The Mysterious Effects of Tacos on the Human Psyche
A few weeks back, I was talking with two friends. One of them decided to steer the conversation into the topic of tacos. I never would have guessed at the time the horrible and unavoidable consequences this would later have. This simple mention of a commonly enjoyed food would spawn a diabolical argument, one that would simply escalate, step by step, growing by feeding off its own substance, and eventually leading to unimaginable consequences. He declared that he loved tacos, because of the basic properties in them, which he described. He claimed the basic properties of a taco were a shell, hard or soft, containing ground meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomato. He also claimed that a viable substitute for meat was an assortment of vegetables, creating a “veggie-taco.”
Upon this point, a man who will be referred to as Chris decided his ultimate fate, by disagreeing. “A soft shell, by definition, is not a shell at all. Also, veggie-tacos are not tacos in the same aspect that veggie-burgers aren't hamburgers. What singular object does a veggie-taco point out if there is no taco present? At least a veggie-burger has the absence of the word 'ham' so you know it's not a 'hamburger.'”
In my firm beliefs in the legitimacy of a veggie-taco, I realized that I must correct his ignorant ways and flawed logic. I said to him “Nowhere in the word 'taco' is anything that indicates meat. The word is defined by the food it represents. If it represents a bunch of vegetables instead of ground meat and cheese, then so be it. By this same reasoning, a soft shell taco is as much a taco as one with a hard shell. And notice that the word 'hamburger' refers to Hamburg, Germany, where chefs created a sandwich based on the practices of Genghis Khan’s troops, who put beef under their saddles while riding to make it tender and soft.” I was quite satisfied with my application of logic and acquired knowledge, and would gladly have moved onto another area of conversation, but Chris wouldn’t admit defeat. “Well in that case, a veggie-taco is not a veggie-taco. What you are referring to is just a regular taco. There is no such thing as a veggie-taco so how can it be a taco?” were the vile words which issued forth from his mouth. I was stunned by the senselessness of what he had said. I vaguely realized, at this point, that he would not simply let the issue lie and submit to my superior logic. He would continue to argue, twisting words out of their true purposes, distorting their meanings, just to spite me. This was one thing I could simply not stand for, a person who would continue to argue endlessly on an unimportant issue just because they refuse to see their opinions trampled on. Well, if he was going to try to refute my reasoning by weaving his words until they resembled truths, I certainly couldn’t let him get away with it. I would out-argue him until he saw reason, no matter how much of a fight he put up!
I sought to rend apart his argument with a single well-planned phrase: “If you call it a beef taco, it's no longer a taco, then? You’re a fool.” I knew that if he had any sense, he would concede defeat, and abandon his pointless debating. Yet instead, he persisted in trying to defy me! I simply could not understand why he would do such a thing! “Well, I guess it depends on whether or not you intend to capitalize off of them. Veggie-burger is a term created by corporations to sell a product, which makes it something entirely different than a hamburger. If you do mean to make a profit from a veggie-taco, then yes; technically it's no longer a taco!” he asserted.
My mind simply could not comprehend how his ill-conceived thoughts had produced such “logic”! To even call it logic was a travesty, and he had even gone so far as to call me by a vulgarity that will not be herein repeated, just because he couldn’t wrap his mind around a simple concept! Having heard this, my hand was forced. From there, I no longer had any choice in the events that followed. Now that I am able to make choices again, I choose to leave out the quite freely used obscenities that were used by both parties for emphasis. Having seen him give some ground on the issue, I plotted a course of action, attempting to use a simple analogy that even his malformed brain should have been able to comprehend.
“I don’t think I even understand where you’re coming from with this, but maybe this will help you. If I call it a veggie-taco because that is its brand name, you may have a point, but if I only call it that for descriptive purposes, it’s simply to explain what sort of taco it is. For instance: I am currently wearing pants. I can call them corduroys, to explain what sort of pants I'm wearing, but they're still pants. If I call them by a brand name, that specifies which pants, but they're still, for all practical reasons, pants.” The argument only degenerated from here, into the nature of the language used to explain our ideas, and insults and obscenities. This drove away our mutual friend, who had unintentionally spawned this conflict.
After a while, I became vaguely aware of something odd in Chris’s eye. A certain look I could not define. It suddenly struck me; it was the look of a man preparing to do murder. Why, for no greater reason than being on the wrong side of a debate, could he possibly consider murder? As we spoke, the answer came to me. I had made an off-hand, idle threat on his life. He, in all his foolishness, must have believed I truly intended to end him! That murderous gleam in his eye grew by the minute, until I was certain he would act on his basest instincts if I couldn’t find a way to stop him. He was going to murder me because he thought I intended to murder him. “Well,” I thought to myself, “not if I kill him first!” It was the only course of action I had left to me at that point. To suddenly admit (in a lie, of course) that he had bested my reasoning, would be unthinkable, and would go against all things true to my character.
At the first opportune moment, I excused myself, and told him that if he appeared at a nearby purveyor of tacos in an hour, I could prove to him, undeniably, that he had been wrong. Of course, he did just that, assuming I had no warning to his plot of murder. I had arranged for a taco to be prepared for him, according to the exact standards he had claimed a taco must adhere to, in fact, be a taco. What no one knew was that I had added an extra ingredient to its contents. Secluded in the rear parking lot, I told him to eat the taco, and tell me to what degree it was a true taco, by his standards. After devouring half of it, he looked at me and told me it met all of his expectations, and that it was in all ways, by his reasoning, a taco. “Wrong,” I said, as his hand contracted around the taco, crushing its crispy shell, spilling its contents to the ground. “That taco is not a delicious food, but a deadly weapon. A ‘true’ taco, as you would define it, is not something intended to kill a man,” I told him as he collapsed. “By claiming that that taco was something a taco cannot actually be, you have destroyed your own argument. What do you have to say to that?” I asked him. He merely convulsed.
I took no joy in seeing this, or even in his utter defeat. It had merely been the inevitable product of an unlikely series of events, which had all fallen into place so seamlessly it could almost be believed they had been manufactured with the intent of this result. I left, and swore that I would never again involve myself with the dark world of tacos.