French Fried Lies
By Cody Collier
I was enjoying a sandwich and fries with a friend last night. My friend happens to be noticeably older than me. Being that, there was an awkward exchange with the woman at the counter who took our orders. I ordered first, and then it became evident she had assumed we were father and son, and said, “…and for Dad?...” We both shrugged it off and didn’t say anything. How was she supposed to know? It was probably a safe assumption. I mean, how often do two unrelated guys of age difference go out for a burger and fries on a week night? Apparently, not many… which is just one of the reasons why I cherish the uniqueness of this relationship the way I do. It really threw her for a loop when he said we were ordering separately. I could see the total confusion in her eyes. This definitely did not compute. Anyways, she powered through that information with a smile as she kept pouring it on, referring to him as “Dad” at least two more times… and that’s when I escaped to the soda fountain, not just because I was thirsty for some unsweetened tea, but mostly to disappear from how uncomfortable it was getting, completely unbeknownst to her.
Did I lie?
I think in a practical sense, no. I didn’t say anything at all other than the facts. I wanted a tenderloin sandwich basket with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo with fries. She gave me order number 22. I left. As I was waiting for him to join me at the table, I reviewed the transcript in my head. I had told no untruths, but somehow there was an untrue narrative for which I felt partially responsible.
About 300 seconds later, my food arrives first. My friend leads us in asking The Lord’s blessing on our meal and our time together. We both say, “Amen.” He jumps right into “Go ahead and eat, you don’t need to wait on me.” So I popped one single french fry into my mouth. I chew a few times, and then, it somehow prematurely begins to descend my esophagus before I intend it to. I keep my wits about me for the first few split seconds. It’s pretty amazing how quickly our minds can race through so many thoughts in a short period of time. “This is fine. Just a little more to swallow than I planned.” I thought to myself as I continued to struggle. What were my options? Do I try to persuade this french fry back up vertically, or do I try to strong-arm it the rest of the way down? I definitely wasn’t choking, I tried to tell myself… because that would be an emergency, and I’m not that guy.
At about that time, along with my thoughts, I must have outwardly been doing the “I might be choking face” because he asked me, “Are you alright!?”
“Yep.” I meeped, as I begged my esophageal muscles to make an “up or down” decision. After this had been transpiring for all of 5 seconds I began to slightly panic that this might be more serious that I initially thought. Not only might I be having a serious health emergency, I would also have to confess that I had lied about it to save my pride. – All because “I’m not the kind of guy who’s capable of choking on a french fry.”
The panic quickly subsided, and gravity eventually pulled the french fry safely into my stomach without any further spectacle. The rest of our conversation honored The Lord and the rest of my meal posed no risk to my safety, but I couldn’t help but be convicted by how I handled that situation for the rest of the night. I kept thinking, “choking on a french fry is the most ‘Cody’ thing ever” or “People would totally believe that I died choking on a french fry.” I could see it etched in my tombstone:
And there it is. It wasn’t the french fry that almost killed me. It was my sin. Pride, lying, self-reliance; if you see more, please, let me know. And I shouldn’t be surprised at how dangerous they became, because I know these following truths:
- Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
- Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Romans 5:8, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
- Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
- Romans 10:9-10, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
I’m thankful for this reminder that I still have so much more maturing to do. I want to be a man who stands firm in the promises that I know to be true in my faith when the time comes that I am up against an even more serious circumstance, and not sin by reflex in my futile attempts to save myself. Thank you, Lord, for getting my attention.
And now I’m off to Leviticus to see if I missed a warning about crinkle cut fries...
It's always been a wonder to me to realize the fine line between "humility" and "humiliation." How often do we avoid humility because we perceive humiliation? Needing help is one of the most common occurrences in our human condition; but asking for it is one of the most difficult situations because of our broken and fallen nature.
Well said, brother. Thank you
Thanks for sharing this, Cody. I know I need this reminder.