#2. The Perfect Meal
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As an avid fan of mine, you've no doubt read past columns in which I abused my innards for your amusement. It's true, I am a man devoid of gastronomic shame. You want to visit a far-off land and eat fried bugs? I'll do that shit. You accidentally ordered suicide rolls with our sushi and neglected to tell me? It's cool, I'll eat that, too. It should come as no surprise then that, having sampled culinary triumphs and culinary turds, I am a man who enjoys a good meal.
I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a foodie, because that term is fucking stupid. Never use it, and scorn those who do. Look at them with slightly squinted eyes, and as they speak, keep repeating "douche like-a talky" over and over again in your head until they finish, and then make sure there's a long pause so they wonder why you're just staring at them. That said, I do enjoy food for any number of reasons -- the social aspect of eating with friends, the delight in something either new or familiar, the sensual contrasts in textures, the way it can evoke memories and feelings and the pure enjoyment of flavors from eating something you like. Food is good times.
Doesn't she look satisfied?
Every so often in the life of a man and (I imagine during those moments when I tuck it back and stand in front of the bathroom mirror all damp after a shower and appraise my girlish physique) a woman, you'll find yourself at the center of a perfect storm of both physical and mental trials that have left you battered and bruised, possibly literally, drained and tired and famished. And when you do get to eat, when the dust has settled and you have a moment's peace to yourself, what you eat may just be the most delicious, savory, fantastic meal in your life. It will transcend normal food because of the situation itself. Is the food really more delicious? It may be. But that circumstance is the intangible spice that elevates it to unforgettable. It is your 30 sliders from White Castle at the end of Harold and Kumar, that perfect food moment where you get what you want after so much strife. It's magnificent.
The perfect meal is, by virtue of my description, extremely hard to plan, but you can get close. You can plot out a meal that has that perfect fried chicken you tried on your trip to Florida that one time. The most excellent potato pancakes your grandmother used to make. Those tacos from that little stand on the Mexican Riviera. Some beer, because beer is always delicious (might I recommend a dollar store Grolsch?). Then all you have to do is sit and eat. Maybe naked with a new friend. And goddamn. Goddamn! That's the stuff.
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Does anything feel better than the childish, smug satisfaction of being right? Well, maybe that sex thing I mentioned earlier. But there's something to be said for being right. And not just right, but knowing you're right when others have claimed you are wrong.
Generally speaking, this feels right for all the wrong reasons, or reasons we're told we shouldn't feel good about, anyway. It's you sticking it to someone else, the triumphant "I told you so" feeling that, even if you manage to forgo your inner douche by not explicitly saying it, you still feel it, and it's so sweet.
We've all had at least one moment in life -- whether it's something as small as defeating a know-it-all at Trivial Pursuit or a loftier endeavor such as getting articles about how you attended an orgy published on a major website in spite of your parents' endless assertions that you're awful and no one will ever want to hear about the disgusting things you do in your spare time -- that makes us feel alive. We are the winners. And not just winners: We are the winners after being assured we were losers. That's the edge vindication has over a regular triumph. It's probably great to sleep with a supermodel when you look like Brad Pitt, but if I ever sleep with a super-hot actress, holy shitballs is that going to be a major coup. A better example would be something I've actually done, but you get the idea.
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"Oh Felix, I want to be on a trampoline with you in the shower!"
We tend to overlook the feeling of vindication, except in maybe the legal sense, as something to take pride in. If you go to jail for a crime you didn't commit and then DNA evidence exonerates you 15 years later, that's vindication, but almost a shitty, reverse kind, because while it's probably nice not to have a prison husband anymore, that's still a raw deal. Yet that's the vindication we respect. When you assure a friend that Jean-Claude Van Damme was cast as the original Predator and they argue with you about it and you have to stop what you're doing as your childish argument escalates until you Google it and prove that yes, Jean-Claude Van Damme was the original Predator, you get that same awesome sense of victory, but everyone thinks you're an immature douche for even taking it that far. But inside you still feel good, and that's OK. Because you were right, and someone else had to argue with you based obviously on faulty information and that's why people get so pissed off in this situation. The other person is wrong, and either willingly or not, they're being a dick about it. You setting them straight is your win.
Don't feel bad about your little moments of vindication; just try not to rub them in, because then you are a douche. But if you can be modest in your victory, you take all the pride you can get. That's a fine feeling, and you earned it.