How sweet it was 


I worry about you. I really do. Often have I defended Orlando to metropolitan types who view us as a tropical Hooterville, but I'm starting to wonder if they're right. Shutting down a perfectly good orgy palace. Not demanding light rail. And then there was the appalling lack of support for pie.

Last week the American Pie Council put on its annual pie-tasting event at the Tupperware Center, where for $5 you could stuff your piehole with enough sugar to give every ant in the world diabetes. When we saw the conference tables bejeweled with pastries, it was like one of those near-death experiences where the one that got away floats out of their body, watches the doctor botch their surgery and heads for The Light. We were in heaven.

And yet there were empty spaces in the parking lot when we got there on Sunday afternoon. The thing was only slightly better attended than "Ben-Hur." Where was everybody? Like you had something more interesting to do than eat pastry until your teeth turned black and fell out.

Well, more for us.

After three pieces and some worry that we wouldn't make it all the way around the table, I suggested to my friend Gwen that we try bulimia. It has been on my "to do" list for just ages, and this seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime. I know, though, that deep down I couldn't do it. I'm too possessive to be bulimic.

But we found something better in the bathroom when a disembodied voice in a neighboring stall ricocheted off the shiny tiles. "I ate 10 pieces of pie," it said. Wow, we thought, she must be huge. When we got to see the woman with the admirable appetite, she turned out to be so petite that either one of us could have thrown her in our purses and stolen her. Bitch.

She did give us a tip, though: Go out and come back so you could get hungry all over again. See how you can pick up good things in the toilet without getting arrested?

Sugar rush

Upon our return, we noticed a contest for best pie decorating. An art contest! You had your typical realist works, then others that were exemplary head-scratching surrealism. One with just some random cookies placed around the pie and some chocolate globbered on it was titled "Math." Someone else had rendered a bloodshot eye ... in pie. We decided to lay our crumby plates down and write "Minimalist Pie" on them.

The pie table beckoned, as did the thought, "What could we do to get kicked out of here?" We were, after all, pretty drunk, having ingested sugar at a rate that warranted a Ritalin drip as a chaser.

As we moved toward our fifth piece, I threatened to tackle an old biddy who was going for the same slice of chocolate cream that I was. By the sixth piece, we decided to eat the art pies. By the eighth piece I tried to get Gwen to wear a pipe-cleaner mustache and demand a judgeship. But it wasn't until the 10th that our pièce de résistance presented itself. Nearly having reached our lofty 11-piece goal, Gwen turned to me with a complete poker face and said, "I'm sick of this. Let's go get something to eat."

A slice of life

I don't remember the 11th piece. I do know that between us we tried peach, pumpkin, two mixed berries, apple caramel, apple cheesecake, chocolate cream, Key lime, lemon meringue, coconut custard, blueberry and pecan. My favorite was the Sara Lee apple caramel. Gwen liked a berry thing, also by Sara Lee, called "fruits of the forest." Which reminds me, it was announced recently that Robin Hood was definitely gay. Maid Marion was probably just a beard.

We did leave, but not before a little more art appreciation. In front of the Tupperware complex is a giant Tupperware sculpture. Not a sculpture of a giant piece of Tupperware, which would be cool and which would have a burp that would register on the Richter scale. This is made from pieces of Tupperware, opalescent, silver and blue, guarded by a rope of silver Tupperware cups. It looks like a two-story Spin Pop or something that didn't make the cut to be in Tomorrowland but tried its darndest.

As we sat there, basking in the late-day sun on the shores of Lake Tupperware (a drainage ditch, probably) and admiring the sculpture, a security guard came and told us we had to leave the property. It wasn't as though we tried to put the thing in the dishwasher or put a red sauce in the sculpture that would stain it forever.

At any rate, we got kicked out after we joked about getting kicked out, so be careful what you wish for, or you just might get it. If we are not barred for life we will come back next year, only this time we will bring every PMS-ing woman we can find and see if we can't get a pie riot to break out.

You should really think about not having anything better to do when this thing returns. Life is sweet, but it helps to add a lot of sugar.


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