The Great Guacamole Missile Crisis Part II
Author’s Note: This is the 2nd Part to a two part on series. For the background, read Part 1.
50 years ago, the world watched and waited anxiously as two superpowers stared each other down. Military Forces were put on alert. Diplomats haggled. Politicians anxiously eyed half morbid\half cute red telephones and Hollywood directors prepared to receive endless material for future movie clichés as the world witnessed the Cuban Missile Crisis. A few weeks ago, I wrote about “The Great Guacamole Missile Crisis”, and even I, your hardly humble author, didn’t know that it was the 50th Anniversary of the crisis until after I posted. The coincidence felt…uncanny, deadly, morbid and strangely…Faustian…actually it was hardly Faustian at all, but I like utilizing a prolific vocabulary even when it doesn’t make much sense. The tension was felt all over the world during the brief, terrifying moments that soon became infamous in history as “The Cuban Missile Crisis”. However, if you can imagine the fear of that day, or if you can remember it…imagine if it were repeated once more? What if history came back to haunt us…exactly 50 years later?
The place was not Cuba or St. Petersburg, yet it did not lack the same romantic charm as Havana or the Kremlin. The place was Rubio’s Mexican grill. Debate class was over and a friend and I were planning on dining on some well earned fish tacos. I did not require much time to make my decision: Like a true meerkat, I was quick and decisive. I walked up to the counter, exchanged my warm Italian smile with the cashier and then ordered two fish tacos especial with Guacamole and chips and, of course, an ice cold Diet Coke. My friend ordered two fish tacos and a water and then we proceeded to find seats in the near empty restaurant (It was after 4 and most Northern Californians are at home watching PBS’ “Rick Steves tours Europe” by then).
I sat down, took a sip from my Diet Coke and felt absolute joy. A long day was behind me, I was half paying attention to my friend’s delightful conversation along with the other lone table’s conversation as well, and I had a drink in my hand. Life was good. I was like…John F. Kennedy enjoying a dinner without Ted coming over to visit or Khrushchev before he was barred from visiting Disneyland (which, incidentally, was the event that got the whole “Cold War” started in the first place). However, disaster soon struck: Castro was about to have the last laugh, and while there would be no ICBM landing in New York, a disaster no less terrifying was about to occur: The awkward moment when Guacamole was on the line.
The server arrived with our food. She put on a smile, hiding her malicious intent to cause a disaster. She carried two trays, placing one in front of my friend, and one in front of me. The tacos looked beautiful, garnished with cabbage, aioli, sour cream, salsa, cilantro, lemon and lime wedges and Guacamole. However, it was at that moment that I realized that she forgot the side order of Guacamole. But before I fell on the floor in tears, she returned with the long lost possession.
Her words carried a fake aura of kindness, as her true Machiavellian nature was about to become apparent. As soon as she opened her lips to speak, anyone from Kennedy to Nixon would’ve sensed an imminent disaster.
“I’m sorry,” She began, “Here’s your Guacamole.” Her eyes, however, did not look at me, they looked at my friend. Worse still, she placed the Guacamole on my friend’s tray. “Thanks! I was hoping I’d have extra Guacamole for my tacos.” my friend naively replied as she scooped out the Guacamole onto her plate. The server turned and flashed an evil grin of triumph towards me, like Stalin after the Russians took Berlin. She knew her work there was done.
And thus it began: The short 1 minute Great Guacamole Missile Crisis. With a mere choice of the word “Your”, a decision to look at my friend first and to pick her tray rather than mine, my entire lunch plan went off course. Was I to let my friend eat my well earned Guacamole? Was I to sit idly by as perfection eluded me? Was I to be content to let the forces of evil sow division? I think not! The problem was vexing: My friend, unknowingly, was eating my Guacamole which she thought was intended for her, thus fulfilling the server’s evil plans of depriving me my Guacamole. Whatever the problem, time (and Guacamole) was running out, and I needed to act.
I examined my options: I could leap across the table, snatch the Guacamole, steal my friend’s food and race out of the restaurant and flee towards Argentina. However, viable as that option was, I decided that resorting to a conflict was just what the server wanted. On the other hand, I could awkwardly cough and drop subtle hints, but time was short and I needed to, to quote JFK, “toss my cap over the wall”. Similarly, I could be a normal person and let my friend eat the container of Guacamole in peace. However, giving in to the wishes and the designs of the waitress would only embolden her, like Castro. Evil would only triumph if “Good men did nothing”, to quote Edmund Burke. Instead, I decided to be firm and forceful (two qualities directly against my personality). I determined to follow in Kennedy’s words and “Do things, not because they are easy, but because they’re hard” (or that’s what I decided afterwards to justify my actions). I glared at my friend as she smiled and ate, hoping she would be the first to back down. However, my bluff was called, and I knew I needed to pick up the red telephone.
“I’ll have you know that that would be MY Guacamole you’re eating.”
The restaurant was empty, but it suddenly felt crowded. My blunt remark seemed to be the only thing to cut through the thick layer of tension. The waitress glanced over, hoping her schemes would stay the course. My friend looked up, still smiling, and yet suddenly confused. Like Kennedy, I knew my actions weren’t popular, but being a great leader isn’t about being liked. I wouldn’t be loved on that day, but I would be honored in history. Why? Because I stood up to evil servers, looked them in the eye and picked up the red telephone.
However, I quickly weighed the fact that if I offended my friend I would be desperately short on people to eat lunch with, factored in the fact that I have a really awkward time inviting people to eat with me, considered past times when I stole my friend’s snickerdoodle cookies and also remembered that I might not have enough money to pay for lunch and then quickly added
“So that’s why I wanted to let you know that I’m happy to share!”
The Great Guacamole Missile Crisis ended as quickly and anticlimactically as it began, and the rest of lunch was flavorful yet uneventful. Leadership has its price, and it’s worth roughly a side order of Guacamole and chips. Sharing food will always lead to its awkward moments, that fact will always be true, yet sharing can be rewarding (Especially if you’re getting someone else’s guacamole). It seems, after all, that the willingness to talk and share resolves the conflict and the problem (like the “Détente” of the culinary world). Sharing food can be uncomfortable, it can be a challenge, but if there’s to be peace at the dinner table, it must be a challenge that, as LBJ said, “We shall overcome.” Selfishness and hoarding food leads to division, to Guacamole Missile Crises and to communism (I don’t know how exactly it leads to communism…if anything, that would promote sharing, but I’m trying to be like JFK here so whatever). In other words, mankind must end hoarding Guacamole before hoarding Guacamole ends mankind.