Moldy Bread

You’re probably thinking I’ve lost my mind. What in the heck does moldy bread have to do with wisdom? You’d be surprised. Stick around and I’ll tell you.

My husband and I are bread fanatics. The anti-carb craze did nothing to deminish our love of the loaf. When we go out to dinner, our favorite part of the experience is the arrival of the bread basket with its precious cargo warmly wrapped in a linen napkin. On one occasion we pulled back the layers of linen only to find a fuzzy spattering of green mold decorating the surface. We were disappointed to say the least.

My husband and I are not confrontational. When the waitress returned to our table, we delicately offered she may want to be aware there is mold on the bread. We expected a look of horror and an apology or two. What we got was an eloquent speech about how there couldn’t possibly be mold on the bread. The bread was freshly delivered that day. The supplier is top-notch and reputable. Proper storage of the bread is never an issue. Her supporting arguments as to why the bread couldn’t possibly be moldy were very convincing. Except for the tiny problem of there actually being green fuzz on the crust, I would have believed her. When I pointed out the flaw in her position, irritation showed on her face and she coolly offered to bring another loaf. Um, no thanks. Not only am I not interested in a sibling of my green friend, now I’m starting to wonder if it’s possible she’ll spit in my pasta. (I’ll leave that for another Blog.)

At first I was surprised the waitresses’ first reaction was to deny the obvious and put so much effort into convincing us we were mistaken. I mean, the green fuzz was clearly visible. Wouldn’t it have been easier to simply agree, offer an apology and move to solution mode?

The more I thought about it, I realized her response wasn’t all that uncommon. It actually happens to varying degrees with different levels of success all of the time. Children have the least practice so they tend to have poor results when they attempt to argue away the obvious. There is a huge smear of chocolate around their mouths, yet they go to great lengths to tell you they haven’t gone near the cookies. Teenagers swear they’ve done their homework and then distract you with arguments about how you don’t trust them when they start to feel the corner they’ve backed themselves into. Employees and coworkers are adamant they followed up on an issue and offer there must be some technical reason why none of their phone calls, faxes or emails happened to get through. Do you see the similarities?

For the examples I’ve used so far, the person who attempts to argue away the obvious rarely, if ever, succeeds. Something strange happens when we go higher up the ladder though. When we try to call big business, politicians, celebrities and high-profile criminals out on their moldy bread, we are less likely to hold them accountable to the obvious. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say we will indulge their position longer. It may be we are more inclined to hold such individuals on the pedestal we’ve created (not the criminals, of course), so ignoring the obvious is more comfortable for us. It could also be we are met with more advanced diversion tactics, fancier words and louder retorts.

Let’s imagine I told a visible political figure the bread he’s serving is moldy. The argument would be a bit different. I’ve got something against carbs and want to give bread a bad name. This is an election year and I want to get the fungi haters among us to the polls. I don’t have the ability to see the big picture; that mold could be the new Penicillin. I have an agenda to close down the restaurant before it’s had a chance to be successful. I’m making a big deal when it’s an isolated incident. There are plenty of other loaves in the restaurant that are mold free. The mold wouldn’t be there if the person on the shift before him had done his job. Perhaps I put the mold there myself to get attention.

When the arguments get more sophisticated, distracting and personal, it’s easy to convince ourselves (or pretend) we were mistaken, back down and quietly eat the moldy bread. Who wants to do battle against that degree of rhetoric? Trouble is, once you know the mold is there, no argument is going to make it taste good going down. I try to avoid swallowing something I know is spoiled. If I don’t have the ability or strength to send it back, I at least leave it untouched so the server knows I didn’t like what was dished out.

My closing thought is this. We owe it to ourselves to notice the mold in this world, to make it clear to those serving it up we know it’s there and to refuse to swallow what’s spoiled. By taking this stance, we are more likely to avoid being served moldy bread the next time around.

2 Responses to “Moldy Bread”

  1. Y & G says:

    Bravo Girlfriend!! Where are the emoticons when you need them??!

  2. Jules says:

    Well stated, Lisa. The optometrist told my husband (rudely) the other day that he called both of our phones several times and left messages, but we never called back. Weird that neither of our phones rang and that we had no messages. Sad that he is not alone in his world of obvious BS. Now I’m wishing I would have said something about it.