Bodega Food

        Being new here, I'm learning a thing or two about life in Brooklyn. You might not have known this, but all five boroughs of NYC run on Boar's Head deli meat. There's no contest, let alone another option. Half the trucks you see driving through the neighborhoods, with the emblematic hog logo emblazoned on their boxy flank are actually part of a "charcuterie task force" that violently enforces the Boar's Head meat monopoly. 

It's all but impossible to find an alternative, and at first this was somewhat unsettling. Not because I had any doubts about our benevolent meat overlords, simply that I had no other choice. But as my pearly chompers penetrated my first official hero as a New Yorker, my concerns were quickly abated and I started walking at a brisk pace for no reason, avoiding eye contact with everyone. 

What followed was a blissful bodega induced blur. Sandwich after sandwich. Roast beef, turkey, ham, eggs, chef's choice*. Roll, hero, roll, hero. I was in heaven when I was gobbling up one of these ubiquitous Boar's Head sandwiches, and when I wasn't I was obsessing over them. Counting the hours until it could be considered socially acceptable to consume another.  It was an incredible period in my life. Those, indeed, were the days.

It's fitting, though. The apple in the pig's mouth. That you see adorn many a table, in your mind's eye. On a platter served to you and your guests. At first glance you're in awe of the feast, antsy to begin devouring what's in front of you. Until you lift the veil. You begin to see a different picture. The Big Apple, the city itself, clenched tightly in the teeth of a vicious beast. The insidious global cartel known to the public only as Boar's Head.

Upon waking up to the grave nature of the situation I frantically scavenged the streets in search of a deli that served alternative meats. After searching what could be objectively considered a "long time," a promising and clean-seeming shop called "24 HR Deli: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Condoms, Razors, Blunt-wraps and More!" emerged. 

I stumbled through the doors, haggard and unshaven after my seemingly endless search. I made my way to the counter and used the secret phrase as to inquire about their potential use of third party protein. "You guys got a copy of Univeral Picture's feature film, "Babe" starring the Academy Award nominated actor James Cromwell?" 

The man behind the counter suddenly became shifty and agitated. "What the fuck are you talking about. Get out of here! Get Out!" 

"Hold on, hold on," I pleaded. I searched my mind for another way to make known I was an ally, and not a pig. I blurted out "SQUEALS THE DEAL!!" suddenly remembering another key-phrase I'd heard a comrade speak aloud only hours earlier in a subway bathroom stall next to me, between his other more disturbing noises. 

The face of the owner suddenly calmed. He motioned me over to the glass case. "What can I do for you my brother?"

"I gotta get away from the "hog," man." I said shaking. "Gimme a hero of your best turkey slammwich. Slide some mayo on that with some onions, lil bit of oil and vinegar, some lettuce, tomatoes, salt, pe... "

"Woah, hold up there big boy. You got quite an appetite, don't you? Okay, alright... I've got you..." 

For a few minutes, the man disappears into the back. I was starting to get anxious. "Maybe I shouldn't be here," I thought. I stood in the store, hunched over with stomach pains from hunger. I hadn't eaten in, what must have been, 2 hours.

After a while, he came out from the back with a long cylinder wrapped in white butcher paper. 

"Five dollars," he said.  

I paid up and got out of there. I was all but sprinting to get home so I could eat this thing in privacy.

I sat down at my kitchen table and I took a breath. 

As my teeth sank into this subversive sandwich, I started to weep. I couldn't even taste it. I'd blown out my tastebuds on the Boar's Head stuff. The intense flavor enhancers in their meat has been known to damage the tongues of their consumers, but only in extreme cases of abnormally high consumption. I never thought it would happen to me.

But it did...

Fast forward to today, and you might be surprised to hear that there's a juicy Boar's Head Premium Meats TM sandwich sitting right next to me as I scribe this story. And two more in the fridge.

Yeah, that's right.

Turns out my numb- tongue disorder only flares up when I'm eating lower quality, non-Boar's Head meats.

And you know what, I'm happy. I didn't need so many choices, anyway. I'm taking the blue pill. It just goes down so easily, doesn't it? Besides, high quality and consistency is the Boar's Head promise to us all. For what more can we we ask?

I've seen the err of my ways, I'm repenting and, while I'm at it, I'm heading down to my nearest local deli to get a sandwich made with Boar's Head Premium meats and cheeses TM.