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Chocolate or Vanilla?

When I first started at The Mac Groups, we had a staff meeting and some way or another the question came up: Chocolate or Vanilla?

We will have peace...

We will have peace…

I think everyone said chocolate. Except me.

Don’t misunderstand, though, I didn’t say vanilla.

The question is completely arbitrary. I understand that, by themselves, one might taste better than the other to an individual’s particular palate.

I will even grant that, throughout history the two have been pitted against one another, whether it be in literature or in the whole light vs. dark, yin & yang thing that the two have going on. The same goes for lions and tigers:

Historically, tigers have won every recorded encounter

Historically, tigers have won every recorded encounter… usually with one quick swipe.

However, the two things are flavors, food ingredients and beans.

How come we don’t ask: Chocolate or vegetal? Vanilla or spicy? Earthy or creamy?

Why don’t we ask: Cocoa powder or salt? Vanilla extract or flour?

Why not ask: Green beans or cocoa beans? Vanilla beans or kidney beans?

Despite the irrelevance of these questions, “chocolate or vanilla?” seems to be asked commonly. And, typically, if you answer ‘vanilla,’ the chocolate people label you as boring. That seems even more arbitrary.

We live in a world of far more than two ice cream flavors. Maybe our ancestors once existed in a place where chocolate or vanilla were the only two choices at the ice cream stand. Not anymore.

For the untrained eye, this is an example of an ice cream stand menu.

For the untrained eye, this is an example of an ice cream stand menu.

So, I refuse to answer. The question creates a false dichotomy. It assumes that, at any given moment, the only two flavors that a person could choose between are chocolate or vanilla. Either that, or it assumes that these are the penultimate flavors, and that it’s only obvious that they are the two from which a person would choose.

I wish someone would ask, “What flavor(s) do you prefer?”

To which I’d answer: that of a great cigar complemented by single malt scotch: