On the Exegesis of the Soul Or: Why I Love Beef Stick [The Ryan Dixon Line]...

INTRODUCTION TO THE 2012 EDITION “May I try a free sample?” After speaking those six simple words, the ritual would always be the same: A smiling gray-haired clerk at a Hickory Farms Christmas stand in one of the many Western Pennsylvania malls I visited during my childhood would poke a toothpick into a delicately cut square of meat, hand it to me and the door to paradise would open… I love Hickory Farms Beef Stick. Like that Christmas Eve story Grandpa always told that became longer and more convoluted as the years went on, the time has once again arrived for my ever-growing annual holiday column on Hickory Farms Beef Stick (or, as it’s unfortunately known now, “Summer Sausage”). If George Lucas can give us approximately 18,281 Special Editions of Star Wars, there’s no reason why I can’t write an additional hundred words or so each year, expanding on the joys and sorrows experienced while eating the greatest of the great American foods. (Attention conspiracy theorists: Just because I’ve written and spoken at length about my McRib addiction and am now once more delving into a hagiography of Hickory Farms Beef Stick does not mean that I’m on the American Meat Institute’s payroll. Of course, if anyone from the American Meat Institute is reading this post, I would actually very much like to be on the payroll. Feel free to tweet me up at @ryanbdixon.) And so, dear readers, Fierce and Nerdy is proud to present: ON THE EXEGESIS OF THE SOUL OR: WHY I LOVE BEEF STICK: REVISED and EXPANDED EDITION with a SLIGHTLY NEW, or more accurately, NEWLY REVISED INTRODUCTION (Which You Just Read) and a BRAND NEW (And Very Tragic) EPILOGUE 1: BEEF STICK, LORD OF THE MEMORY PALACE There is...