About two years ago, a group of us at my office phoned in an order to the Parkway Deli in Silver Spring. This normally fine establishment provides wonderful and fattening lunchtime delicacies of the kosher variety. On this day, however, I was dealt a crushing lunchtime blow. It was an affront from which one does not soon recover. It left me scarred, no, devastated. And hungry.
When the runner arrived with a bagful of greasy delights, I paused for just a moment. I made myself wait just a little longer, anticipating the delicious sweetness of the slow-cooked barbecue beef. Tender and moist, and dripping with succulent sauce, it would surely satisfy my angry belly and arouse my taste buds. But when I finally lifted the lid from the styrofoam carrier, my pleasure quickly turned to horror.
I stared in disbelief at the spectacle you see here. Can this truly be? What horrible, heinous error resulted in my being delivered a beef barbecue sandwich with no beef barbecue? What twisted, or more likely hung over, individual could so callously package an empty roll where a sloppy scoop of saucy stuff should sit?
My Beef Barbecue Sandwich - Perfectly Preserved
I felt myself losing control. A thousand thoughts ran through my mind in less time than I could process even one. There was no rationality, no reason behind this terror. These thoughts ranged from self-flagellation to horrific retaliation, but summoning great strength, I clenched the chair in front of me and the redness began to fade from my vision. Cool now, the rage subsided, I was able to evaluate my lot.
It was too late to go back - from ordering to eating at Parkway is easily a 45 minute full circle. By that time, my stomach would have eaten itself, or regressed into a state of abject starvation, capable only of accepting pea soup. No, that was not an option. But Parkway must pay! There must be balance and order restored to the world of carry-out crudites. No - there is no sense in vengeance, nor is there any lunching. I set that aside.
Luckily, my comrades showed compassion. I was given scraps, halvsies of other's food. It was not beef barbecue. No, it was the likes of turkey and swiss, a shallow substitute, but sustinence nonetheless. And the fries weren't bad either. I perservered, I survived, to lunch another day.
I regret that I did not document the date of this incident. Because I saved the sandwich, exactly as it was delivered to me on that fateful day. It still sits on my bookshelf, a monument to the terrible toll that can result from failing to check your order before leaving with carry out. The date on the receipt, as you can see, gentle reader, has been eradicated from the slowly spreading stain of the butter spread on the bread.
I cannot explain why this "sandwich" has avoided mold, rot and decay, as one would expect of a two-year old food product. Perhaps it is symbolic of the lesson that I have learned - it's stoic survival a reminder that we should never forget the immortal words of Joe Pesci.
They fuck you at the drive through.
Always remember to check your carry-out orders.