Waiter. There is a knot of spaghetti in my pasta.
You’re exactly right, there indeed is.
Can I have it sent back?
I don’t see a problem with it, sir.
Pasta is not supposed to be knotted.
While that it is true, it is only one noodle of many. And besides, it’s hardly a knot.
But I am not used to eating pasta with a knot in it. What if I choke?
That is possible, I suppose, but so is the opposite: straight pasta is more likely to cause you to asphyxiate.
What do you mean?
Well, you see sir, there are many noodles here and only one warped noodle. Probability dictates that you’ll be more likely to choke on many compared to one.
Normal distribution, sir.
I’m not familiar with it.
How to explain it – perhaps as the knotted pasta of math. More of one thing equates the average, and this becomes the most possible outcome.
Yes sir, so I confidently say that you’re safer eating the tangled pasta piece first.
Then why aren’t all the pasta pieces knotted?
Well, the reverse would be true, in fact. The graph would invert, so to speak.
As a waiter, I know the dishes and probabilities associated with them.
But, I don’t exactly feel safe.
I assure you that you are.
Maybe it’s not safety that is the issue. I just feel uneasy.
I’m not used to eating tied spaghetti.
So it is something new, then?
Then all the more reason to try it. How do you know you won’t like it if you never give it an honest go?
You’re right; I don’t. But that’s not reason enough to try something, even if it will be enjoyable. What about dying?
For some, it’s not a bad choice.
Not for me, waiter.
Certainly. There is spaghetti that must be eaten, a bill that must be paid, a life that must be lived, right?
Yes, except that I don’t have to eat the knotted spaghetti while living it.
This may be true. My father always said you only have to die and pay taxes.
Why the latter?
Because if you don’t pay taxes, you’ll die by the hands of the government. The second feeds the first in more ways than one.
I suppose. But reminding myself of the saying makes me want to add something.
Well, you said you didn’t wish to die, yes?
And it was because you didn’t want to try it, right?
But if it is inevitable, then why not enjoy it?
Because it’s the end.
But this spaghetti – straight or not – will end too. You’ll consume the meal, sir, and the cook assures me it is the most delicious he has made to date, and you’ll drink some water to wash away the lightly sautéed balsamic sauce and red Cabaret drizzle and the perfectly tossed, salted, boiled 100 percent whole grain pasta picked from the never-ending, golden fields of the Canadian prairies, or maybe you won’t because you’ll want the taste to last and it will for a little while but then one day when you’re brushing your teeth or eating another meal or kissing someone even, it’ll be gone and another sensation will fill its place but it will never quite fit. Nothing ever will.
So, should I even eat it then?
Of course, it would be an outright crime not to.
But then I’ll have emptiness in my mouth after a while.
Yes, but that does not mean you shouldn’t relish in the current or swim in the tide that comes. All things are finished the moment they begin.
Is that another one of your father’s sayings?
No. At least I don’t think so.
You can’t remember?
Like the pasta, you’ll lose the memory of it in time. No matter how wholesome and elegant you find the dish now, it will be a blur in time. And more importantly, it’ll be a blur stopping time as you try to recall the taste years from now, and thus, not experience whatever it is you’re eating then.
And this knot is the same?
Exactly. A memory waiting to be forgotten.
A knot waiting to be untied, only to not remember how it was tied in the first place.
That’s perhaps more fitting.
Alright, well, thank you.
No problem, sir. Anything else I can do for you.
Well, my pasta has gone cold.
Just a moment, sir.
The waiter walked away with the dish. The man fiddled his thumbs. The spaghetti came back hot, steamy, a trail of the scent – lightly sautéed balsamic sauce and red Cabaret drizzle and the perfectly tossed, salted, boiled 100 percent whole grain pasta picked from the never-ending, golden fields of the Canadian prairies – tickling the nostrils of all patrons around.
The man began with the knotted spaghetti. He ate it whole. He choked and died.