Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Could Lead to British Motorcycle Gangs

Do you remember when the United States and Canada were gripped by Satanic Panic?

That's the name given to the overblown hysteria adults had in the 1980s over heavy metal music, Ouija boards, and Dungeons & Dragons turning teenagers into bloodthirsty, rampaging Satanists.

There were rumors, tall tales, and urban legends about Satanic cults around the world sacrificing animals, stealing babies, and summoning demons in woods and abandoned barns.

There was a round barn outside my hometown of Muncie, Indiana that was rumored to have been a favorite location of a local witches' coven. Some friends and I snuck into the barn one summer night and looked for evidence of a dark summoning, like a pentagram drawn on the floor.

We didn't find anything. Not a single drop of blood, sacrificial dagger, or brimstone scorch.

The problem with Satanic Panic?

None of it was real.

It was nothing more than wild rumors spread by frightened parents, panicky church leaders, and overzealous police departments who would warn anyone and everyone about the signs your teenager was a practicing Satanist.

There were no sacrifices, no baby abductions, no murders of blonde white girls. If only had been around then, we could have nipped this right in the Beelze-bud.

I was reminded of Satanic Panic after reading a British news story about what I now call the Grilled Cheese Unease.

The Bristol, England city council is worried that grilled cheese sandwiches — called "cheese toasties" in the UK — will lead to juvenile delinquency in a place called Monk's Park. So they denied a permit to a food truck owner who wanted to sell toasties in the park.

The city, which is about two-and-a-half hours west of London, has previously allowed the unnamed food truck to sell ice cream and coffee for years, but this year, they drew a line in the sand when it came to warm sandwiches.

Their fear? That toasties will cause young people to "terrorize" locals, after several years of peace and calm from the last time they removed an unsavory element from Monk's Park.

Bristol city councillor Claire Hiscott told the Bristol Post that the sandwiches could "lure" nearby students into ducking out of school for a tasty toasty.

"It’s right next to Orchard School, which is a challenging school that sometimes has a problem with keeping kids in school," Hiscott said, who apparently likes saying "school." "The lure of a food concession may encourage kids to take a little walk. The school has made a lot of effort to encourage healthy eating. We have problems with childhood obesity."

School truancy notwithstanding, it sounds like a little walk is what these kids need.

I'll avoid the easy joke that if the schools served better food, they wouldn't be tempted by a truck sandwich. Besides, don't kids like ice cream? Is the ice cream so terrible that they would rather stay in school than eat it? God help Bristol if a fish and chips shop opens up nearby; anarchy and chaos will rule the land.

But truancy isn't the only issue the Bristol city council is worried about. Hiscott and her fellow councillors believe that the cheese sandwiches will lead to teenage alcohol consumption and motorcycle gangs.

Hiscott said, "Historically we had antisocial behavior, not just motorbikes, from young adults gathering with alcohol and causing a disturbance."

Another resident wrote in that "We have had motorcycle problems with youths terrorizing young families."

Translation: Grilled cheese sandwiches cause motorcycle gangs. Next they'll be spray painting graffiti with Cheez Whiz and having West Side Story style gang fights with hot dogs.

In the comments section on the Bristol Post website — which, I have to say, were far more polite than any comments section I've ever seen — one person said, "Anything that prevents littering and idiots riding stolen bikes around without any fear of being punished is a good thing."

Listen, England, I know you have a history of anti-social behavior and violence, what with your soccer hooligans and the whole punk rock scene, but I don't think you quite understand how mayhem works.

Cheese sandwiches don't make people steal motorcycles anymore than a corn dog makes you punch someone in the face.

Except now I'm fixated on the idea of a grilled cheese sandwich becoming a gateway drug to more hardcore truck foods, which will turn Bristol into a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah.

Cheese sandwiches will lead to a meatball sub, which can only lead to freebasing French fries, until your precious baby is strung out on street tacos and pizza-by-the-slice. And they'll listen to the devil's music by bands like Meatloaf, T-Bone Walker, and Phish.

Learn the warning signs to tell whether your child has succumbed to the evils of food truck sandwiches and has been caught up in the great Grilled Cheese Unease that's sweeping the nation.

Photo credit: Maggie Hoffman (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

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