Bring Her Back: The Grilled Cheese, Obama, and Ex-Girlfriends

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by Joey Grantham

I’m no stranger to change. I voted for Obama. I wore an Obama t-shirt in the streets of Seattle on the night he was elected. I saw a girl with “Obama” written on her forehead in black Sharpie. I did a lot of jumping and sweating. I cheered. Which leads me to the grilled cheese. I mean, The Grilled Cheese. Actually, I think I may have skipped over a few things between change and cheese. Because it’s more interesting and appetizing, let’s first take at the history of that sensuous sandwich.

    In the 1920s, Devin Smith created, or according to Wikipedia “invented,” the grilled cheese.

    That’s about it. That’s all I really want to go into with regard to the sandwich’s history. Because the sandwich speaks for itself. That’s how powerful it is. When one eats a grilled cheese one doesn’t think about history. No, that would be all wrong. One doesn’t imagine our forefathers, (or is it our four fathers?), eating the sandwich whilst fighting for liberty. What would be the point? If that were the case then that would probably imply that the sandwich was not very good. When I eat a grilled cheese I think about the bread. I think about the crust. I think about the cheese. I think about maybe dipping it into a puddle of ketchup. I think about dipping it into a bowl of tomato soup. The sandwich gives me a chance to lose myself, if only for a moment.

    Which brings us back to change. I arrived at Bennington College for the Spring term after  spending a week in New York City. I pulled up in front of my house in a car full of kids, a scared dachshund sitting on my lap, shaking. Little did I know, I should have been scared, too. Have you ever returned to a place you call home to find that something feels off? Your mother doesn’t look at you the same way. Your father doesn’t treat you like a boy anymore. Your dog is able to speak and translate her cognitive thoughts into well-crafted sentences. I sensed a change on campus. I could feel it in the air. It was colder. I looked around me and I saw snow. I thought that that must be the answer to the cold. But I was wrong.

    It was only after I waltzed into the Student Center for a snack that I realized why I felt such a strange tingling sensation in the left hemisphere of my brain. Glancing down at the flimsy paper menu caked in dried ketchup, I realized what was missing. The grilled cheese was no more. It felt like when I was in high school and I looked at a picture of my ex-girlfriend. I remember wondering what I saw in her during those few months (or was it just a month?) that we dated. That is how I felt about the menu in that moment and that is how I will continue to feel about it until someone takes a stand brings that beloved, simple sandwich back. I think they are pretty easy to make.