Opinion

Captivated by sizzling fajitas in Federal Way | Andy Hobbs

All eyes in the restaurant stare at the sizzling fajitas. The searing meat and greasy fumes grab everyone by the nose, ears and eyes for a few intense seconds. Some diners second-guess whether they should have ordered the chicken fajitas instead of the chicken chimichanga, reluctantly accepting that it’s too late to join the sizzling fanfare.

The luckiest eater in the restaurant, at that moment, is the one who ordered the chicken fajitas. The full-on smoke and caramelized sizzle assault all the senses at once. Stray microdrops of hot grease prick the arms and face, branding the meal’s grilled scent on anything nearby.

Of course, the sizzle quickly fizzles. Those few seconds of sizzle captivated diners just as quickly as they forgot about it. Left behind is a hot skillet of chicken fajitas for the hungry customer who then fills up and forgets the sizzle too.

The love for all that sizzles goes beyond food: Politics, news, sex, gossip, cars, TV, sports, music, art. Sizzling is now, not then. Sizzling rides the moment like a mustang. The length of this moment could be seconds or years, but whatever sizzles will be loved for its sizzle until it fizzles. Sizzle is the style that dresses up the substance.

Some celebrities, leaders and controversies sizzle for a lifetime. The sizzling is earned, not inherited. The sizzle may come naturally, but requires maintenance and rekindling like a campfire at the North Pole.

Pop culture icon Andy Warhol’s legendary “15 minutes of fame” expression from the 1960s proved eerily prophetic: Today’s mainstream media manufactures more short-lived sizzle, whether through reality television personalities or sensational hoaxes. The media drives sizzle while sizzle drives the media.

Sizzle does not necessarily mean trivial, but rather what it takes to hold public attention. Consider the recent earthquake in Haiti, which sizzles for humanitarian relief workers despite not sizzling hot enough to stay on the media’s A-list.

In Federal Way, the 2010 elections are already sizzling. Legislature races aside, the chief sizzler is the city’s first mayoral election. The more candidates who come forward, the more the issue heats up toward a logical boiling point in November.

Every election’s sizzle will fizzle the morning after. Fortunately, behind the Federal Way mayoral election’s sizzle is plenty of substance that will stay warm long after most people have moved on to the next meal.

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