you go with ya mates to a diner. they all like fries, but you much prefer pizza. “we all like fries, let’s order a ton of fries,” dave says, and you don’t tell them you like pizza. so you eat fries. they’re not terrible, but you’re not fussed.
this goes on for about forty years, eating fries every night, until you say, “actually, guys, i like pizza. maybe we could order some of that for a change?” and they tell you that fries are normal so you will all eat fries. a few years later, they start putting ketchup on the fries. “see?” they say. “this is much cooler. you will like this.” but the ketchup does’t make the fries taste anymore like pizza.
“what if we have pizza just one night a week?” you suggest. it seems fair to you, but the other disagree. “there are more of us, and we all like fries. so we should eat fries all the time,” they say.
another few decades pass this way. “aren’t you getting sick of fries?” you ask. “even if you like pizza less, don’t you at least want a little variation?” they laugh. they say that there are lots of different sauces and salts for fries, and that is variation enough. “if we ate pizza one night a week, our kids might think it was okay to eat pizza! imagine!”
“what if we ordered a whole platter of fries, and one bit of pizza? that way, everyone’s happy.” you’d like more than one piece, but you don’t say so.
“no,” they say, like they always do.
then, one day, the waiter brings you a small, burned slice. it still looks amazing, incredible after decades and decades of fries. just as he’s about to hand it to you, he takes it away. “i know i said i’d bring pizza, but instead i’ve got you fries. everybody likes fries,” he says.
finally, you get a slice. it’s pretty gross. nowhere near the quality of the fries. but you don’t complain, because the chef has never had to make pizza before, and you will give him time to learn.
most years, you still get nothing but fries, with the occasional undercooked sliver of pizza. “if you could learn to make good fries, you could make good pizza,” you say. “it isn’t hard. there are plenty of people who would be happy to teach you. and all the people who like pizza would come to your diner.” but the chef insists on making more fries.
at last, after another ten years, you get a decent slice. it’s not everything you every dreamed - it’s not cheesy and gooey and brightly flavoured - but it’s so much better than every fry you’ve ever had. you get one bite before karen takes it out of your hand, and grabs a bite too. “karen,” you say, “that’s my pizza.” she giggles, “i know. i’m so bad, right? look at everyone else eating fries. and you and i with this pizza. we’re so naughty.” you tell her you actually just like the pizza, and would like it back. “if you like pizza, why didn’t you order some? or say you liked it too all those years i tried to make the group order it?” you demand. karen shrugs. “i don’t really like pizza,” she tells you, and then the waiter comes and takes it away before you get another mouthful.
they never add pizza to the menu. you have to know to ask for it, and even then, you mostly don’t get it.
nearly a century after you first came to the diner, the waiter starts bringing a small piece of pizza to you a couple of nights a month. the others always groan loudly. “why is there so much pizza here?” they yell, around all the fries in their mouths. “it’s like every day, pizza. what about the fry fans?”