Adios to An American Legend

Another giant has fallen.  Glen Bell, the founder of Taco Bell, passed away yesterday at the age of 86
After serving in World War II, including fighting in the battles of Guadalcanal and Guam, Glen Bell returned to southern California to operate a series of hot dog stands.  He then graduated to taco stands, eventually launching Taco Bell in 1962 and then selling the franchised chain to Pepsico in 1978 from which it was ultimately spun out as part of Yum Brands.
Bell’s great innovation was the development of the hard-shelled pre-fried tortilla shell.  By cooking the shell in advance in its curved shape, stuffing the taco with ingredients could be mass-produced. 
Like Al Copeland, Glen Bell was a great humanitarian.  He’s not a great humanitarian because he served in World War II, or that he remained married for 54 years, or that he created Bell Gardens as a model farm for teaching “the importance of agriculture and how to preserve our natural resource.”  No, Glen Bell was a great humanitarian because he developed a company that delivers a tasty and very inexpensive food that millions upon millions of people have enjoyed.  As I’ve said before, humanitarians are people who actually do things to improve the human condition, such as offering tasty tacos, rather than the blowhard politician, activist, or former terrorist who more typically receives such honors.
If you don’t believe me that Taco Bell offers something that improves the human condition check out this blog post from last year by a Taco Bell enthusiast commenting on Glen Bell’s “recipes” for success:
#36) Control your growth or it will control you.

If there were a Taco Bell everywhere Taco Bell consumers wanted a Taco Bell, there would be Taco Bells everywhere. All retail space would be occupied by Taco Bell because all matter would be made up of Taco Bell, and the only thought would be Taco Bell because the entire universe, all of existence, would only be Taco Bell. So yeah, for the sake of life on Earth, it’s probably best that Taco Bell’s growth be controlled. Not for the sake of me getting some goddamned Taco Bell in Brooklyn, though.

3 Responses to Adios to An American Legend

  1. Greg Forster says:

    Jay, presumably fighting in Guadalcanal and Guam and building a marriage for 54 years are also humanitarian contributions?

    And what would one call a religion holding that the whole universe is composed of Taco Bell? Panbellism?

  2. You’re right, Greg, that fighting in Guadalcanal and Guam and building a marraige for 54 years are positive contributions to the human condition. But they aren’t particularly unique contributions. There are probably thousands who fought in those battles and have logged long marraiges. Glen Bell’s unique contribution is in providing tasy and cheap tacos to many millions.

    And I think you confuse the blogger’s statement with his preference. He was just stating the fact that Taco Bell is so popular that it would take over all matter and thought if it were not otherwise constrained. He doesn’t worship the Bell as much as he fears it. Of course, one can do both.

  3. Greg Forster says:

    Oh, I wasn’t saying the blogger thought the universe was already entirely composed of Taco Bell. I just wondered, since we were on the subject, what label would you use to describe that view of the universe if it were to happen (or if you just thought it had).

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