Friday, April 3, 2009

Philosophy of the Meatball

It is an age old question. A tale as old as time. A song as old as rhyme. Why do we like saucy meatballs? Why do we need sauce with meatballs? What makes meatball sauce so saucy? All of these are penetrating, deep questions with no easy answer. Meatball historians have been plagued by these ontological questions since the first meatball showed up on the scene thousands of years ago. Italians will claim the meatball. Americans claim the meatball. Even the Afghanis have a meatball claim. But who is first? Was the meatball created, or has it always existed a priori to our human existence? Do we shape the meatball, or has it shaped us?
This brings us to another interesting subject. Meatball worship. There are cultures in the Pacific islands that believe in an omniscient, omnipresent, omnibus meatball. It is the giver and taker of life. Where the Japanese have the earth or the moon on the back of a sea turtle, these islanders have it all within the deliciously well-seasoned layers of the tropical meatball. The belief is that all life is saucy, delicious, and full of meat. We must embrace it, smother it with sauce, and devour it. Then the meatball has become one with us and we have become one with it.

But what makes a meatball? Is it the meat, or the spherical shape? Is it the sauce, or the spices? The meatball is whole. It is not just its parts. It cannot be entirely meat or entirely ball, just as we cannot be entirely "hu" or entirely "man". If we understand the meatball, we in turn understand ourselves. All meatballs made by man worldwide are symbolic of this greater metaphysical truth meatball. Some are made out of goat, sheep, beef, turkey, or, in some rare cases, people. But regardless of their meat substance they have a unity of shape and purpose. Roundness and edibility. Such is life. Round and edible.

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