So here’s the thing.
Sunday, I had to go down to the Hardware Store to pick up some stuff for the apartment. Because I work graveyard, I woke up in the middle of the afternoon. And because there were just a couple of hours of daylight before they closed up, I had to run out of the apartment with just a cup of coffee and two english muffins in my stomach.
Now just across the street from the Hardware store is a Public House called “The Playwright”. I’d been hearing about the place for months and given the choice between getting a quick bite and fainting dead in the street. I opted to give it a shot.
Interior was nice, unpretentious. They had live music. (Bill Leonhart, who I hadn’t seen in ages was playing some tasty Jazz Guitar and I got to play catch up with him for a bit.) And a quick glance at the menu showed a solid selection of your standard pub foods. But what to get?
Chicken wings would have been too spicy. Artisan Bread and Cheese would have too many carbs and fat. Their Bangers and Mash had Blue Cheese in the Mashed Potatoes which, I’m sorry, is just wrong!
In the end,I decided to go with a burger. But given the events of the last few months, I decided to play it safe and instead of a regular hamburger, I ordered a Veggie Burger.
It turned out to be the saddest meal I’ve ever had.
Let me make this clear. It was not badly prepared. As a matter of fact, you could tell that the cooks there had labored to create a high quality food stuff. (And it didn’t come close to enraging me to the level that my earlier brush with veggie bacon did. That stuff almost drove me to go on a tri-state Thrill Kill-o-thon.) Doing their best to create something like a hamburger while blissfully ignoring the fact that there is nothing even remotely burger like in its make-up. It had a pleasing flavor and nicely chewy texture. But mostly, it’s defining feature was it was not an actual hamburger. It was the food equivalent of that first woman you go out with after getting dumped. She may be sweet and charming but in the end, it’s all you can do to not yell out, “WHY ARE YOU NOT HER!”.
A Veggie Burger is a rebound girlfriend and don’t let anyone tell you any different.
Look, I get it. I’m on the downhill slide of forty. My body can’t bounce back from the foods I ate in my twenties and thirties and I need to make adjustments. (Although if Romney wins in November, I may just stock up on everything bad and greasy for me and take myself out like Marcello Mastroianni in “La Grand Bouffe”.)
But I will not for a moment pretend that these adjustments are somehow better than the things I am adjusting from.
I was born an american and as such, I have had my share of hamburgers and I can tell you that there is nothing more purely satisfying as a well cooked slab of ground beef between a bun. Be it a burger at a high-end restaurant, a burger you cook for yourself at home. (Quarter Pound of beef with two dashes of garlic salt. Three strips of freshly cooked bacon. Swiss or Provolone.) or even a Baconator from Wendy’s. And that last one is the nutritional equivalent of nasty butt sex with a crack whore in an alley. You may enjoy it in the moment. But down the line, you know you’re going to need a blood test.
I’ll accept the change but I will mourn for what falls away.
You tell me, “Richard, a Veggie Burger is healthier for you and more sustainable for our planetary resources.”, I will shrug and carry my burden.
But don’t ever tell me that a Veggie Burger is as tasty as a real burger.
Because it’s a filthy lie.
And lies make the Baby Jesus weep.