LIFE IS A SMORGASBORD – Article Example
of the of the Submitted Summary of Dan Lewis’ ‘Life is a Smorgasbord’ Introduction Dan Lewis’ ‘Life is a Smorgasbord’ is a sarcastic view of life and its choices. The author’s main character-who is not identified by name, but is most probably the writer himself- comments on life, its choices and confusions, and why very few people make a success of it. The author is disdainful of dining in a buffet style restaurant with such a wide variety of choices that the mind boggles. For him, it is the recipe for disaster. However he says that if he were given the chance to live life again and again and return each time with a clean plate- meaning no past emotional baggage- he would welcome and enjoy the experience.
The author or main character of this piece seems to be a quiet minded introspective sort of person that prefers peace and quiet in his life. He would rather enjoy a secluded corner where he could ruminate on life and its purpose and how best it could be lived by eliminating the extraneous bits. He is not really anti-social but does not see the point of family gatherings where there is a lot of noise and confusion. Also he remarks that at the Hometown Buffet there is so much of choice that he is flabbergasted and when the cashier asks him how his meal was, his answer is ‘Confusing’(Lewis,1999, 296). He could not avoid attending his Aunt Elaine’s 50th birthday party and tries to make the most of it. The first thing that happens is that all 21 of the family members are stuck in line behind three busloads of women bowlers from back East. Then when they finally make it to the buffet tables, he is overwhelmed by the array of ‘mass produced cuisine flowing out of a stainless steel cornucopia’. Our main character has the fear of taking too much of just one item and missing out on all the others, so he often ends up taking up a variety of side dishes that do not combine well with one another. On this occasion he manages to combine Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Cajun and American food. The whole episode finally makes him realize that life is like a smorgasbord itself, with so many choices. He compares himself to a schizophrenic relative Sybil in trying to feed so many personalities (Lewis, 1999, 296). At the same time, he wonders how other people make choices out of the stupendous array of dishes available, and what drives their decisions. In the end, he comes to the realization that we each have been allotted a different amount of time by the Creator, yet devoting our lives to one choice or one career path prevents us from taking other paths in life.
The author in this piece is displaying a common human feeling of regret at not being able to experience all the choices that life gives. It is not greed but curiosity. There are too many choices and too little time. We must all make our choices and stick with them if we are to accomplish something in life. Yet the author would not mind being reincarnated and coming back to enjoy the variety of experiences that life has to offer, with an ‘empty plate’ or no emotional baggage attached from previous lives to make it simpler.
Lewis, Dan. “Life is a Smorgasbord.” The Writers Way. Jack Rawlins. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999, pp 295-297.