Open Letter to the Avant-Garde Surrealist Who Made My Lunch
The embroidery on your green polo shirt may proclaim otherwise, but you, sir, are no sandwich artist.
Trust me; I know a thing or two about sandwich artistry. When I was in middle school, I embarked upon what would become a six-year quest to create the Perfect Tuna Sandwich. I had always made tuna sandwiches with tuna, mayo, and maybe a bit of lettuce, but one day I lingered a bit longer than usual in the refrigerator while compiling my ingredients. “Hmm,” I thought, “We sure do have a lot of pickles...”
And so began my journey. Lightly toasted white bread at first, then lightly toasted wheat. Tomato slices. Fresh spinach. Banana peppers. Bacon bits. Jalapenos. Fresh basil. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese. All of this and more in various combinations, depending on what I could find in the fridge that day. My sandwiches became mini-towers, little works of art, with canned tuna fish acting as a blank canvas for my outpouring of culinary creativity. My quest came to an end when I became a vegetarian during my freshman year of college, and, to my eternal regret, I don’t think I ever quite reached my platonic ideal of tuna sandwichry. That said, however, each attempt would be worthy of inclusion in a gallery retrospective. For a brief time, I was a budding artist of the sandwich genre. I was the toast of the sandwich scene.
But, as I’ve already mentioned, you are no artist. For starters, I’m not even entirely sure you’re aware that you’re making a sandwich right now. My untimely entrance into this little Subway shop seems to have interrupted a rather heated discussion you were having with your girlfriend, who is slouching by the register, interrogating you on why you’re sending text messages to Lori Adler while you’re at work. Well, I didn’t really “interrupt” the argument, per se, since “interrupt” implies, well, an interruption of some sort. You two are keeping it hot.
Okay, thanks for squishing my bread flat with your entire weight. That’s great. I never would have thought of that myself, but I guess that’s a pretty good way to make sure all of my big huge veggies fit into that little sandwich. Good going.
Oh, and I’m looking forward to that one bite that’s going to be all pickles. When I said I wanted pickles on my foot-long Veggie Delight, I’m glad you were able to read the nuance of my request and tell that I wanted them all piled up in the middle. Say, you are good.
Woah!! If that’s how much oil and vinegar you put on a sandwich when someone asks for “just a tiny, tiny bit of oil and vinegar,” I’d like to see how much you put on when someone asks for a lot. Or just normally, for that matter.
You know, you could at least pretend to care that 75% of the sandwich fillings have fallen out as you close up the sandwich and wrap it up.
Some artists, like, say, Vincent Van Gogh or Jackson Pollock, can take their emotional turmoil and turn it into stirring works of beauty. You, on the other hand... well... I’d tell you not to quit your day job, but I’ve seen you at your day job and you suck at it. This sandwich, which I’m now giving you $5 of my hard earned money for, looks like it was created by the Pablo Picasso of sandwich artists. All the bits and pieces are there, but they don’t fit together into any conventionally recognizable sandwich form. Maybe you’re a post-structuralist performance artist. Maybe you’re like the Igor Stravinsky of the Brattle Street Subway, and I’m just one of the angry, ignorant critics decrying your culinary Rite of Spring, blind to the complex genius of your sandwich skills.
Maybe. But I can tell you this for certain: tomorrow I’m going to the burrito place down the street. They have a Burrito Rembrandt working the lunch shift.