Over the weekend, I saw a bulletin on the television that changed my life. It was during the Thunder / Lakers game, so eloquently narrated by Mike Breen from Oklahoma City, framing every weak side rebound of Serge Ibaka’s like it was an exhibit of Mark Bradford’s, peeling away our notions of what is possible, unique in American art today, a critical pastiche of hand-grasping-leather-grasping-soul. Focused in a tight frame, the beaming young woman in this bulletin declared that Truth had been found.
That truth was that Taco Bell was selling the Crunchwrap Supreme for 88 cents this week.
To quote the two-time BAFTA award-winning performer Cate Blanchett, “That’s gross.” But more acutely, I have a dark secret and that is my former life’s undying love of Crunchwrap Supreme. In my youth, I endeavored to the next town over every few weeks and became captivated by the alluring flavor, the smoky, brittle texture and aroma of one of Yum! Brands' signature dishes. I became nothing less than its slave. Fortunately, times have changed and now I can eat better than garbage. Despite the appeal of ordering one with no sour cream add Baja sauce, I can take no solace in what was my existence in these lost years.
Similar to my old life, the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers used to enjoy the signature flavors of Mike Bibby and Troy Murphy. But in what could be described in nothing less than a curse, these gifted individuals lost the zest, the unique deniability that made their performances such a fan’s gift for years. Murphy, hobbled beyond his youth by magnificent hair and an ability to spread the floor, was sent to New Jersey in the off-season, then Oakland last week. In Atlanta, Bibby always kind of aggressively sucked and was sent to Washington to suffer the gruesome fate of playing behind John Wall and definitely having May and June off.
One must beg the question, on the subject of both Murphy/Bibby and Crunchwrap Supreme: why did we enjoy such hollow pleasurable experiences to begin with?
Troy Murphy was a “double-double machine” in his halcyon days, but now he seems washed up, maybe without redemption. On a team like this year's Celtics, he won’t garner as many minutes as he probably desires at age 30 – and he has clearly struggled with a reserve role with the Nets this season to the tune of 34% shooting. It’s not like the Nets have the same caliber of talent, but if Avery Johnson believed in Murphy’s ability when he was coaching him, he probably would’ve given him more playing time than Fouls League champ Derrick Favors.
On the other hand, Bibby is the very definition of depraved: his four-year vacation in Georgia, with a concentration on his last two years of steady decline, was a Caligulean marvel of contract over talent. The hubs of Delta Airlines, Al Horford and Josh Smith deserved a reprieve this spring, in the form of Bibby suffering in a backup position on a lottery team while the formidable extremities of Atlanta sprinted towards a playoff run.
So when the Heat and Celtics battle for the gifts of these sorrowed men, what can we imagine as the negotiations between general managers go down and the playing begins? Imagine the crowds at Taco Bell this week, with a seemingly-elite item being provided as a loss-leader at a hell of a price. Imagine the waste of time everybody will be fighting for, for this limited time only! Imagine the hands of a person behind the counter of a chain restaurant making a Crunchwrap Supreme… forever.
Negative Dunkalectics co-founder Chris Sampson can be found on Twitter, as well as his occasionally updated but completely weird podcast, and also appreciating the deals on fresh produce at his neighborhood grocery store.(Click here to read more Negative Dunkalectics!)