unlicensed hunter Cheney during a fun-filled Saturday afternoon quail kill-fest.

America is still haunted by Cheney's words, "I shot my friend," which he uttered during last month's national televised confession. But today, as the Vice-President spoke from the bunker, sporting a pair of Survival Boy fatigues and a Denny's lobster bib, his alibi was confirmed, and his whereabouts during the recent shootings verified by militia president, George W. Bush.

"We were both here," Bush attested, while stepping out of the bunker hot-tub and wiping the grease of chicken-fried steak from his camouflage speedo, adding, "and my intelligence tells me that Iran is responsible for these attacks. Therefore, I am calling on my fellow Americans to support a pre-emptive strike on Tehran. How ya'll like that name, anyway? Tehran. Sounds like 'terror' to me, don't it?"

Representatives from Tehran were unavailable for comment at press time.

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