Condiments are my Worst Nightmare

Condiments are my Worst Nightmare

What do you put on your burger? I’m sure you like ketchup, mustard, or relish. How about your bagel? Cream cheese, obviously. Toast? Butter and jam. Sandwich? You clearly want mayonnaise or some spicy mustard.

To you, they enhance the flavor.

To me, they turn a perfectly good meal into a toxic waste. Yes, everyone, I have a phobia of condiments. There could be nothing more nauseating than having to consume any of them. I don’t care if they’re on the corner of the plate, just keep them away from me.

It may seem silly or irrational being afraid of condiments, but behind most food phobias is an explanative story, mine of which is epic.

I was nine. My family went to have lunch at a delicatessen on a Sunday afternoon. We were all enjoying our sandwiches, mine, bread with turkey. But at the table next to us, a kid had an assortment of meats and cheeses, ranging from roast beef, ham, turkey, swiss, american and muenster, stacked high on his plate. Next to his food lay a second plate on which he squirted a full bottle of ketchup at least an inch thick. The white ceramic of the plate was drowned in a goopy, blood-like concoction. The revolting smell traveled over to my table, and I immediately felt my stomach drop. I tried to ignore it and avert my eyes, I really did. Tragically, I couldn’t help but stare in horror as he took a slimy piece of ham with his hands, soaked it in the plate of ketchup, and shoved it right in his mouth. Ketchup dripped down his fingers and out the corner of his mouth. He swallowed and let out a satisfied sigh, then dunked another piece of ham in the ketchup.

I was 10. It was breakfast at camp, and my friend got a bagel. She had four little containers of cream cheese and she spread two on each half of her bagel, the cream cheese so thick and so viscous. I saw her coming to sit next to me and knew there was no escape. She had braces at the time and as she devoured her bagel, caked in her brackets formed a thick, chunky layer of cream cheese. Even after breakfast, she reeked of it. But wait, it gets worse. When she saw that she had cream cheese left over, she took her finger and spooned it directly into her mouth.

Thus, my fear was born. My family and friends think it’s hilarious to make fun of me for it. On the weekends if I sleep too late, my little brother takes the cream cheese into my room and holds the container open right in front of my face so I have no choice but to inhale it. I wish I was kidding.

As absurd as it seems, I genuinely am afraid. I’d swim with sharks before I’d let those condiments hit my taste buds. It bothers me tremendously when people try to force them on me or make fun of me for my fear, so please, show some respect when someone reveals their phobia.

No person I’ve ever met feels this same fear, and there are often many things I stand alone on. If you want to hear more about me against the majority, check out my blog every other Friday for a new entry on the web version of Inklings.