Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Man and the Restaurant… A Parable

There once was a man who found a very nice restaurant. The food was good. The service was fast. The other patrons were friendly. He decided that it was his favorite restaurant and went there every week. Every Sunday morning, he went there. “What better way to start one’s week than to have a tasty meal,” he thought as he drove to his favorite restaurant.

He liked the food so much that he ate as much of it as he could whenever he was there. As strange as it might seem to people who eat every day (and even more so for those that eat three times a day), this man only ate when he was at his favorite restaurant. Every Sunday morning he ate and ate and ate, but for the rest of the week he starved. Once in a while he would go to the restaurant on a Wednesday night where he’d get a little snack and that would help tide him over until Sunday. Some of the restaurant’s patrons would gather together, eat in their homes and talk about their favorite recipes; the man was invited but never went. He said he was much too busy for that and he wasn’t comfortable eating when just a few people were around. So for the most part, he was a once-a-week eater. And if he happened to go on vacation or if he was sick or if he simply overslept on Sunday morning, then he wouldn’t go to the restaurant for two weeks or maybe more.

If you happen to be one of those people who eat every day (or even three times a day), then you might not be aware of this fact: once-a-week eating can leave a person very hungry. Moreover, if a person skips eating all together for a week or two, then one becomes quite famished indeed. It’s hard to maintain one’s strength when you only eat one meal a week. It’s easy to become grumpy when you only eat once in a while. So not surprisingly, the man started losing his strength and getting a little grumpy.

He went to the restaurant manager and said, “Sir, I’ve been coming to this restaurant for a long time now, but I am starving! I am losing my strength and my wife says I’m getting grumpy.”

The restaurant manager was taken aback by that statement (not that he was grumpy, but surprised that he was starving). The manager told the man that the restaurant had many patrons that had been coming to the establishment for years and were quite satisfied and filled. So he asked him about his daily eating routine on the six days when he was not at the restaurant. “Do you eat a good breakfast? What do you normally eat at lunch time? Tell me about your dinner habits?”

The man quickly replied, “Oh I never eat at home--only here. And quite frankly, I am not being fed enough here. I might have to find another restaurant to eat at-- one where I can eat and eat and eat and be full all week long.”

The restaurant manager said, “I am unaware of such an eatery. There are many fine restaurants and some serve excellent food, but if you only eat once a week even if it is the best restaurant in the world, with a well-known chef and most efficient waiters, you will still be hungry by the end of the week. You really need to eat something every day.”

The man had plenty of excuses why he only ate at the restaurant once a week. He was much too busy to prepare himself a meal. His home cooking wasn’t the same as the restaurant’s entrĂ©es. He never seemed to get anything out of the cookbook when he read it on his own. And he concluded that if the restaurant manager couldn’t promise a more filling once-a-week meal, then he would have to go to the restaurant down the street.

And that is exactly what he did.

Every Sunday (when he wasn’t on vacation or sick or simply sleeping in) he woke up and went to the restaurant down the street, received a good meal and then went on his way. The man was starving most of week, getting grumpier and grumpier, losing strength and thinking if only he could find the perfect restaurant with a once-a-week meal then he would never be hungry again. A friend at work told him that the restaurant in the next town over had good meals, a nice manager and very friendly patrons; maybe he’ll try that one next week.