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The Happy Medium


By  Leon Scott Baxter

I miss small, medium, and large. Life was so much easier when we had only three sizes. My biggest size complaint is with the fast-food industry. Last week, I entered a local burger place and asked for a small drink. “We don’t have smalls,” the fellow behind the counter informed me. “What — did you run out of the cups?” “No,” he answered. “We just don’t sell smalls.” “Okay, what’s the smallest you’ve got?” I asked. “Medium.” “How can medium be your smallest?” I asked, as a crowd began to form behind me. “To have a ‘medium,’ there must be something smaller than that. That’s the definition of medium — it is between small and large. Do you have a large?” “No,” the fellow said. “We have extra large.” “How can you have extra large if you don’t have large?” “We dropped the large, sir, because more people were ordering the extra large,” he said. “Let me see if I’ve got this straight. Your medium is your small, and your extra large is your large. So, you just have two drink sizes?” “No sir,” he said, brandishing what looked like a horse-feeding bucket. “We also have king size.” “No small. No medium. No large,” I confirmed. “Correct. Medium. Extra large. King size.” “Let me explain why I’m having difficulty with this concept,” I said. “Take for instance, the extra large. You can’t really call it extra large because you don’t have a large to add extra to. You could conceivably call it an extra medium, because you do actually carry medium-sized drink cups. Yet, come to think of it, your medium is really nothing more than a misnamed small. So, actually you’d be best off calling it an extra small, rather than an extra large.” “So, what size Coke would you like, sir?” the fellow asked me once I finished my speech. “Forget the drink,” I said. “Just get me a large fry.” “Would you like that super-sized?”

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