Everyone’s (Kinda) a Rebel

Dear Reader (Or, as the Woke Manual of Style suggests, “Fully autonomous and self-realized Readxr”), 

During a summer in college, I shared an apartment with a couple friends. One of them—let’s call him Phil—had pretty humble dining habits. One of his favorite “foods” was potted meat. As far as I could tell, potted meat was made from the stuff that wasn’t high enough quality for scrapple. The dead giveaway for me: “Beef lips.” (Still, several years later I would conclude that potted meat is one grade above the “meat” product in the Spicy Jamaican Beef Patties sold at 7-Eleven. I discovered that the real point of Spicy Jamaican Beef Patties wasn’t to soak up the excess alcohol that led you to believe you wanted the product in the first place, but to crowd out the shame for whatever you did while drunk combined with the even greater shame of recalling that you devoured one at 3 a.m.)

We would sometimes give Phil a hard time about his potted meat consumption, particularly when he would leave the crusts of his potted meat and mayo on white bread sandwiches on the bathroom sink with a few cigarette butts stubbed out in the greasy detritus. Anyway, I’ll skip ahead. At one point when he got fed up with our ribbing, he wheeled on us and said, “Listen: Potted meat meets the minimum standards for human consumption set by the FDA!”

Now, in fairness, we were claiming it was inedible, and so his retort was valid in strict debating terms. Still, I always loved his passionate delivery of this defense as if it was saying a great deal, when it was almost literally the least one could say in defense of any food product; “Say what you will about potted meat, sir. At least the government has confirmed through rigorous testing, that humans can eat it with a high probability of avoiding severe bodily harm, volcanic gastrointestinal distress, or death.”

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