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Occasionally, through no fault of my own, I've eaten tomato products that were served to me outside my home. I remember one case, in which there was a light smear of ketchup already on my hamburger. Another involved a "Spinach Pesto Lasagna", chosen over the regular Tomato Meat Lasagna, that turned out to be a tomato-sauced meat-free lasagna with a spinach-pesto-marked "X" on its surface, squeezed from a pastry tube!
One does not expect to be handed a pre-sauced hamburger, or for Pesto Lasagna to be a marinara-sauced affair. I could have rejected either dish and demanded a tomato-free meal in its place, but I ate both. On these occasions, I'd say I took in about 1/2 teaspoon of ketchup and a tablespoon-and-a-half of marinara sauce, respectively. And I'm the wiser, should I ever again find myself in similar situations, to be alert to such possibilities. Simple, right?
Though I'm not alone in my liberality, I sense there are hypercompliant types who'd easily send back the burger or the lasagna, demanding the tomato-free expectation be met. These folks are willing to wait another 15 minutes or more for the replacement to be prepared and served them, as if that teaspoon or tablespoon might derail the trajectory of their health's improvement. It is this notion of the trajectory, I believe, that we find at the crux of the Compliance issue: Does a small bump in the road upset the whole journey?
It's a spiritual matter, actually. For some, it's as if permitting the teaspoon of ketchup to enter one's mouth were to be as concertedly avoided as some grievous sin that would seriously compromise one's entire life of faith! (And one would hope that their vigilance re: "Avoids" would indeed carry over to their moral life; likewise resilience in the face of failure.) It does have an almost "superstitious" quality, like the tennis player who is convinced he lost the match because, back in the 5th game of the first set, his second serve wasn't preceded by four bounces.
Did the ketchup distract and derail my general compliance? Not at all. A mere blip on the screen. Did it lead me to crave ketchup on all future burgers? No.
Sometimes perspective is called for. Laughter is good, too.
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