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Sandwich solidarity

Back in February 2014, I wrote about the joy of peanut butter and tuna fish sandwiches.

I wrote:

When I was a kid, my mother didn’t especially care about my hatred for mayonnaise. When the canned tuna fish was on sale, we were eating it, damn it. Initially, this meant tuna fish straight out of the can and onto Wonder bread for me. The result was a dry, bland sandwich, but even worse, it was impossible to keep the tuna inside the bread without the mayonnaise adhesive. Invariably, I’d end up holding two slices of bread in my hands with a pile of tuna fish in my lap.

In an effort to solve this problem, I began experimenting with alternatives to mayonnaise.

Catsup was not good.

Butter was ineffective.

Honey was a disaster.

Then I stumbled upon the solution:

Peanut butter.

Heat up a few tablespoons of peanut butter in the microwave or a saucepan on the stove until it is warm and thin, then mix it with tuna fish.

It’s a protein-packed alternative that holds the tuna together nicely and actually tastes good, too.

Lots of people have criticized this unusual combination, almost always without actually trying it themselves. A couple of my friends have actually tasted the unusual sandwich and approved, but the vast majority either refuse and/or declare it ridiculous and awful.

Yesterday I received an email from a reader named Stephen.

He wrote:

I am a 65-year-old man who has been eating peanut butter and tuna fish sandwiches all my life. I discovered it as a kid and still eat it to this day. Thank you for writing about it. I have been a closet fan all my life. Thanks.

Somehow Stephen stumbled upon something I wrote eight years ago and found solace and comfort in our sandwich solidarity.

I write for a multitude of reasons, but this is an important one:

You never know when something you write will reach the heart and mind of another human being and make them feel less alone in this world. This is especially true when you’re willing to be vulnerable and say things that often go unsaid:

Stories of failure, embarrassment, rejection, shame, and struggle. Moments when you oppose conformity and societal norms. Terrible decisions and disastrous consequences.

Writing about my approval of peanut butter and tuna fish sandwiches doesn’t exactly require a lot of vulnerability on my part, but then again, at least one person in this world had kept his fandom of these sandwiches a secret for more than six decades in fear of what others may say.

For Stephen, writing about these sandwiches would’ve required a great deal of vulnerability, which is why he found my words so valuable.

I’m happy to have helped Stephen feel a little better about his peanut butter and tuna fish sandwiches. And his writing to me, in the form of an email, made me feel a little bit better, too.

You should write, too. It makes the world a better, more connected, more inclusive place.

Also try peanut butter and tuna fish sandwiches. They might surprise you.