August 22, 2013
World’s Greatest Hamburger
My brother will be surprised to know this post is about him—especially since it’s not a tribute to his death.
How did this come about, you ask? I was reading a book and, about halfway through, the author described yet another character with superlatives. I thought about it and realized that the book was rife with superlatives. Everyone was the prettiest, or strongest, or best at something. You can only read about “the best” once or twice before it loses its impact. Before long you’ll be glossing over the best and it will have no meaning. If you have four female characters who are all the most beautiful women in the world you begin to wonder about the person rating them.
So I decided to write about superlatives, but then I realized that to make my point I had to talk about my brother. Needless to say it ruined my
night, week, month.
My brother is one of the most (superlative) enthusiastic people I know. He gets excited about movies, books, coffee, dogs, even people. But he reserves a special spot in his heart for hamburgers. I have heard him complain about a movie—once. I once noticed him making a sour face after sipping from a foul cup of coffee, and I have even witnessed him scowl at a nasty looking burrito, but…
He Has Never Met A Burger He Didn’t Like Love
I tried explaining to Chris that there had to be degrees to liking a burger. Not every one can be a five-star meal.
- Some burgers you might like because you’re starving—so hungry that grass soup would taste good.
- Other burgers might fall into the “good” category. I’d go back there and eat again, but it’s not my first choice.
- Only a few should be categorized as the great ones. The burgers you would drive across town to get. The real five-star burgers.
This logic doesn’t sink in with Chris. He nods his head when I tell him, but with the next breath he’s telling me about yet another phenomenal burger. I’ve come to conclude that the hamburger joints should join forces and pay my brother for his services because, if you didn’t know him, he is so convincing that you’d probably go out right then and buy a burger.
And yes, he will talk to strangers about it. Chris is not shy. If you were standing in line with him and someone mentioned burger or even if he caught a whiff of a burger wafting over from a restaurant across the street—that would be enough to get him started. And trust me, once he’s started, there is no stopping him. He can describe a hamburger in such detail that even if you just ate, you’d find yourself hungry again. Even when you know it’s a lie, or at least an exaggeration, you’d still be tempted.
What Does This Have To Do With Writing?
The next time you’re writing a scene, or describing a character, think hard before you name them the best, or prettiest, or strongest, or fastest, or describe them or something they do with any superlative. Instead, let their actions or other characters’ reactions do the job for you.
For those of you who tuned in to get a list of the world’s greatest hamburger joints—I didn’t have time to attach a link because there are 362 places on Chris’ list. Besides, I have to hurry up. He just told me about a new place that has the absolute best burger in the whole damn world!!!!
He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 45 loving “friends.”