Let’s set a scene here, shall we? Someone is having over friends and family for a book club or a baby shower, or whatever other event that requires a cheese tray filled with moderately priced cheeses. The hostess brings out the cheese tray lined with sharp Cheddar, Brie, goat cheese, and whatever else, along with fancy crackers and, if she’s really classy, some nice salami or Italian chorizo. The hostess places the tray on the table and one of the guests says…
Guest: Oh, what a neat cheese tray! Shaped like America. I like it! But wait–why are there three little hearts in the northeast there? That can’t be because it’s where you’re from. You were born in Phoenix, weren’t you?
Hostess: No, no. The three little hearts are there to memorialize the September 11 attacks. One for New York, one for Shanksville, and one for Washington, D.C.
Guest: Um…where did you get that? A late night infomercial?
Hostess: Oh, no, not at all! I bought it at the very site of the September 11 attacks! The 9/11 Museum in New York City. They have a lovely and not at all out of place gift shop.
Guest: But…why? Why do you want to remind yourself of 9/11 while hosting parties or get togethers? Specifically when serving cheese? It just doesn’t seem like the right place–or appropriate at all.
Hostess: Because, you ignorant, communist slut, we should never forget. Never. Not when we’re listening to the national anthem, not when we’re driving, not when we’re pooping, and certainly not when we’re eating cheese. You see, this cheap, tacky cheese tray reminds me that there are those of us who are no longer here, able to enjoy cheese, like you and me. They gave their lives, which in part means they gave up eating cheese, for our freedom. So when I eat cheese–salty, creamy, delicious cheese–I like to think about those who were incinerated by flaming jet fuel, crushed by collapsing buildings, and killed bravely while retaking a hijacked plane after having tearful goodbye phone calls with their loved ones. When I bite into a sharp, bitter piece of Cheddar, I remember the firefighters who, clad in yellow just like this cheese here, charged into burning buildings, selflessly rescuing thousands from certain death, and eventually sacrificing their own lives in one of the most horrific ways imaginable.
Guest: We, uh, like to enjoy our cheese in very different ways. Listen, I believe in honoring the victims and heroes of 9/11, too. They’re great Americans. I just–I just don’t think “while eating cheese” is necessarily when we should do it. It’s just weird.
Hostess: Well, I guess I’m just a better American than you.
Guest: I mean…I guess?
Hostess: Now, do you still have a problem with my September 11 Memorial Cheese Platter, or do I have to ask you to leave my double wide?
*Hostess smugly walks away*
Guest: Freakin’ crazy person.
Count me as one of the hundreds of millions of Americans who has no problem honoring the victims of 9/11. This cheese tray, though, is worse than those commemorative, “collectible” gold coins you see sold on commercials either during a break in a 4 a.m. showing of “Porky’s” on Comedy Central or while watching the History Channel after lunch. It’s just trashy. Don’t bum me out while I’m eating cheese. I’m already thinking about how thankful I am for my freedom and how I’m grateful for my life, because that’s what happens EVERY time I eat cheese. It’s cheese!
Thankfully, the 9/11 Museum is no longer selling the cheese trays in its gift shop, due to a whole lot of complaints from people who also thought equating cheese to horrific and heroic death was inappropriate, if not outright crass.
Get it together, 9/11 Museum.