I recently got into a debate over whether dueling could be considered ethical. It was the kind of debate you only get into when you start discussing philosophy late at night with people you just met, which is one reason I like philosophy so much. What else will get you in a no-holds-barred fight about the epistemological implications of reality television (translation: are the Kardashians making us stupider, or do we just feel stupider for having watched them?). But, really, dueling? Surely we can all agree on that, right?
And then I got to thinking, which is an unfortunate side effect of philosophy, and I wondered–could there be a place for dueling in modern society? And then I got hungry, which is another side effect of philosophy, especially when done at 2 AM, and I sought revelation in that temple of modern worship, the refrigerator. Even the knottiest metaphysical conundrum becomes easier to unravel when you’ve had a nice sandwich. Left-over chicken breast with mustard, maybe, or a nice peanut butter and jelly…
Oh, no. New and much more pressing conundrum: all I had was spray cheese and whipped cream. Oh, I also had all sorts of healthy ingredients with which I could have cooked any number of dishes, but that’s not what you want at two in the morning, is it? You want something easy, preferably unhealthy, possibly something past its expiration date. Or chips. No self-respecting philosopher cooks at two in the morning! What could I do with spray cheese and a can of whipped cream?
That’s when it hit me, an idea so big it answered both my questions at once. Question 1: Is there a place for dueling in modern society? Question 2: What could I do with spray cheese and a can of whipped cream? Answer to both: it’s obvious! This is how we can fight modern-day duels: with aerosolized edibles! It resolves questions of honor while simultaneously helping you clean out your pantry. So much quicker and less expensive than lawsuits, plus you’ve got a tasty snack for after. Well, you do if you pick the whipped cream.
The entire code duello fell into place after that epiphany. The person challenged has choice of foodstuffs, but the challenger can reject the choice if the challenger presents medical documentation of an allergy to the selection. Seconds will ensure that the weapons have not expired (it is recommended, but not required, that all duel-related edibles be purchased no more than three days before the date of the duel and still retain all tabs and plastic rings). Cooking spray may be used in the event of a post-holiday spray food shortage, and it is acceptable to use well-shaken cans of soda if both parties agree, but no person of honor should ever profane beer in this manner. Unless it’s PBR, in which case, spray away.
When aiming the chosen comestible, one must avoid the face and neck. The best practice is to wear about one’s person a set of appropriate agreed-upon targets, such as strawberries or crackers, the choice of targets being dependent upon what food will be aimed at them. It is recommended against using ice cream for this purpose as the target items will tend to become difficult to distinguish upon melting. The first participant to hit each of his opponent’s targets with the spray food wins the duel. Either participant may forfeit at any time by eating his remaining targets. It is considered bad form to continue firing while your opponent is still chewing.
I think this could revolutionize modern society. Who wouldn’t want to watch a couple of supposed adults attacking each other with spray cheese? We could televise the duels, have commentators discuss the relative merits of name-brand vs. store-brand and the strategic placement of crackers. Then we could have late-night philosophy debates over what’s making us dumber: dueling with spray food or keeping up with the Kardashians. Any resulting quarrels could be resolved by dueling or, in the alternative, attempting to keep up with the Kardashians.
But if the Kardashians decide to duel each other with edible spray paint (in gold, of course, while naked), I’m not responsible for the resulting global collapse of meaning, logic, and reason. In fairness to me, I’m pretty sure that’s already happened.