Throughout my life I have always had a somewhat rocky relationship with the ham sandwich.

Now to the average reader that may be perceived as a rather outlandish statement since you are all probably thinking "What possible damage can a poor innocent ham sandwich do to a person?"

Well let me tell you, in looking back over my life I have now come to realize that this so called 'innocent' ham sandwich has done a great deal of harm & actually has been out to screw me over since day one.

As a young boy around 6 I believe, I remember almost choking to death on one during my lunch. I personally don't recall all the specifics surrounding this horrific incident but Mom has reminded me from time to time about it.

"Don't eat your food so fast, you don't want a repeat of the ham sandwich incident, do you?" She would ask even years later as both a word of caution as well as a solemn reminder.

Apparently back on that fateful day I was in such a rush to finish my lunch in order to get outside and return to playing "Cowboys and Indians" (yeah, I know that is no longer a politically correct event to indulge in, but let me assure you that back then it was quite acceptable & a lot of fun, well for a boy of 6 anyway).

In my haste to get back to the exciting game & finally finish off the dreaded Sitting Bull once & for all, I supposedly forgot to chew my food and began choking on my sandwich.

After gasping, choking and turning a few shades of blue, I was able to finally get Mom's attention who immediately smacked me on the back a few times to unlodge the foul and offensive ham sandwich, avoiding an early exit from this world by yours truly.

Then just a year or so ago, I was sitting on a bar patio in the warm summer breeze enjoying an afternoon lunch of a refreshing Guinness and a Ham sandwich with fries & complimentary pickle, when myself and a few friends were attacked by a small swarm of irate & hungry bees that unexpectedly descended upon our table and were keen on partaking in both my Guinness as well as my ham sandwich.

Although in looking back this now sounds rather trivial, I distinctly recall at the time it was quite a traumatic incident as I had been quite hungry and thirsty and was really looking forward to my lunch.

Now I have had many a meal while sitting on a bar patio with numerous pints of Guinness, but this has never happened before nor since.

The only difference that fateful day was, you guessed it, the presence of the ham sandwich.

Oh and there's more. (I looked it up on the Internet, so it must be accurate and above reproach!)

 The so called innocent Ham Sandwich

They say that the great singer Mama Cass died while eating a ham sandwich, of course this proved to be nothing more than a modern day urban legend and it turned out it was actually a heart attack which was responsible for her untimely death, but nonetheless the reputation of the ham sandwich has been tainted.

So now realizing that this wretched bread with its damn sliced pork filling is nothing more than a demon in disguise as a light midday meal, you would think I would attempt to avoid any contact with the offensive item. But no way, not me.

There is a saying that reads 'Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it', and I must say after this past Thursday, truer words could not be spoken as the now infamous ham sandwich struck once again.

I was sitting in my office enjoying a late lunch of a ham sandwich looking over the newspaper sports scores to see how bad of a beating I am taking in my hockey pool. All was going very routine when I looked up to see my boss and company Vice-President Mr. Andrews, hovering around my office door.

Now before I go on, I should explain that Mr. Andrews is a very self-confident, highly respected senior manager with our company and he is never one to be hesitant regarding anything. His no-nonsense, straight to the point management style has always been one of great admiration from both senior managers and all his subordinates, including myself.

For Mr. Andrews to be on my floor and to be 'hovering hesitantly' are two scenarios that are both extremely rare. I knew almost instantly that something was up.

He noticed my gaze and immediately walked into my office and closed the door behind him gently.

"I am sorry to be interrupting your lunch." Mr. Andrews began. "I just got off the phone from a three hour conference call with the head office and we have a number of urgent action items."

I carefully put down my ham sandwich and muttering, reassured him that his visit was no interruption at all. I always have time for his requests.

Mr. Andrews sat down in the chair across from me & began his narrative explaining that the new CEO of the company has ordered all regional managers & executives to gather next week in Toronto to look at the "stream lining of processes, the immediate elimination of any potential redundancies between regions and the biggest thing, the alignment and right-sizing of staffing."

These long and fancy terms really meant one thing & one thing only - layoffs.

I looked Mr. Andrews directly in the eye and asked him if his conclusion was the same as mine. The directness of his response startled me somewhat.

"Undoubtedly layoffs will occur." he replied. "Who and where are the only unknowns at this stage. It will be all of our jobs to convince them that our region, despite being a top performer, should be spared or at least minimize our head count casualties. I will need you with me at these meetings starting next Monday. I am not sure how long this will go or even if either of us will have positions to return to. We leave Sunday evening."

With that he stood up and told me he would send me an email with all of the information we will need for the meetings and his secretary would contact me regarding the travel arrangements. As quick as he arrived he was gone, undoubtedly to share this grim news with a couple of his other managers.

I looked out of my office window at all the folks in my department that report to me. They are all a very hard working and diligent group that definitely deserve a better fate then this. Them and my own instincts of self-preservation kicked in and I am hoping we have a fighting chance, I will do all what I can.

Damn it, this is the last thing I want to be doing is laying off my staff weeks before Christmas and then looking for work myself.

I looked down at my desk and saw my half-eaten ham sandwich sitting there staring back at me.

So where is your innocent ham sandwich now, I ask? No longer the blameless and naive lunch alternative you all had considered it.

Of course this could all be simply a coincidence for me. Bad luck and ham sandwiches, that is rather ridiculous. But honestly, I am not so sure.

Just to be safe, I tossed the remains of it in the garbage and sat back down behind my desk telling myself things will all work out.


Pikkel Weezel said...

My mother once found an old fuzzy green ham sandwich under my sisters dresser in her bedroom. After seeing that, I can understand your problems.

Anonymous said...

Found your blog on BlogMad...
After this you should feel about ham sandwiches the way I do about Tootsie Rolls.

YoungBrews said...

The worse task I ever had to do was to lay off a friend.
Sorry, that probably doesn't help much.
I'd rather have a ham sandwich, swiss cheese, rye, mustard, onion...

Anonymous said...

All I can say is stay away from ham sandwiches like forever. My fingers are crossed that you and your staff will be spared!

Angry said...

I'm right there with you. Ever since I was little, I've always felt that mayonnaise was my arch-nemesis. It is becoming more and more confimed as I live out my life.

Alex said...

I prefer pastrami.

BTW, perhaps a little Bukowski could even your ham sammich ch'i. Worth a try.

Rob said...

I feel for you, I really do.

One of my mates (British) lives and works in the States and was laid off for no reason not so long ago.

The American employment law (or lack of it) is an absolute joke.

I hope you remain employed and are able to go into the festive season not feeling (more) depressed (than normal).



Anonymous said...

That sucks :S. I wouldn't want to have to do that.

Chris said...

Found your blog via blogmad. Excellent writing and witty humor, I enjoyed it.

Don't look now, you've been blog rolled.

My Blog

Jester said...

I knew there was a good reason to avoid pork. BTW, the Mama Cass story started because there was a partially eaten ham sandwich on the nightstand next to the bed.

I'd say the sandwich wasn't very lucky for her, either.

Thanks for letting me crash on your couch this week.

MrRyanO said...

Wow! Who knew of such hidden dangers...I'm switching to beer for lunch! No Ham for me!

Rock ON!

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