Have you ever walked into a sandwich shopped, perused the selection, gazed despondently out the window, and thought... Who am I? Such sandwichy epiphanies (sandwiphanies?) are real; and recently, one New York Times writer played witness to one. This columnist wrote about his experience taking a friend to a fancy sandwich shop — and subsequently realizing it was out of his friend's ballpark — and the internet can't handle it. Here's what's got people in a tizzy.
Said columnist is named David Brooks, and he recently penned an op-ed called, "How We Are Ruining America." The article discusses income inequality and how the upper-middle-class is at an advantage in our society. Things seemed to start off OK, but eventually went south when he shared a story about a meal he shared with a friend, who has a lower level of education than he does:
Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named 'Padrino' and 'Pomodoro' and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.
While Brooks thought it was his initial choice of restaurant that was insensitive, readers seem to think that it's his recounting of the tale that's by far the worst part. They've pointed to his describing his friend as "only" having a high school degree, using that to explain why she can't comprehend the fancy sandwiches, and then having to resort to Mexican food (which I guess is where hungry people without college degrees eat?). Brooks, needless to say, ruffled a few feathers.
To be fair, I have a college degree and still don't know what the hell a soppressata is.
Anyhow, Twitter had a fabulous time with this.
the top half of this column is actually good! but then he says oh never mind it’s actually all about the capicollo barrier— Allison Benedikt (@abenedikt) July 11, 2017
put "Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop" on my tombstone— eve peyser (@evepeyser) July 11, 2017
It's a good thing I took "Italian meats 101" at college.— Alex Weprin (@alexweprin) July 11, 2017
It was me, I was David Brooks lunch date. Truth is I just wanted to hear him try to say Pico de Gallo.— Kirsten (@k_a_aitch) July 11, 2017
They did not teach me about cured meats at my college and now I feel ripped off.— Mike Hixenbaugh (@Mike_Hixenbaugh) July 11, 2017
"What the fuck is a baguette?" I asked, having dropped out of college.— Jack Kogod (@Unsilent) July 11, 2017
He's a sandsplainer— Widow Speak (@alchaeology) July 11, 2017
i remember learning about soppressata in university.... good times— Mark Pytlik (@markpytlik) July 11, 2017
BROOKS (rubbing meats on his friend's hands): capicola!— charlie (@burdsupplies) July 11, 2017
FRIEND: *crying* caaaaa
BROOKS: *rubbing harder* ca-pi-cola!
FRIEND: caaaa ppaaaaa
so….smart people know Italian food words and ”Mexican” is the food option for the uneducated? That seems, I dunno…assholeish.— Lee Hutchinson (@Lee_Ars) July 11, 2017
if only she had gone to college so she could have taken electives in Sandwich Appreciation— dinner egg 🌹 (@eggfordinner) July 11, 2017
Can't stop laughing. It hurts.
In all seriousness, people don't seem too thrilled with the way Brooks represented his friend, understandably. There seems to be much discussion around the relationship between education and sandwich fanciness — as in, there is none. Oddly, Brooks also recently wrote an article on how common it is these days for friends to bail on you... Not gonna touch that one.