The other day, we had some friends over for lunch. Somewhere among the conversation, laughter, and food, it suddenly occured to me that there is a grave injustice in our society. One which has gone unnoticed and unresolved for far too long. Every day, hundreds of men, women, and children are put in a horrible dilemma where there simply is no right course of action. Each of the two options has a negative outcome, and the victim of this Sophie’s Choice cannot help but suffer as he or she debilitates: Do I take the last party snack on the tray or do I leave it for others to eat?
For generations, we have taught our children that taking the last cocktail weiner or the last cheese cube is an odorous act, second in transgression only to murder or accidentally taping over your mom’s recordings of “The Bachelor”. We are ingrained from a young age to hesitate when we see that ultimate pizza roll sitting there alone, and to think “surely someone else must want it.” In this manner, that lonely party snack often goes unconsumed for long stretches of time while each partygoer agonizes separately for minutes on end over the ethics of snagging that singular tasty morsel. When hunger or depravity finally does induce someone to discreetly grab and consume the party treat, he or she is instantly scapegoated into being “that guy” or “that gal“; you know, the one who was so rude as to take the last snack. Even our basic fight-or-flight response can’t help us in this abhorrent situation – “fight” results in social ostracization and “flight” leads us down a dark path of hunger and shame.
But worst of all is that throughout all this, the real culprit in this travesty has gone unpunished, almost certainly unnoticed and probably full and happy. Only one person is responsible for the terrible dilemma of the ultimate snack, and it’s time we brought to a swift and terrible justice the consumer of the penultimate snack.
You know this to be true: there are a dozen snacks left, and nobody thinks twice about taking one or even two. Down to half a dozen, and suddenly people start becoming conscious of the finiteness of snack distribution, but still nobody pays a second thought to grabbing one. At some point, at some crucial junction, somebody makes the decision to take the second-to-last snack. He helps himself to that carrot stick, walks away glibly, and spares nary a thought to the devastation he has just wrought upon society. Doubtless he hardly even realizes what he has done. Only in the aftermath of his decision does the full weight of it come to bear. He has just set some poor sap up to be sacrificed on an altar made of carrot sticks and ranch dip without a second glance.
Brothers and sisters, it’s time we stood up for our compatriots and fellow food enthusiasts. The next time you’re at a party and there’s only enough guacamole for one, remember that it’s not the eventual consumer of that tasty avocado dip that deserves your wrath, but the nefarious snacker who put the whole party in that catch-22 situation. Let’s all do our part to end this cycle of wrath; I for one pledge from this day forth that if I ever see two snacks left on a tray, I will do my civic duty, take a hit for the team and consume both of them. It’s hard work, but somebody’s got to do it.