The Ham Sandwich

 

 


As ham sandwiches go, it was perfection. A thick slab of ham, a fresh bun,
crisp lettuce and plenty of expensive, light brown, gourmet mustard. The
corners of my jaw ached in anticipation. I carried it to the picnic table in
our backyard, picked it up with both hands but was stopped by my wife
suddenly at my side. "Hold Johnny (our six-week-old son) while I get my
sandwich," she said.

I had him balanced between my left elbow and shoulder and was reaching
again for the ham sandwich when I noticed a streak of mustard on my
fingers. I love mustard. I had no napkin. I licked it off. It was not mustard.

No man ever put a baby down faster. It was the first and only time I
have sprinted with my tongue protruding. With a washcloth in each hand, I
did the sort of routine shoeshine boys do, only I did it on my tongue.

Later my wife said, "Now you know why they call that mustard 'Poupon.'"