A Happy Meal For These Days

Eating is generally a pleasurable experience.  Carrabbas says, “There is no love more sincere than the love of food.”  Dining out with friends (not as often with family) is a cheerful event, with conversation and company and also, food.  For McDonalds to try and bundle this whole thing up into a box and call it a Happy Meal is sort of pointless.  It’s a meal, it’s happy as it is.

But there are times, sometimes often, where your thoughts are not together, or you’re not feeling particularly social.  Maybe you have no one to be with.  A word comes to mind: melancholy.  When you look up the definition, “melancholy” sounds much more severe than I mean it to be.  So, although Melancholy Meal would be a pretty awesome name, I prefer to just keep it simple and call it SadMeal.

I have two SadMeal restaurants, one for work and one for home.  At work, I go to Long John Silvers.  Part of the reason this is my SadMeal location is that no one would ever go there with me, so I can be assured I’ll be there alone.  The whole “misery loves company” thing is completely bogus.  No one wants to be around a miserable person.

I want to take the opportunity to explain this LJS place I go to.  They are religious.  I mean, they are in-your-face, repent-now, religious.  Some part of me wonders if they chose LJS as a franchise because of the fishing metaphors from the bible.  Another part of me wonders if they are going way too far and that YUM! Brands should maybe have a talk with them.  We’re talking constant preaching radio on the sound system, tracts on the tables, a TV playing cartoon stories from the bible, and more.

So, some might think that if I’m sad and I go to a place that’s highly religious, I should feel comforted.  Isn’t that the point of religion?  To provide comfort?  But that’s not the point of SadMeal.  The point is to eat – alone, with my thoughts.  The religion is just an annoyance.

When I am home, SadMeal is my nearest Subway.  It’s not so much chosen as a place to get away from everyone, like it is at work.  I mean, I can stay at home and feel however I want.  Subway is chosen more of a default when I can’t decide on what I want to eat and nothing sounds like it would cheer me up.  If Subway marketed like Carrabbas, their tagline might be, “Sincerity is for idiots.  Eat this cheap, stale bread and indulge your misery.”  And that is what makes Subway my SadMeal.  It’s self-pity for not being able to choose a better meal.

Back in 15th-century England, you could be hospitalized for melancholy.  Not really hospitalized, but committed to an asylum.  Now, in 21st-century America, you can commit yourself to a meal.  Embrace your emotions and have a SadMeal tonight.

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