Submarine sandwich paradox

Most fun of working in a real office comes not from the actual work, but from other people in the workplace. Where else can you watch over a bunch of strange people several hours at a time? They work with you, the talk on their phones, they think, they argue, they eat and drink… they live.

Those offices that allow employees to eat a their desks or in some other tight, but shared spaces, are the most fun. It is there I spotted the submarine sandwich paradox.

For those of you living in strange places, submarine sandwich is this huge sandwich usually made from a roll of French bread. Really long. We are talking half a meter or so. Usually hot, and staffed with ham, cheese, tomatoes, and things like that. If done right, it’s a delicious lunch meal. (See Submarine sandwich at Wikipedia, but ignore the picture – it’s not representative at all).

The biggest problem with submarine sandwiches is their size. Some places have half a submarine and even a quarter of a submarine sandwich on the menu. This is how large they are. You can chop it into four pieces and each of those pieces will be larger than a monthly meal of an average person living in a poor country.

Needless to say, people who order a whole submarine sandwich for the first time get very surprised with size. All of them, and I do mean all of them say the same thing when the delivery arrives: “Oh. My. God.” It’s a combination of “I ordered just a sandwich. And I got it wrong. How could I possible not manage an order of one sandwich” with “Jez.. look at the size of this thing! Is it even possible that one person can eat all of it in one sitting?” with “Help. I need somebody’s help.” That last one was exactly what came out of The Beatles when they ordered their submarines for the first time. Later on they even released an album called “Yellow Submarine”. (See The Beatles Discography at WikiPedia).

Anyway. While each and every person gets amazed by the size of the sandwich at first time, women are usually way over the top. Their minds are blown out. This is the good moment to ask for the girl’s phone number, if you can control the urge to know what she’ll do next. Women usually seem to eat less. They also try to control themselves when it comes to unhealthy food, which submarine sandwich undoubtedly is (that much food, and especially bread, can’t be good for anyone, but the place which sold you the damn thing).

And here comes the paradox. As much as people are amazed at the size of this thing, and a total and complete confidence of that no living creature, and particularly those of homo sapience type, can eat this thing entirely in one go, you can be sure that next day they’ll want another one for lunch.

Yes, you’ve heard it right. If the submarine sandwich was made and delivered properly, an average person won’t have much difficulty finishing it with a can of coke or a cup of coffee. And they’ll love it so much that they will barely wait until they can order it again the next day. It’s huge, unhealthy, heavy, and all, but they don’t care no more. It’s a new thing. It’s a pleasure. It’s forbidden, and yet so affordable (yes, submarines are cheap usually). It’s like a toy they wanted the most in their childhood and never got…

In a few days, the excitement will pass and the sober mind will take control over the body once again. They will occasionally order the submarine again, and will even enjoy it, but it will never be the same. Ever. It’s easy to see nostalgic sadness in the eyes of many who open the delivery bag with yet another submarine. They want it to be the same. But it’s not…

2 thoughts on “Submarine sandwich paradox”


  1. A good and fun read! Did you mean we should ignore the picture at the wiki entry because the sub there is *tiny*? =) The OMG reaction was so true for me! And one tiny spelling error – should be stuffed with a u as opposed to staffed – unless you’re considering the fillings to be employed which is also an amusing thought in line with rest of your musings here!


  2. Vips,

    I’m glad you liked it. :)

    The picture in the Wiki is not representative of a good submarine. First of all, it’s just a piece of the whole thing. And, secondly, it doesn’t look all that yummy.

    Google Image search provides a few better pictures:
    http://images.google.com/image.....20sandwich

    As to the typing mistake, I spent some time thinking about this while writing the post, and again some now, and … I think staffed serves the purpose better than stuffed. I’ll leave it at that, but will use “stuffed” next time. Thanks for pointing it out though. :)

Leave a Reply to Leonid Mamchenkov Cancel reply