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By Joshua Graham
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There's Nothing Like A Stool Sandwich

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Hello again, my dear readers. I am sure you have been wondering what it is exactly I have been “up to,” as my whereabouts have not been a matter of public record as of late. Grief is a tremendous thing. These past few weeks have been trying, but I have taken to a task which has filled me with new fire. I was travelling across the eastern seaboard in an attempt to find the greatest sandwich possible, and came to an immense personal realization. Allow me to explain.

Generally, when one imagines a stool in their minds eye, they think of something that has four legs. If you asked a man off the street to draw a stool they would probably show you something meeting that description, albeit with no sharp edges or dangerous, rough surfaces (a mark of the times in which we live). Yes, those four legs and flat round top are what would generally come to mind, bringing to mind the opening image from the classic motion picture A Honeymoon in Fincher’s Gulf (which is a lovely film and my certified “Pick of the Month”).

One of the issues with four legged stools, tables, and so on is stability. When one peruses a local restaurant, nearly every time they sit down to enjoy their mid-evening meal they are faced with the possibility of instability. A particle of chaos shattering through the plate glass window of order. A burger ruined by the discomfort experienced sitting in an uncomfortable, long unserviced seat. Every chair and table will develop a wobble eventually, it’s only natural. There was, however, and continues to be a solution, known only to the finest craftsmen. By removing one leg and evening out the distribution, the stool will no longer wobble. This is one of the reasons that rustic woodworkers preferred three legged stools over four legged ones, a stool with three legs is more likely to follow the path of weight and distribution that leads to stability.

Now, the same philosophy that applies to the construction of the physical stool applies to the construction of the metaphorical one (in this case, the construction of a perfect sandwich). Each leg is merely a pillar, a quadrant of the perfect dining experience.  

1. The Meat
No sandwich can truly be considered complete without the inclusion of an astonishing amount of meat (preferably dried or smoked, so as to remove any alien liquid). The meat is, in essence, the Soul of the sandwich, and what meal could be complete without that most central of aspects? Piled high, as high as possible (while maintaining structural integrity), the meat should be, nay MUST be the first thing that stands out to the consumer.

2. The Cheese
The cheese, while a secondary aspect, is a vital one in the completion of any sandwich. It is anything but secondary. A compliment to the meat, the cheese acts as a sort of glue, binding the sandwich together in what could only be described as gourmand matrimony. I myself prefer a dry, crumbled cheese to compliment the meat, deepening the flavor without adding any of the unnecessary oil or brine which comes from the dreaded “melt.”

3. The Bread
The bread, the outer crust of the sandwich, closes in on these ingredients, pressing each together in an act of love. This embrace, the construction, when viewed up close, is nothing short of breathtaking. It is nearly religious, that first time at the sandwich counter, gazing up at the rotund man, a twinkle in his eye as he makes short work of the loaf. Nothing can compare.

And the seat? The top of the stool? Why, that is the base for everything. That is what holds everything together. The dining experience itself, the simple pleasure…a shared enjoyment of meat among men. Work songs in the midday sun, card games that never seem to end, the bitter scent of alcohol wafting through the air. Someday I will return to my investigations, plumbing the depths for the truth and taking the entirety of this criminal, so-called “state” to task and divying out my own kind of Justice. But as I sit here, enjoying my very own “three legged stool” in a small, crowded sandwich house, surrounded by men, each their own monad in this greater game we call the Masculine, I feel at peace.



A well-fed gadabout

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