My friend Janusz said the other day as I was telling him the sad news that the Krystal across from my house had closed, “You know, you’re one of the few people I know who freely admits to liking those hamburgers.”
And I’m not sure why, but he’s right. Among our group of friends, Krystals are not something that you admit that like. Now, granted, there are many good reasons not to eat junk food, but I’m not talking about that. People who line up at other drive-throughs, smoke cigarettes like chimneys, and drink themselves into oblivion somehow feel comfortable making fun of the little square bun with mustard, pickle, and onions.
In fact, I was once in a Krystal in a ritzy part of town. I was behind these two families who spent the entire waiting time talking about all the unfortunate coincidences that led them there and how they never ate at Krystal. I almost expected one of them to say she had been put in a trance and had no idea how she’d ended up in line.
Not me. I love everything about Krystal. I love the steamed buns. I love the chili pups. I think the fries are some of the fast food’s best.
But my love for these little hamburgers reminds me of how easy it is to become snobs about the strangest things. Classical music buffs often think popular music beneath them. Alternative music fans look down on basic top 40 groups. And some alternative groups are cooler than others. The same goes for books and movies. And sometimes it seems that it never stops: that everyone needs some reason to look down on others.
So here is my manifesto. I will eat my Krystals with pride. I will buy my clothes at Target if they fit and be quite content. I will listen to any music that makes me happy, whether or not it is approved by my musician friends. And, yes, I’ll read some George Eliot but probably follow it up with a mystery novel. And while I love “Downton Abbey,” I will still watch the episode of America’s Next Top Model where some woman gets a haircut and cries about it.
I like to think of myself as well-rounded, but if others look down on my choices, so be it. As long as I’m not hurting anyone, then my choices should be my business.
So if see you in the Krystal line this weekend, just beware. I’ll shout out a great “hello” and won’t listen to any excuses about why you’re there.