Many years ago, I read a wonderful book, Roughing It, By Mark Twain. I am hazy on the details, but the gist was that this was a manifest destiny thing. If memory serves, the narrator’s brother scored a once in a lifetime opportunity to be the Governor of the Nevada Territory, or something along those lines. Envious of the obvious adventure at hand, it seems that he talked him into taking him along on the trip out West.
At some point, he recalled an anecdote. It went something like this:
After a weary day of travel, we stopped along the trail at an Inn for supper. Hungry as we were, this seemed like a good idea. By and by, the innkeeper brought out a platter with an enormous roasted mackerel and a largish pot of brown mustard.
Underwhelmed, our protagonist asked, “is this all?” To which the innkeeper answered “I expect that there is enough mackerel here to feed 5 or 6 hungry men.” To this, he responded “I do not much like mackerel.” Without even a brief pause, the server countered, “well then there is mustard.”
And that was that. A bit of a cliffhanger.
I thought about this one for a while. What was I missing? I have offered this plagiarized anecdote on a number of occasions to a wide swath of folks- some of them pretty wise. I never got a satisfactory response.
I expect that different people see this different ways. On one side, we have folks that just do not mess with stinky, oily fish. Maybe those same see mustard as a lowly condiment, and no further. I accept that. Makes good sense.
I think choice is a fine thing. From this angle, it would always be best to have different paths from which to choose- even if neither are necessarily so pleasant. And, what if it turns out that you like fish?