A hamburger's not a hamburger when it has cheese

When I order a hamburger in a restaurant or in my car at a drive-through joint, and tell the employee exactly what I want on my burger, I am often asked: "Would you like cheese on that?"

My first thought is to say, "No, because then, see, it wouldn't be a hamburger. It would be a cheeseburger, which you have right there on the menu, just below 'hamburger.' I ordered a hamburger."

But I don't because that would be rude, and they might put something worse than cheese on my hamburger. I just say, "No, thank you."

I never order ketchup on a hamburger, either, because I like ketchupburgers even less than cheeseburgers.

Ketchup is fine on french fries, and perhaps a couple of other foods -- though the only one I can think of at the moment is onion rings, but onion rings are just french fries from a different mother.

Cheese, on the other hand, is good on just about everything; in fact, it is one of the Four Major Food Groups that flavor every product in the store: cheese, onion, lemon, garlic and jalapeño. OK, Five Major Food Groups.

Cheese and ketchup simply have to learn their place. They are not made for my hamburgers.

When I was a kid, I saw a cartoon that showed a customer in a roadside diner reading a big menu behind the counter listing dozens of burgers: cheeseburger, steakburger, fishburger, chickenburger, vealburger -- on and on. The short-order cook tells the customer, "We have one made with ham, too, but we don't know what to call it."

It's a sad day when you can't tell it like it is because people will misconstrue it. (There's a whole discussion here, or perhaps argument, but let's get back to the subject, which is something to do with words.)

All of this came to mind because as I was shaving one morning I heard mention of a meteorologist on the news.

Now, you and I know that a meteorologist is really a weatherman, or weatherwoman, or, in days of old, a weather girl. It is a person who studies the weather.

But if that's the case, I asked my razor, then what do you call someone who studies meteors?

"An astronomer?" my razor said.

For that matter, I rambled on, why do they say someone had a "meteoric rise," when meteors fall to Earth and don't soar upward?

I'm sure it has to do with brilliance, not direction, but "rise" is all wrong.

A meteor isn't even a meteor all the time. Before it falls into the atmosphere as a bright light, it is a rock floating in space called a meteoroid. Later, if it doesn't burn up on the way down, it becomes a meteorite.

That reminded me of food again. These days you can order "french fries" that are baked instead of fried so they're better for you. French bakes? What's next? A cheeseburger that has no beef?

"They already have that," my razor said. "It's called a cheese sandwich."

More

Moore: Halloween is scarier when you’re meeting a car with only one headlight

Today is Halloween, and if it's like most other years at the Moore castle, there will be few villagers clanging on our door demanding treats, else... Read more

Bob Dylan won Nobel for literature, but he could have taken them all

After singer-songwriter Bob Dylan earned the Nobel Prize for Literature, some people questioned whether folk music, rock, the blues and all the... Read more