Give Me Mayonnaise, or Give Me Death!

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I once saw an old friend flip his top over a free sandwich he’d been given at work. As I sat down and bit into my dry peanut butter only sham of a sandwich, my friend had descended into madness and curses about the fact that someone dared use Miracle Whip as a condiment.

My eyes opened wide to take in what was surely the greatest overreaction ever witnessed by anyone. My friend, a very intelligent and level headed man, had gone bananas because he’d accidentally ingested Miracle Whip, the most foul of dressings.

Having been raised in a household where mayonnaise didn’t exist, I was struck with immense laughter and amusement. “Patrick,” I said, “there’s no difference between mayonnaise and Miracle Whip. They’re the same damn thing.”

My words only fueled his wrath as he then schooled me on the differences between the two. Technically, I learned, they share many of the same ingredients, but differ largely in the quantities of said ingredients. I also learned that Miracle Whip’s cheaper price tag helped it surge in popularity during the Great Depression.

Shocked, I watched my friend, that had no other food to eat that day, throw away the rest of the sandwich as he yelled about the garbage can being the only good place for Miracle Whip.

It wouldn’t be but another few years until I’d make the switch from Miracle Whip to Hellman’s Mayonnaise myself because, as it turns out, my wife also had a predisposition towards mayo.

I say all of this because this morning I found myself making a sandwich for lunch and was out of mayonnaise. In my fridge I found an unexpired jar of Miracle Whip. My wife told me that it was used long ago as an ingredient in some food recipe she’d made for a potluck. I dragged the tip of my finger into the dressing and tasted it. My body convulsed at the nastiness and I remembered my dear friend, Patrick.

I immediately threw the rest of the jar where all trash goes, into the garbage. That’s the only possible place an abomination of that caliber should be. An affront to sensible people with any modicum of good taste.

So I’ll be eating my ham and cheese sandwich with no condiments today. I do have standards to live by. Give me mayonnaise, or give me dry sandwich!

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Lunch With My Brother’s Killer

It’s a very odd feeling, staring into the eyes of the man responsible for killing your brother. It’s odd hearing him talk when my brother no longer can, but there I was, sitting across from an 86 year old man at Arbys, listening to him tell me about the accident.

I’d invited Donald out to lunch after much of the legal mess had settled in the wake of Phil’s death. I had a yearning to meet him. I didn’t want to berate him or yell at him. I just wanted some peace by meeting him. Some morsel of closure.

You see, Donald never reached out to me or my family after Phil died. He didn’t send a card or show up in person to apologize. He never gave the police any regards to send or called on the phone. Nothing. It was my longing to see if he’d gone through any pain that urged me to call him. I wanted to know if he felt remorse. Had he cried? Did he lose sleep?

He was already at a table when I showed up. He stood up to greet me and I gave him a big hug. I told him I loved him and appreciated his meeting me for lunch.

He told me how very sorry he was. How it was his fault. He asked me if Phil had any kids. He cried.

I told him about how funny Phil was. That he was my very best friend and was deeply loyal. I told him about Phil’s high intelligence and how much he truly loved serving people. I told him how happy I was that his death was instant. Surprisingly, I didn’t cry.

At the end of our lunch I thanked him again for meeting with me. He thanked me profusely for calling and inviting him out. We hugged and said goodbye and then I left.

I sat in my car in silence for about 30 minutes trying to digest what had just transpired. I felt no different. I didn’t feel any release or closure. All I felt was emptiness at what had just took place. I’m still glad I took the initiative to meet him, but I’m not really sure why.

I guess that Donald was probably the last person Phil ever saw and I felt I owed it to my brother to see him with my own eyes. To be someone to tell Donald how this earth is less of a place without Phil in it.

I guess I just miss my brother.