Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Leavitt Has Lame But Loyal Last Meal

Richard Leavitt was executed in Idaho this morning, and his last meal was almost as snooze-inducing as the lethal injection he received. Idaho prisoners can only choose from items on the prison's standard menu, so Leavitt picked baked chicken, French fries, and milk.

Yes, it's a meal you'd expect to find on a middle-school lunch menu. Yes, it could have been the dinner served at one of those events where people are offered a "free meal" if they'll sit through a four-hour timeshare pitch. But while it might have been bland, it was also a sign of fierce loyalty.

In Idaho, the potato is more than just a tasty side dish; it's also a way of life. Outsiders might not realize it, but state law demands that every human being (and certain domesticated animals) consume some form of potato at every meal. Whether mashed, fried, scalloped, stuffed, or boiled, the homely but tasty vegetable must be present at every dining opportunity. And the risk for breaking this sacred covenant? At best, a visit from an unsmiling member of the Idaho Potato Commission. At worst, you're rudely awakened at 2AM to find members of the radical jackboot-wearing People's Spud Brigade hurling Russets and Yukon Golds through your windows.

By ordering French fries as part of his last meal, Leavitt paid homage to Idaho's unwavering--and somewhat frightening--potatomania.

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