Sometime around Christmas I went out to eat with some old-time old-school friends that I hadn't seen for a while. We chose a Mexican restaurant (and the food was amazing).
I got a massive amount of burritos, tostadas, rice, beans, chips, queso, and I forget what else for only $10.95. Everyone else got a similar bounty for their bucks.
My friends at the table are not religious. They're not even spiritual. But one of them said "For this food at this price, I feel like a prayer of some kind is in order."
All eyes turned in my direction....
Here's what I improvised, or at least my rough memory of it. It owes more than a little to Leonard Reed's immortal "I, Pencil" essay.
No heads were bowed. No eyes were closed. I wasn't talking to god or gods. It's just what I wanted people to know, and what I hoped we all felt:
"We're grateful for this food. For the farmers who grew it, for the cattlemen who fed it, and for the workers who harvested it.
Let us not forget the factory owners who processed it, none of whom knew that we would be here eating today. May we always remember to be grateful for the truckers and warehouse workers who handled the shipping and transport, despite them not even knowing our names.
May we never forget the tremendous risk undertaken by anyone who tries to open and run a restaurant. And we are grateful for the cooks, the wait staff, the bus boys, and the cleaning crew.
All of those hard-working wonderful people accomplished this miracle on our behalf for the price of $10.95 each.
May we all be free from rent-seekers who would interject themselves, uninvited, into this process.
May everyone involved in our exchanges believe that they have gotten the best of every deal, and may we all live our lives in a way that encourages others to trade their dishes for our dollars."
(The last part in italics wasn't in the original prayer. I just thought of it, and considered it too good to leave out.)