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The Times
  • Frank Talk: Food for thought

  • It’s time to ring in the New Year with that innovative, passively interactive column aptly titled, “Did this conversation actually take place?”

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  • It’s time to ring in the New Year with that innovative, passively interactive column aptly titled, “Did this conversation actually take place?”
    It’s an apt appellation because you, the person avidly poring over this text, must discern whether the chat below is an actual conversation’s verbatim recitation, is partially contrived, or is entirely the product of a mind with a grip on reality that is far from vise-like. 
    The scene is an office somewhere in the continental United States. A man is seated at his desk. He seems wracked with remorse. A co-worker approaches his cubicle. Now it’s up to you, intrepid prose ingester. Did the following conversation actually take place?
    Co-worker: Gee, Frank. You seem wracked with remorse.
    Man at desk: I am. Remorse is really wracking the heck out of me.
    Co-worker: That’s unfortunate, old chum. Just what sort of remorse is wracking you, if that’s not too personal a question?
    Man at desk: No, it’s not too personal. I’ve made a mistake but I’m willing to share the details with others in order that humankind might benefit in some small way.
    Co-worker: Well, what is it that’s ratcheting up the old remorse level?
    Man at desk: It’s a remorse as old as communal bonfires, the thrill of the successful hunt, and ordering take-out over the phone. I have a food remorse. Specifically, a lunch remorse.
    Co-worker: Sounds serious.
    Man at desk: It is, trusted friend. It is.
    Co-worker: How did it happen, if I may be so bold?
    Man at desk: Well, as lunchtime approached, I weighed various alternatives. One such alternative was a salad with fat free dressing purchased from a salad bar at the local supermarket. A second possibility was a tuna sandwich with tomatoes and onions from the deli down the street - with a bag of potato chips. It’s imperative to have potato chips with a tuna sandwich.
    Co-worker: Any fool knows that.
    Man at desk: But then, there was the third alternative.
    Co-worker: Yes?
    Man at desk: The L9 Chinese lunch special featuring beef with mushrooms, fried rice, chicken fingers and a choice of egg roll, spring roll, crab Rangoon, chicken wings, fried shrimp, boneless spear ribs, beef or chicken teriyaki.
    Co-worker: Oh, my God!
    Man at desk: Yes, it’s a heavy lunch but somehow I convinced myself that it wasn’t too bad, that I’d eat a light supper. Damn my rationalizations! I not only added the crab Rangoon to the special, I ordered a small beef teriyaki on the side. Then I came back here and ate and ate and ate till not a single grain of fried rice was left.
    Page 2 of 2 - Co-worker: And now you feel lunch remorse?
    Man at desk: Yes, I feel lunch remorse. I also feel like I’ve swallowed a Spalding NBA street basketball, whole.
    Co-worker: Well, look. You have a chance at redemption. Simply eat that light dinner, and your outlook on life will once again be cheery and bright.
    Man at desk: True, but they’ve got a really good dinner special at that Chinese place.
    Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media New England’s Plymouth office, and can be reached at fmulligan@wickedlocal.com.
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