Nearly two thousand years ago, Athenaeus of Naucratis, in his Deipnosophistae, explicitly equated solitary eaters with criminals (“solitary eater and housebreaker!”), and just this year, the historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto, in Near a Thousand Tables, echoed Athenaeus’ condemnation almost word for word: “that public enemy, the solitary eater.” The fact is, eating in groups — along with speech, writing and warfare — is among the most elemental and universal expressions of humanity.
We solitary folk are truly the most oppressed people in history. If it weren’t for the fact that all we really want is to be left the fuck alone and not be press-ganged into everyone else’s idea of a good time, we would make one hell of a victim-identity group. But that would mean having to band together and interact with other people. Eh, not worth it.
(Since it seems likely that Browner will eventually see this post and think too hard about it, let me lay it out for him: Hi, Jesse. I didn’t actually read your book; my inamorata did. I just glanced through the beginning of it and read the chapter about Hitler, which was interesting. This excerpt just happened to provide the raw material for a little joke based on a couple of my recurring themes here. Best wishes.)