Wednesday, June 28, 2006

sandwich kings, sandwich queens

O long afternoon, O office light, by fiber of file folder and grey grain of ceiling tile, you try us. You try our souls. You try on our souls and walk off with them. But then Schmutzie calls.


Schmutzie: How are things working out in the new job?

Palinode: (confidential and dull), but even better than that are the coffee breaks. All the analysts and coordinators go the Sears cafeteria for their breaks.

Schmutzie: Why the Sears cafeteria?

Palinode: Partly because civil servants gravitate towards weak crappy coffee and cafeteria-style restaurants. It satisfies an urge to queue. And because you can get there by a series of second story walkways and thereby avoid the hideous direct sunlight.

Schmutzie: Do they have a plethora of food items?

Palinode: A plethora, of course. But what's really weird is the fact that the ham and cheese sandwiches are the most expensive sandwiches they've got.

Schmutzie: But that makes no sense.

Palinode: Exactly!

Schmutzie: What kinda twisted logic are they working on?

Palinode: I've taken the opportunity to suss it out. Sears cafeteria sandwiches exist in a strict three-tiered heirarchy based on ingredients. Would you like details?

Schmutzie: I would appreciate your cogent sandwich heirarchy analysis.

Palinode: Oh yeah. At the lowest tier, the peasantry of the sandwich world, squat the egg salad and the cheese sandwich, generously gifted with margarine. Note that these are not strictly meat but meat byproducts, attempts by animals to generate and nourish. They are diverted in their attempts by human industry. Condemned by their failure, they cower between slices of bread and endure the squalor that naturally accompanies their lot. You follow me so far?

Schmutzie: I do. Please tell me about the next tier.

Palinode: The second tier of sandwiches represent the merchants, artisans and early sandwich capitalists. Or something. They are distinctly and proudly primary protein. Roast beef, chicken salad, turkey breast. But here's the weird thing.

Schmutzie: Something's different than weird here?

Palinode: On the top tier, the $4 elite of sandwiches, two sandwiches, king and queen, reign both. One is salmon, plutonian lord of long-chain fatty acids. The other is ham and cheese.

Schmutzie: A ham and cheese sandwich cost four bucks. That's ridiculous.

Palinode: Now we see the brute arithmetic of sandwich society. Cheese is at level 1. Ham is at level 2. 1 plus 2 naturally equals 3, therefore ham and cheese is the queen of all sandwiches.

Schmutzie: And salmon is king.

Palinode: Of course. Do you think they'd be ruled by two queens? Sandwich society is pretty conservative.


Anonymous said...

Upon eating a salmon sandwich: "The sandwich is dead. Long live the sandwich!"

Good luck moving. I'm moving on Saturday as well, and (as the cool kids say) it suxx0r liek woah. One of my coping mechanisms is, incidentally, liberal consumption of ice cream sandwiches. I actually consider the ice cream sandwich -- the old-school kind with squishy/melty vanilla ice cream between two chocolate-cakey slabs that stick to your fingers -- to be the true king of sandwiches. Its form and filling transcend all other earthly sandwiches.

I believe this is considered treason in the Sears cafeteria, and makes me a heretic.

It also makes me very fat, unless the stress and heavy lifting of moving manage to compensate for an average of three ice cream sandies per day.


Lynn said...

I love how you capture the natural, easy conversations you and Schmutzie have. It's all just so real. ;)

palinode said...

I strive for realism in my writing and surrealism in my everyday life.

Chris said...

There's always me and all 400 lbs of the Murtha twins, but I think your only talking about sandwiches that actually don't make you lose your appetite.

palinode said...

Whereas the sandwich you described did precisely that.

My Head Is Too Big said...

If I were a tiny, invisible gnome,
I would take up permanent residence in the middle of those dialogues. I would have tiny, invisible snacks and an itty bitty pint. I would christen my new home

palinode said...

We all crunkin' in the Schmutzinode. Dah Schmutzinode, oh yeah dah Schmutzinode. Oh yeah crunk it.

This is a test to see if my comments are working properly. No actual crunkin' was attempted.

maarmie said...

First of all, what the fuck is a crunk?

Second of all, I got the goods. I am a fellow civil servant and have scoped out the sandwich price situation in our cafeteria. It appears we, too, have three pricing tiers. On the low end at $3.09 are the veggie and egg salad sandwiches. Egg salad gets a bum rap everywhere, it seems. In the middle is sweet slice ham (includes cheese) and low-fat turkey for $4.09. Our king of sandwiches, ringing up at a whopping $4.59, in buffalo chicken and cajun roast beef. I've only had the chicken salad. It's quite tasty and moderately priced. And I've gotten sick off it only once! BONUS!

mathew said...

crunk is a way of life, (wo)man!

how much is a hamburger at the sears cafeteria? does that not fall into the sandwich category? also, how much is a bologne sandwich? it does not consist of meat, by anyone's standards, so i am perplexed by this. perhaps the sears cafeteria is as well and has decided to leave it off their menu.

leahpeah said...

i love the way that Schmutzie talks in your world. i wish i could go around talking like that all the time.

blackbird said...

but what of the lowly wrap?
or focaccia?

wait, Sears?

forget it.