Life & Death > Enjoy Every Sandwich

Enjoy Every Sandwich

Published: February 19, 2011

My brother just passed along the title of this story. He is wrestling with a cold that on any given day could turn into something much worse. His mind locked on that quote and he was kind enough to pass it along.

The title is from Warren Zevon. He was on Letterman after being diagnosed with cancer. When Dave asked him if he learned anything new since his diagnosis his answer was "Just that you really should enjoy every sandwich."

The surprising thing about this quote is that is came from a guy. In general, enjoying a sandwich is not a problem for a guy. Sure I get the rap that guys can't multitask. But on the flip side, we can concentrate. Pretty much every sandwich I've ever had has been a fully focused experience. My thought process goes like this "wow this is a great sandwich. I love sandwiches. If I could, I'd enjoy sandwiches every minute of the day. I was born to enjoy sandwiches!"

I had a female friend who came down with cancer a few years back. In the 5 and half months after getting sick, she never enjoyed another sandwich. Up to then, she was a huge fan of my sandwiches. She said her husband made good sandwiches too, but mine were better. I never told her the secret ingredient, but it was a special sauce. Put a little of that in a sandwich, it's going to be, well, something special.

What I've heard from women is that they can't focus near as well on the sandwich as men. They have a 100 things going through their minds. How long will the wrinkle guard on the dryer run? What if the kids come home in the middle of the sandwich? What is that noise? Will this sandwich make me look fat? Did I remember to record Oprah?

With all that going on, I can see the problem focusing. But there are some women who can get past the chatter. From what I understand, most of those women end up in New York. New Yorker's, from what I hear, have more sandwiches than anyone else in America. I don't think that is a coincidence. New Yorkers are also the smartest people in America. They don't need something like cancer to help figure out what matters. They know.

Someone puts a sandwich in front of me, I eat it. I mean unless it if obviously decaying and oozing putrid compost, a sandwich is a sandwich and I'm here to enjoy them, if you get my drift.

I make a pretty good sandwich, or so I've been told. All aspects of the sandwich have been commented on by satisfied customers. A particularly flavorful sandwich invoked a "Wow that was the most intense sandwich I ever had!" Another day I was making those small crust-less finger sandwiches. They were so dainty that a farm girl with a healthy appetite must have gone through 100 of them in an hour "I never knew I could do that!" was her response. I can say I enjoy watching a happy customer enjoy a sandwich.

There has been the genuine heartfelt response to an artistic presentation " That really is a nice sandwich." And even when I get carried away and overdo it I've heard "Yow, I can't believe how big that sandwich is!" But even those formidable feasts are so good that that there is no need for a doggy bag.

The point of this is not that I'm the best sandwich maker out there. There are loads of guys who are making perfectly fine sandwiches day in day out. Some of them have their own shows and a huge following. I'm not trying to stake out the crown of best sandwich maker in the land.

Where I'm going is the puzzling situation that occurs when a sandwich is just left on the plate. I think that is exactly what Warren was getting at. The worst thing that you can do to a sandwich is to refuse it. It is there to be enjoyed. Not tossed down the dumpster. so How do women toss out perfectly good sandwiches? I think it is the 100 things in their heads.

All those 100 things probably seem valid at the time they are walking that sandwich from the table to the garbage disposal. But I really have to wonder how they feel after they hit the switch? Is it remorse for the waste? Power in the destruction? Curiosity as to how good it might have been? Smugness that they overcame temptation?

Or do they have a quiet moment where the 100 voices cease. When they wonder why they didn't move to New York when they had the chance? Why they didn't enjoy all the sandwiches that city has to offer? Not being a woman, I have no idea.

But I'll puzzle that a little more, over lunch.

Any Comments?


» The Cover of the NY Times


Published: September 23, 2012

Saturday, its the equinox, but this has nothing to do with that.

The Pale King

Published: December 28, 2011

A few thoughts on how math and fiction relate.