Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Mystery Solved, A Grudge Relinquished

Some of you know about my many ridiculous grammar-based hangups: peeves too petty to explain, futile boycotts, anonymous edits scribbled in anger on innocent restaurant menus. Well, as of Sunday morning, I have one less such hangup. The Sunday Times contained an obituary for Carl N. Karcher, 90, founder of Carl's Jr Hamburger Chain. Carl's Jr, I'm now ashamed to admit, topped my list of hated restaurants not because of its infamous six-dollar burger ($4.19 when it first came out) but because of that irritating and (I thought) just plain wrong apostrophe in its name. Operating on the principle that nobody knows how to use an apostrophe, I figured there was a guy named Carl Jr who owned the restaurant but couldn't be bothered to hire a copy editor. Wrong! Here's the key paragraph from the obit:

"He opened the first Carl's Jr -- named 'Jr.' to distinguish it from his full-service eatery -- in 1956."

Damn. Good old Carl! I take back all those awful things I said about you, buddy. RIP.



  1. Harumph! I know for a fact that I have mentioned that possibility to you before: the possibility that there was an original Carl's Restaurant, and then a smaller offshoot called Carl's Jr., and when the offshoot became more popular than the original, the first Carl's simply faded into history (like, say, the McDonald brothers' first restaurant).

    Next time pay more attention!

    Anyway, what's next on the Hangup Hate List? Ruth's Chris Steakhouse? Or perhaps THIS place I remember in Hollywood:

    Haw haw! You can't win....


    PS: I have a bag of chips in my apartment that was manufactured by a company called "Snak King" — but their motto is "King of Snacks"! WTF, dude? At least be consistent!

  2. Yeah, I knew that was the only possible way Carl's Jr could be a grammatically acceptable name. But I was too pessimistic to believe it (and I'd given up trying to find out the truth long before I knew about wikipedia). I'd also forgotten about that Carl's Jr Jr place! The horror!

    Every time I see the word "snack" (or "snak") I think of Mike Wolfson. :)