Double Down: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Pulmonary Embolism

I walked up to the counter, glanced at the menu board to make sure it was actually up there, and placed my order. “I’m gonna have to try the Double Down Combo.” I fully expected the cashier to give me a funny look, or at least punch me squarely in the face for even considering eating such an atrocity, but she didn’t. She typed in my order — a KFC Double Down combo (the Original Recipe, not the grilled version) with macaroni and cheese instead of potato wedges. (Why macaroni and cheese? Well, I figure if you’re gonna do something like this, you may as well do the hell out of it.) My order came to $7.19 in total ($7.83 after tax), which isn’t too bad considering I was about to check one of my life’s goals off the list.

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The order came rather quickly. It couldn’t have been more than two minutes between getting my receipt and picking up the food. I fully expected them to put on radiation suits and carry out my Double Down with a pair of giant science tongs, but they didn’t. A young woman simply placed a tray on the counter, called “Number 2172!” and left it at that. At first, I thought they brought me the wrong item. The box was so small and harmless, I couldn’t imagine such a thin shell could hold the mighty girth of this meatheap.

I went to fill my medium-size cup with some cold Dr. Pepper and… damn! Nothing but carbonated water. On a side note, how come restaurants always run out of beverage syrup, but never the carbonated water? What I wouldn’t give — just once — to know what it felt like to drink a 22 oz. cup of pure Dr. Pepper syrup. Diabetes schmiabetes.

Balancing my newly-acquired death tray between by waist and the counter, I filled my cup with Pepsi and grabbed a straw. I found a table where I wouldn’t draw much attention and sat down. I didn’t just need to eat this meatheap, I needed to document it.

In retrospect, I bet I looked pretty weird sitting there hunched over a KFC tray with a dSLR camera trying to take a picture of a sandwich meatheap terrible, terrible idea. But I didn’t care.

As I opened the box for the first time, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking at. I had seen pictures of the Double Down online, but I was looking at something that looked strangely different. Foreign. I had seen all these components before — cheese, bacon, boneless chicken strips — but never in quite this particular configuration.

A lone piece of lettuce sat at the bottom of the box. Perhaps a castaway trying to escape life imprisonment in a chicken kitchen, or maybe just a stray piece of junk stuck to the cook’s gloves that worked its way loose on my meal. Who knows? Either way, it’s the little touches like this that make fast food experiences memorable.

Inside the box, the Double Down was safely nestled in a wax-paper style wrapper which I assume is designed for one-handed eating. Or, at the very least, to obscure from others the view of the awful thing you’re munching on. Judging by the amount of grease on the outside of the paper, I pretty much abandoned all hope of making it out of there with clean hands. I accepted that fact and separated the meatheap from its wrapper.

Part III: Easier said than done…


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