The Belgians remained, of course, very serious about their fries. A passion and history for the “dish” that led to even the smallest of towns having frietkots (a.k.a. fries shacks). Even more than the Americans, who, like everything else, ripped off another nation’s tradition to commodify it (as ruthlessly revealed by McDonald’s), they valued this staple of their national cuisine. And rightly so, for at least it wasn’t quite so unnatural as the way it was presented in Amérique le Freak. And when a Belgian is called upon to preserve 750,000 tons of potatoes–to save them from potential waste–the government knows they can count on their hearty people to deliver their loyalty and devotion to such a task. To stand up for what’s right by, in short, sitting on their arse and fattening it with fries. In fact, President Charles Michel himself took over the airwaves to tell his countrymen that the very fabric of Belgian culture was at risk of extinction if the residents–especially those of Brussels–did not come through during this time of mass business closure, including the beloved frietkots that seemed to inhabit every corner in every city of misunderstood Belgium.
Moved by his impassioned plea, which he concluded by guzzling his own packet of fries, slathered in mayonnaise, the Belgians rallied to show the world–and especially America–who’s boss when it comes to taking the waste of fries seriously. With the government mandate in place for all households to eat fries at least twice a week, therefore lightening the surplus load presently being stocked by grocery stores, many were going so far as to buy five “portions” worth of fries with every outing. It got to the point where the rules of social distancing were being broken for the sole eruption of anger and competition over someone “stealing” another person’s “rightful” supply before they could get to it–fist fights running rampant in the aisles.
As the supply was snatched up faster than a twenty-something male dancer by Madonna, the president quickly started to realize that perhaps his plan had backfired. And it was all because the secretary general of Belgapom, the potato industry body (not to be confused with a potato body), had pressured him to make an urgent public statement. One that had been taken much too much to heart by his compatriots as they began to shovel in the fries with more gusto than their Belgian lager. The combination of these two titans of the nation’s “cuisine” was serving not only to increase a fervent sense of national pride, but also to increase the overall tonnage of the country’s denizens. What’s worse, the ardency for fries set off another ripple in the supply chain of pickled herring and mussels, which many deemed “essential” accompaniments to any fry-based meal.
Although the president started to insist on implementing more visible ads encouraging Belgians to engage in at least thirty minutes of exercise a day, it was no use. It’s not as though anyone on the deserted streets was going to see such PSAs. Nor were they going to watch TV with commercials when they could simply keep streaming without interruption. The message went over everyone’s increasingly plump heads, with it taking only about two weeks for the bodily shift in the standard carapace to become noticeable. As though each of them had sprouted at least six to ten extra layers of blubberous skin. In some regards, it was merciful they were all forced into lockdown, for it meant the Earth wouldn’t suffer such a detrimental seismic shift. Of the sort that might lead to a disastrous earthquake (who knew what fresh ills Mother Nature would have in store for her unruly leeches?). Instead, Earth was briefly allowed the tranquility and freedom from humans to “recalibrate.” At the same time, if there was no need for a lockdown to begin with, maybe all these people wouldn’t have gained weight only to inevitably be unleashed back on the streets again and commence thumping around like Blunderbore, rattling the realm even more than their already robust Belgian builds did before.
In the meantime, while they’re all waiting for the vaccine that won’t come, the fries are being consumed at an alarming rate, and Charles can’t get Pandora to put what he said back in the box (or fry package). Even if he did have the courage to get behind the podium again and announce a ration on any products with potatoes (i.e. fries), they would never listen to him now. They were hooked. Completely addicted. Like newborn children on the tit ejaculating mother’s milk. Charles wondered if there wasn’t secretly crack being smuggled into the ingredients, for he had never seen a people come together so effusively over a cause. He might expect such enthusiasm over food from the Italians… but the Belgians? It was truly shocking to observe as the weeks wore on and, lo and behold, the potato crisis originally thought to be having an excess transformed into the variety of having a shortage.
All along, he supposed, the real product to focus on ought to have been waffles, which were piling high in factories and on grocery shelves. Not that the effect of its rabid consumption would have caused much of a change in the aftermath of what would be known by a scant few ancestral historians as the Belgian period of sex, fries and quarantine. Unfortunately, the sex category gradually started to fall by the wayside as food was forced to replace it as one’s sole source of pleasure, what with people getting weightier and weightier. Too weighty to be wielded by one another in the acrobatic manner required of even the most basic Kama Sutra position. Even so, it didn’t stop some Belgians from attempting to get “in the mood” by putting on the two-song, Apple Music-suggested playlist of The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and Grimes’ “So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth” before they all died of a collective heart attack instead of COVID-19.