My work buddy Jake cried last night after watching a Doritos commercial. In the commercial, an anthropomorphic Dorito’s spiciness burns down a whole Dorito neighborhood. The other flavors—you know, Cool Ranch, etcetera—exile the spicy Dorito. The commercial ends with the spicy Dorito hitchhiking in the rain, smoldering buildings in the background. Then a sedan pulls up, and a man offers the spicy Dorito a ride. As they drive off, the man eats the spicy Dorito, and that’s when Jake bawled his eyes out.
He told me this while hiding all our Doritos behind the counter. We worked at a Kum & Go gas station, a gas station where he could no longer in good faith sell Doritos.
“At that moment, I was the Dorito,” Jake said, removing the final few bags from the shelves. “The man ate me.”
“It was just a commercial,” I said.
He shrugged like it was something that couldn’t be explained, like you either felt like a Dorito or you didn’t.
The remainder of the day was pretty normal. We had a few customers inquire about the missing Doritos, but Jake just told them they were recalled due to salmonella. How could a corn chip contract salmonella? No one asked.
To pass the time, we played customer matchmaker, which is where Jake or I pick two customers and the other has to come up with a backstory for the couple, what their kids would look like, how they fell in love. After that, Jake told me stories about his time as a member of the Hells Angels. He claimed to have killed a man in Reno just to watch him die, like in that one Johnny Cash song. He claimed a lot of stuff. I had no way to verify any of it. I never saw Jake outside of Kum & Go. I didn’t know where he lived, didn’t even have his phone number. All I knew was what he told me at work, but it was enough to keep me entertained.
When I got off, I watched the Doritos commercial, wanted to see if I was a Dorito, too, but felt nothing. To be sure, I watched it again, this time whispering: “You’re the Dorito. You’re the Dorito.” Still nothing. Then I tried different brands, thought maybe I was another junk food. I watched a Kit Kat commercial where a father stopped his kids from fighting by breaking the candy in half. Nothing. I watched an old woman transform into an all-star athlete after eating a Snickers. Nothing.
My phone rang. It was my boss. He told me Jake had been fired for trying to steal a few cases of Doritos, that I’d have to work tomorrow’s shift alone, and hung up. I started thinking about going in tomorrow by myself, the lights dark, about having to put all those Doritos, all those Jakes, back on the shelves to be eaten. That’s when I realized: Shit, I’m a Dorito, after all, and wept.