Dill pickles, pizza, & other life issues over which we have no control

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I don’t like dill pickles. Never have, never will. Once I tried a dill pickle and soda cracker diet (of my own invention). Didn’t work, of course. I think I figured if I ate something so sour it would spoil my appetite for anything else. That was an incorrect assumption. I don’t like fried pickles either.

I have a favorite semi-fast food place I like to frequent. The meals are all very good and made with good ingredients. The problem I have is that they place a slice of dill pickle on the top of every sandwich. It doesn’t matter if it’s a burger or chicken or tenderloin or even tuna, there will be a dill pickle slice on top of whatever you order.

Now, it’s clear that the simple answer to all of this is to just remove the pickle when it is delivered to the table. But that won’t do for me. I can still taste the lingering juice of said pickles even after I have handed them off to my dining partner.

Last week, I dined at this chain twice and in two different locations. Having learned what happens with pickles in this company, I was specific with both of my orders: “No pickles. I don’t want pickles inside or outside the sandwich. I don’t want a pickle within breathing room of my sandwich.” And in both cases, the order takers were deliberate about listening to me. On the receipts I was given (the originals went to the kitchen), both of them stated in capital letters NO PICKLE.

On that first day, when the sandwich was delivered to my table and I was alone, the waiter simply ditched the order and moved on. I looked down and, you guessed it, there was a pickle smack dab in the middle of the top of my bun.

Now, I was having a bad day. A bad week. My fuse was short. There was no wait staff around to summon. It was early afternoon and the place was near empty. So I picked up that pickle and flung it across the room.

It’s not as bad as it sounds. If you could see me throw anything, you know that my trajectory and distance amounted to nothing. I then got up, walked over, picked up the stupid pickle and put it on my tray before I even began to eat.

In the second instance, the unsuspecting server hadn’t even gotten the sandwich on to my table and I saw it: the pickle in the middle of the top of the bun. I’m told by my dining companion that I clenched my fists, hit the table and pronounced, “I said NO PICKLE!” He said she looked scared. She quickly returned to the kitchen and brought out a sandwich with no pickle and, she said, the bun was a new one. No juice remains could be detected.

Similarly, we order home delivery for pizza and usually from the same pizza place. There is pizza that is much better, but living where we do, not everyone delivers out here. The ones that do are awfully expensive. So we have settled on one pizza company. We always designate that we want our pizza cut into squares. We just find it easier to eat that way. The restaurant tells us that getting it cut into squares is not a problem.

Round pizza cut into squares. Just the way we like it. [Internet image]

But the same week as my last two dill pickle experiences, we ordered pizza to be cut in squares. The delivery guy was nice and friendly. He was paid and tipped. When we got the box inside the house and he was long gone, we opened it to discover that the pizza had been cut into slices. No problem. We could eat it that way. But whoever was wielding the pizza cutter wheel discovered his mistake and rather than leaving the pizza in wedges, he proceeded to also cut it into squares. Well, you can imagine the array of shapes and sizes of pizza that we beheld. And nobody said anything about it. The delivery guy may not have known about the mistake, but he dumped it and left. I filed an on-line complaint with the company and no one bothered to call and even apologize.

It was a frustrating week meal-wise for me. And those were the small frustrations on top of larger ones.

It has reminded me how little control we have over things we believe we should control. Pickles or no pickles. Wedges or squares. Life or death. One presidential candidate over another. Job or no job. Friendly and kind neighbors vs. jerks. Medical diagnoses and the desire to have no medical issues at all. Friends or few friends. Snowstorms or warm weather. Childcare or childcare unexpectedly canceled. A smooth-running vehicle vs. one disjointed by another sloppy driver. Social media rants vs. social media rational conversations.

We think we can and should be able to control everything in our lives, our homes, our places of business, our churches. But we can’t. As smart and reasoned as our decisions may be, as correct as those choices may be, we often don’t get the results we were seeking. People we love suffer. Life-long dreams are quashed. Carefully plotted plans are never realized.

And yet, there’s a lot that is right about the world.

I took out my anger about pickles on an unsuspecting young waitress, and, in the scheme of things, a lousy pickle shouldn’t have blown up anyone’s day. I let it because my fuse was so short by that time. I was feeling so out of control of my life. I just blew.

My husband has what he calls his 24-hour rule. Just let the frustration simmer for 24 hours and think through what if any response is required.

It’s a good rule. But on issues of life and death, we more often than not have to put it all in God’s hands. God has done a pretty good job of taking care of us up till now.

I just wish I didn’t have to deal with dill pickles.



Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
4              “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
5              Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6              On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone
7              when the morning stars sang together
and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? – Job 38:1,4-7

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