Saturday, April 6, 2013
Understanding Republicans Through Pizza
I have always been an independent thinker, and so my political preference is to be associated with no particular party, but to instead be an Independent. I’ve always joked that when my income bracket changes to a much higher one, I would become a Republican. I thought it was all about the money (and it is), but today I got a very simple lesson in an old argument conservatives have been using...and I get it, finally.
Nothing has ever been taken from me since I was a small child (besides the confiscatory taxes Uncle Sam steals from me weekly). So the conservative argument that there is a group of people in America bent on taking something from me has never really resonated. Honestly, I’ve never had much to take anyway (hence waiting until my income bracket climbs significantly before adopting the elephant). All that changed today at lunch.
I wouldn’t have called it a pizza party, cause it wasn’t. Call it a gathering of co-workers to celebrate the service of one leaving the fold. Everyone bought pizza for the occasion, their own pizza. There was no pooling of resources (except we all pitched in to buy the honored guest their meal), no preordained understanding of a shared bounty, just good food...with good company (or so I thought).
Enter the employee with only a salad for lunch, and an appetite far in excess of the abilities of that salad. Understand...I ordered a large pizza, for me. I didn’t order a salad, nor was I responsible for not getting the dressing right in the order to cause said employee distress. Looking at my pizza with a hungry eye can only lead to bad things...but nevertheless, when they asked for a slice of my pizza, I shared a small slice (reluctantly). When they decided they wanted more, and I declined...that’s when I became the room villain.
Now here I am, in America...the land of free choice, choosing to buy a pizza, eat it...and not share anymore of it than I already have. Where did I go wrong? Was it the “being in America” part...or exercising my freedom of choice? Saying I was shocked at the reaction of the room is an understatement...which only grew more hostile as the begging began and the understanding of the word “no” somehow disappeared from English vernacular of the person begging. It got worse when said person asked others for slices of their pizza, got them...ate them, and still turned back to me in hopes that my mindset regarding my food had changed.
Folks...when I tell you the room became hostile, you could cut the disdain with a knife. All directed at me for making a decision about a pizza I bought with my hard earned money. I nearly fell off my chair when someone said “We should take it from him.” Wait...what? Take my pizza from me and give it to the person displeased with their culinary decision simply because after tasting it, they want more? It was at that moment I understood the Republican.
Here I was, eating a pizza I had bought with money I had earned, faced with the machinations of a mob mentality fueled by empathetic feelings for someone that was a victim of their own decisions and circumstance. Then someone said “Aren’t you the guy that goes around the office asking everyone for food?” Of course, I am...and my retort was “Doesn’t everyone have the same choice to exercise the decision I’m making now?” Of course they do.
I even heard “You probably aren’t going to finish that, so you might as well give it up” as if taking my pizza home and finishing it later is some alien idea (I actually think it was). Let me break it down...sharing is an option, not a mandate. Apply that nugget liberally in all aspects of life.
Oh...and now that person vows payback for not sharing more of my food, completely disregarding the fact that I shared at all. Unbelievable...you just can’t make this stuff up.