In this metaphor we walk into a Denny's. It's the only town where we can stop to get food; it's not even a town, just a gas station and a Denny's. And it hasn't even always been a Denny's. There was a Burger King and a McDonald's before this, the two in one building, and a long time before that a kind of mom and pop diner. But it's a Denny's now, and it's time to eat, and we can talk about what used to be here or what we wish were here, but... for now, we're in a Denny's.
The Denny's menu, oh my. What's the Onion joke about a bucket of eggs and pancakes and bacon and a funny name? Yeah, lots of that. Breakfast served all day. The crazy amounts of coffee I drank at Denny's in college because of the free refills, the bottomless cup of toxic sludge. Now I just pray for one or two vegetarian options and some tea.
Hey, and they have those vegetarian burgers! And they have side salads without bacon bits! I'm pretty excited. But you're all sour. You want sushi, you want Indian food, you want something really healthy instead of something pretending to be healthy. And listen, I don't disagree. I'd love that stuff; I'd love a menu where it takes me three hours to choose because it all sounds so good. But this is Denny's. It was made not to be the best possible food for everybody, but the food most likely to appeal to the widest margin of people at the truck stop.
After eight years of greasy pork sandwiches served in a dirty ashtray, the fact that BOCA burgers are owned by big tobacco becomes much less of an issue for me. I'm not saying I wouldn't prefer a morally-uncorrupted vegetarian meal loaded with flavor and vitamins and no GM foods. I'm not saying I wouldn't be happier if there were an independently-owned restaurant here instead of a Denny's. I'm just saying: here we are, it's time to eat, this is a Denny's and this is what's on the menu. You can refuse to order anything; you can get a cup of coffee and eat the saltines and refuse to spend money on less than what you want. That's the beauty of truck stops. Personally, I'm going to get the soy burger and the salad and I'm going to be incredibly happy to have that option and I'm going to celebrate that option in the hopes that maybe someday Denny's will come around to an even better selection for me, or maybe there will even be a whole better restaurant. But in the meantime, I'm eating the best thing on the menu, and I'm saying it's the best thing on the menu; not because it's the actual best thing for me, but because I'm hungry and the idea of eating something that isn't going to make me puke is pretty exciting at this point.