Yet another look into fingers

Strange things grab a hold of my interest.

Oh, we can all get sidetracked or intrigued by things we wouldn’t be able to explain to another living soul, but some oddities honestly grab hold of my cerebral steering wheel and crash my conscious into a brick wall. You get distracted or go off on tangents because you see a dog making amorous advances towards a mollusk? That’s nothing.

I actually ... no, that would be pretty cool. I once saw a chicken balancing on one leg on top of a stump while ...

But I digress.

Let me give you a more recent example. One day last month, while alternating between Paris Hilton and real-time scores from the Mongolian Backgammon League during a surfing trip on the Internet, I stumbled across a news story that piqued my interest. A woman reported she had a rather unfortunate incident while dining at a San Jose, Calif. restaurant.

Having spent a few years myself living in the heart of Silicon Valley, I eagerly read on to discover what restaurant she didn’t enjoy, and what the snooty waiter no doubt said to her in response.

One line into the story I realized there would be no snooty waiter retort: The woman’s experience transpired in a Wendy’s.

Two lines in I discovered her gripe: She found a human finger in her bowl of chili.

I can honestly say I never went through that experience while dining out in San Jose. Oh, I gave a thumbs-down to some of the meals at a few of the over-priced establishments in town, and I flashed some fancy one-finger salutes to the neo-hippies who took exception to the fact that I was eating meat, but that was pretty much the extent of my experiences with fingers at San Jose restaurants.

A finger? In her chili?

Needless to say, this little nugget has danced around in my mind on a fairly regular basis. I overheard two people at a restaurant one day talking about the special ingredients in their respective barbecue sauces. Can you guess what I was thinking?

I heard Susan Lyons one day, overwhelmed by her workload, saying she felt like she was falling apart. Want to hazard a guess on what thought raced through my mind?

It’s been haunting me, like the memories of my Aunt Kate and I making fudge one Christmas Eve and the first time I heard Carolyn Fitz sing out loud.

On Wednesday, however, I decided to put the spirits to rest and check up on the progress of that poor lady with the phalanges in her chili.

Well, well. According to Reuters, the woman was recently arrested in her hometown of Las Vegas in connection with the event. She has been charged with attempted grand theft for the damage inflicted upon Wendy’s by her accusation.

That’s right, police believe the woman, Anna Ayala, planted the chili in her finger. Or, make that, planted the finger in her chili. Sorry, I was so thrown by this story I got a little confused.

According to police, none of the employees at the Wendy’s in question were missing any fingers, and an investigation into the suppliers for the restaurant has ruled out any industrial accidents. Also, according to Reuter’s, Ayala is suspected of conning a San Jose area woman out of $11,000.

This is what’s been keeping me up at night? This is what’s been keeping me away from chili for a month? I hate this woman. I hate her, and I hate her and I hate her.

I loathe her.

However, as my dysfunctional mind began to race with this new revelation in the case, a different line of thought took over. She brought a finger in with her and placed it into a bowl of chili? What, did she wrap it up in something, place it in her purse and then practice her anguished reaction on the car ride there? And, probably even more important, um, where did the finger come from?

Disgusted, I hit another link during my Google search and happened upon a new little story of interest. I’m not really sure how to best explain this one, so I’ll just give you the opening account in an Associated Press story on the German incident.

“More than 1,000 toads have puffed up and exploded in a Hamburg pond in recent weeks, and scientists still have no explanation for what’s causing the combustion, an official said Wednesday.”


Put the finger chili on the back burner, for I have found my new source of mental gymnastics. Exploding frogs. Yes, it’s horrifying to imagine, and should result in more nightmares over the coming weeks.

But, come on, we’re talking about exploding frogs here.

And, you can’t beat how the AP story ends:

“In the meantime, city residents have been warned to stay away from the pond.”

You think?