Bernhardt: Addicted to pimento cheese

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 27, 2012

I’ve been introduced at dinners and special events as a “local celebrity,” so it’s time I started behaving like one.
We celebrities walk among you all the time. We look like you, and in many ways act like you. In fact, the only real difference between a celebrity and normal everyday Joe is…well, how do I put this?
You have to care about us, but we don’t have to care anything about you.
It sounds blunt, but that’s just the way it is.
We celebrities bask in the glow of our celebrity status, knowing perfectly well that we’re hard at work setting the pace for your humdrum life. Our opinions become your opinions. Our wants and desires become your wants and desires. In short, our very lives become the life you want.
But most importantly, our problems and addictions become the fodder for the bestseller you will purchase that will fund our future problems and addictions.
That said, I am writing this today to confess the addiction that will catapult me to the top of all local celebrities, earn me a spot on a TV talk show — Maury Povich is still working, isn’t he? — and possibly even get me my own telethon.
I am, and have been for years, addicted to pimento cheese.
I can almost hear the audible gasps among you. Who knew?
Yes, I may appear as one of you, but the reality is, while you’ve been enjoying quiet evenings at home with your family, I’ve been out in the underworld, scouring the county for my next pimento cheese fix.
While you’re sitting in your church pew praying for the downtrodden in the world, I’m sitting there wondering how the communion bread would taste with a little pimento cheese on it.
And while you’re sound asleep in your bed at night dreaming of Halle Berry in a French maid’s outfit — OK, that one’s mine — I’m lying there counting containers of McCombs’ pimento cheese just so I can get any sleep at all.
Speaking of McCombs’ pimento cheese, they’re the reason I’m in this hopeless state. I was raised on that homemade blend of heavenly cheeses, and it has followed me through life.
Like the Colonel’s “secret blend of herbs and spices”, only a few living McCombs family members know the exact recipe for the orange ecstasy that has me so firmly in its deathly grip. And they don’t deal kindly with those of us who try to pry it from their grasp.
Late at night, I work on my carefully crafted plan to force my way into their tiny little “cheese lab” in Faith, and hold one of them hostage until they cough up the goods. Then, I’ll grab whatever supply they have on hand…along with a wide assortment of their also delicious chicken and egg salad…and run screaming into the night.
I had no idea just how bad my addiction was until recently, I was sitting at the counter at College Barbecue not long ago waiting for a to-go order when the manager approached me and said he had a question for me.
“How do you like the new pimento cheese we’re using these days?”
“It’s delicious,” I responded. “It has a lighter blend of cheeses and just the right amount of pimento,” I volunteered, giving myself away as an addict. “Why do you ask?”
“Because, frankly you’re about the only one who orders it,” came the reply.
College Barbecue, McCombs, Conrad and Hinkle…they all have me right where they want me. I am a mere cog in the wheel of their giant train of orange death.
I suppose one day I’ll get help. When I do, you’ll know about it from media reports. And of course, I’ll write about it for profit.
Hey, I’m a celebrity. It’s what I do.
Kent Bernhardt lives in Salisbury.