Good Stories Don’t Start With Someone Having A SaladPosted: February 4, 2015
Every fall, I catch up with a group of my closest friends. We travel to Florida together to stimulate that state’s economy by hanging around in bars and filling up bartender’s tip jars. No, Florida, you don’t have to thank us. We do it because it is the right thing to do.
Well, we do it for a lot of other reasons too, but that’s what I’m hanging my hat on for now.
Like Many Stories, This One Doesn’t Start With Me Having A Salad
A little over four months ago, we were at it again. It was late in our week away from home, we were enjoying a band and having a good time. One of our group tossed out the question “why do we keep coming to this warm place, listening to this music and drinking beer?”. The question brought a flurry of sarcastic answers like “I don’t know, I think I’m going to fly out early” and “I’m not coming next year”.
And then came the answer that stuck to me like honey mustard dressing does to the front of my shirt – “Because good stories don’t start with someone having a salad”.
I will admit that most of the stories involving this group of friends begin with us going out for drinks and end with someone doing something like wandering the halls of a hotel clad in a leopard print robe*. But I was certain that somewhere, maybe in another group of friends, there had to be a story that began with someone enjoying salad.
I went to the woman who made the salad remark and challenged the concept. This was a foolish idea because I hadn’t thought about it long enough and because I was several drinks into day six of vacation. The battle was short:
“That thing about salads. It can’t be true.”
“It is. Do you know any good stories that start that way?”
“But you know some good stories. You’re even part of some good stories. None of them involve salad.”
“Not even one.”
“Well, there you go.”
I Get My Dander Up. At My Age, That’s An Achievement.
I was defeated by the truth of the salad statement. Even worse, I was defeated by a friend who speaks in italics.
Defeated, but determined that I would prove the salad statement wrong as soon as I could. “I am a writer”, I thought (not in italics), “if there isn’t a good story that starts with someone eating a salad, I will create one when I get back home.”
Today, I am here to admit that it is true that there are not any good stories start with someone eating a salad. None. I have been back home for four months now; I have tried repeatedly to write a tale that starts with a salad. Each attempt has been a failure.
This battle has exhausted the resolve that I felt on that warm Florida afternoon. I’ve tried. I even went so far as to increase my salad consumption so that if something cool happened, I would stumble into being the one guy who had a good salad story. It didn’t work.
Under the guise of what we writers call “doing research”, I’ve expanded the kinds of salads that I’ll eat. I’ve had tossed, Caesars, Waldorfs, and chopped salads. I’ve had my salads with and without grilled chicken. I’ve varied the dressings. Nothing has worked. Fruit salad didn’t help me with character development and the only thing I learned from a wedge salad is that I still don’t like bleu cheese.
Was It Over When The Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor?
I’ve heard that “the pen is mightier than the sword”. It has also been said that “truth is stranger than fiction”. After having taken my pen to battle against the salad (in both the fiction and non-fiction genres) I can say that the salad is more powerful than truth or fiction.
Salad has defeated me in this battle. But the war still rages.
I will prevail.
*hypothetically speaking, of course