THE DEATH OF HAM AND CHEESE
( I wrote this during my time in Southern California, when repeated use of certain foods in my sandwiches was gradually wearing me down. Have some compassion. Please.)
Every morning I make ham and cheese sandwiches. I’ve made so many of them now I think I may be responsible for the world actually running out of ham and cheese. In fact, within the next few days I expect to see news stories in which reporters will stand outside supermarkets clutching their microphones, reporting on the story that is ‘rocking’ the food world. Ham and cheese have finally run out. There is no more ham or cheese in the world. The source of the disappearance of these food stuffs has been tracked down to a house in Southern California and I will be accosted leaving my home in the morning with my cooler containing the last ham and cheese in the world. There will be scuffles as reporters ask threatening questions such as “How does it feel to be responsible for decimating two industries that gave employment to millions?” There might even be a talk show appearance for me. I will look Oprah in the eye and do my best to feign genuine remorse as I explain that I simply didn’t have much imagination when it came to filling my sandwiches and as time wore on, I didn’t make the effort to use other fillings. The tuna remained on the shelf and the other lunchmeats stayed in the fridge. My consumption became an obsession, a habit I simply couldn’t break. I will plead with the camera that it really wasn’t my fault but I will know that it was, that I could have prevented the vicious cycle of repetitive eating that was putting thousands of companies out of business. I should have known that the world’s providers could never keep up, that my need for ham and cheese was inexhaustible.
I will return home and find my home daubed with graffiti. Pig Hater, Cow terrorist, that kind of thing. But no one will sympathise with me. They will only think of their own losses. They will think only of the lost baked ham for Thanksgiving or the pizzas that will never again be topped with cheese. But they will forget. They will forget me in my loss as I rise tomorrow and open the fridge, knowing that I must think of something else to put between my two slices of bread.
Some have heard that I like tuna. Already I have heard that fishermen are making their way to my home to put up barricades. Unless I can learn to vary my diet, my life may become intolerable. So from tomorrow I will do my best. I will do my best to stock my refrigerator with different kinds of sandwich fillings. I will do my best to change.
For my sake. For the sake of the world.