Sunday, February 26, 2012

No Sub-stitute

There comes a time in every man’s life when he needs to eat several thick slices of meat and cheese between a cylindrical bread roll, topped by lettuce, onions and mayo (or possibly spicy mustard or horseradish depending on his mood). In my part of the country we call this concoction a “sub”, short for “submarine sandwich”. Other areas of the country called them hoagies, grinders, heroes, wedges, rockets, torpedoes, Poor Boys, Po’ Boys, blimpies, etc.

I stopped at a local grocery store on the way to work one day last week to pick up one of these delicious meat missiles for lunch and was shocked, shocked I tell you, at the price. This sub was around 6 inches in length and from the outside through the plastic wrapper appeared to have the normal ingredients for an Italian sub. The price, however, told me it must be something special.

Six dollars. Six pictures of George Washington, or 1 picture of Abraham Lincoln AND a picture of George Washington, all for some bread stuffed with meat, cheese, lettuce, onions and tomato.

I studied the ham searching for flecks of gold. Surely the salami must have been shat out by some rare mountain lion in the hills of Argentina. I scoured the cheese for an autograph of the great cheese maker Luigi Provolone. Was the lettuce actually shredded $100 bills? Perhaps the onions were shavings of pearl. The bread had a sheen as if it had been sprayed in sterling silver. There had to be something that made it worth $6 when just six months ago I was paying $4.

I know, you’re saying try buying one in a big metropolitan area where they’re $35.50 and a vial of O + blood. But I live in a small town. I work a small job. I have a small bank account. I just wanted a small sub.

I don’t remember what I had for lunch that day, but it wasn’t the delicious sandwich I had dreamed of. I believe the paltry sum in my wallet bought some kind of low rent TV dinner that was definitely “lean” with not much “cuisine”. Oh well, my desire for fine luncheon meats and cheeses will have to wait for better days.

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