As a nation, we have no standards anymore. Things that would have sickened us to the core a generation ago are so commonplace now they hardly raise an eyebrow.
Otherwise decent people will walk into a gas station and buy an egg salad sandwich. The mind reels.
I don’t think I ever thought much about the egg salad sandwiches on offer at the gas station, but it certainly never occurred to me that anybody actually bought them. At least not respectable people who had other options.
Maybe the homeless people who bathed in the bathroom sinks ate them. Which makes no sense, of course. If they had money for food, surely they’d choose something less disgusting. Just because someone has been forced to dumpster dive for their dinner, doesn’t mean they want to play Russian roulette with their lives, given any other choice.
But then a few months ago, my daughter told me that she saw a friend of mine buying egg salad at the gas station. She was horrified. She had always thought highly of that friend and was somewhat taken aback that she could make such a poor life choice.
As was I. Really, how could she do such a thing? It got me to wondering if there were other things about her that I might not know. Scandalous, distasteful things. I mean if I could know someone for ten years and not realize that person was capable of eating gas station egg salad, there had to be any number of other horrifying things I was unaware of.
That got me to thinking about other recent discoveries I have made about people I know. Finding darkness in their hearts that I never knew was there has been very disconcerting.
It’s time we all just take a breath and decide there are some depths to which we will not sink. Some things will just be off limits. There will be some places we just will not go, out of self-preservation if nothing else.
If abstaining from gas station egg salad requires more self-esteem than we collectively possess at this point, we can start with something easier.
How’s gas station sushi for a starting point? Surely we can all agree that going there is a place too far. Our basic human instinct to remain alive should be enough to put gas station sushi off limits. But there it is in the gas station. Hundreds of miles from the sea, in the shadow of a mountain, raw fish that has been dead for goodness knows how long, waiting to bring its payload of bacteria and parasites into your body. That stuff is so nasty a moderately well-fed cat would turn it down.
And yet human beings eat it every day. Or every few days. Who knows how long that it has been lying there in its questionably refrigerated case?
Ideally, sushi should only be eaten when prepared by a skilled, experienced sushi chef working right in front of your eyes, utilizing fish so fresh it could be resuscitated, if desired. You should have as much faith in the expertise of your sushi chef as you have in the cardiac surgeon that cracks open your chest. Both hold your life in their hands.
Gas station sushi does not meet that standard. Let’s all agree on that.
If we can do that, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to agree that gas station sushi is perhaps not the best life choice. After that, it’s not too great a leap to refrain from the dubious pleasures of gas station egg salad.
When we have reached the level of only purchasing food from the gas station that has at least as many preservatives and stabilizers as it has actual food and its destructive capabilities are only in the form of long-term carcinogens and not immediate botulism, then, perhaps, just perhaps, we’re ready to start making better choices in the rest of our lives.
This collective penchant for self-destruction really needs to be dealt with.
Bill Colvard is Lifestyles writer for The Mount Airy News and can be reached at 336-415-4699 or on Twitter @BillColvard.