Wednesday, November 16, 2011


"Why don't you marry it?"

That's what my first grade enemies used to ask me when I said, "I love ham," in the cafeteria at Federal Street South Elementary School. Every boy in my class was named either Kyle or Josh, and they all seemed to believe that ham was stupid and that love meant marriage (also, that pegging me with a red rubber ball at the red brick wall was the tops).

Now, let me be honest. If I ever did marry a lunchmeat, I'd choose, without reservations, to be pronounced man-and-ham. It's the superior coldcut: salty enough to be familiar; pink enough to seem exotically highbrow.

And I think ham would really get me, you know? Like, we'd make a connection and figure out this crazy-thing-called-life----together. And anyway, I always go for just-under-the-radar attachments. None of that trendy stuff for this guy. I didn't love the prom queen. I don't love turkey. I'm a ham guy.

Quick pause for today's ham-handed half-fact: some people apparently prefer ham that comes from the left leg of a pig--the sinister side--reasoning that a pig scratches itself with its right leg, making that meat tougher. I've always heard, though, that the more an animal's muscle is used, the tastier it is. Not only am I a ham guy, then. I'm a right-legged ham guy, all the way.

So why don't I marry the right leg of a ham?

Maybe I will. What do you think of that, Josh? (That always seemed to shut 'em up).

But besides all of the above, I'm really more interested in why these Kyles taunted ham so hard, or, really, why they taunted love so hard. Let's think about "Why don't you marry it?" as a logical retort, shall we?

The comeback--remember when having a good comeback was pretty much the most important thing, and remember that you probably haven't thought about comebacks for most of the rest of your life?--is obviously meant to insult. You love something? Gross. Then why don't you marry it?

Maybe I was being subtly shamed for having a feeling about anything. Anyway, their mild bullying seemed a little loaded, like they were teasing me for being a sissy, like they were hamophobic.

But if I can be so bold, it seems like these Joshes really had a problem with linguistic inauthenticity, like they were calling me on my pigshit.

Dear sir, I say, I question your so-called "love" for this pork product
(they'd make air quotes with their fish-sticky hands). I believe you to be exaggerating, and it stands to reason that if you "loved" ham as you claim, you'd most certainly want to marry it. Since you don't, I presume, want to marry it--ham--you must not "love" it. I'll thank you to be more precise with your diction. Point for me, what?

First of all, that's clearly a fallacy, Kyle. You love your mom and, even though you're a momma's boy, you don't want to marry her. So, it's clear that one can love someone or something without that love leading to marriage. Second, what you don't understand, Josh, is that, like the many and splendoured varieties of ham, there, too, are many and splendoured varieties of love, and that "love," in this particular cafeteria milieu, is metonymic for "strong preference." I, then, have a strong preference for ham.

Why couldn't I have thought of that then? "Strong preference" would have been a great comeback.

But if I had a "strong preference" for ham then why,
they might have countered, wouldn't I marry it?

Touche. (Those Kyles had me at every turn).

Luckily, even though my feelings were always a tiny bit hurt by their ham-slams, I had my sandwich to soothe me. One slice, on white bread, American Cheese and Animal Crackers.

And I did, in the end, marry a ham.

The best revenge is living well, and revenge is a dish best served coldcut. So pardon me while I enjoy my second ham sandwich of the day.

And, in summation: bite me, Josh.

1 comment:

Joe said...

Dave, after the ham wedding, will you marry me next?

Still making me LOL after all these years.

Also, when are my residuals going to kick in for being the official Dr. True Weatherman six years running? I refuse to forecast another sprinkle until then . . .