An American Crisis: Your Subway Footlong May Be Shorter Than You Think

America hates to come up short.

It’s built on cliches about winning being the only thing, second being the same as last and small being extremely ugly.

In America, it doesn’t take a village, it takes a massive city full of people armed with assault rifles.

That’s how we get it done, baby. You get in our way, you make our day.

That’s why so many American cities are in shock today. Some nosy foreigner in Australia decided to walk into one of America’s finest establishments — Subway — with a ruler.

He began to measure Subway’s $5 dollar foot-long monstrosity. He discovered that its size had been exaggerated.

Still, this was Australia. They like to drink there. It’s an excellent time of year for nocturnal barbie parties. Perhaps someone came into work hungover and forgot to turn the oven on to the right temperature.


So, once the accusation appeared on the nation’s noticeboard — Facebook — Americans rushed to their local Subways, tape measure in one hand, the other ready to catch heads dropped in despair.

The New York Post shook in somber disbelief on discovering that the majority of the ones it measured in the home of large pockets and mouths were only between 11 and 11-and-a-half inches long.

Subway initially declared that the reason for the discrepancy is that the bread is baked fresh daily. No, it might not taste like it, but it is. And therefore, well, therefore what? Subway muttered that, indeed, its restaurants may not be baking up to its heightened specifications.

Then it declared it would investigate. Could it be that its specifications just aren’t specific enough?

But, bigger than that, what does it say when a national icon is diminished? And I am not specifically referring to Lance Armstrong or Oprah Winfrey here.

If the foot-long was falling short, what other aspects of America might not be as big as they claim?

Mariah Carey? Hollywood? The Gun Lobby?

There is nothing that concerns an American more than the belief that the nation’s exceptionally larger-than-life nature is a shrinking phenomenon.

America is an ad. It’s bigger and it’s better. You have to try it.

But if it’s suddenly shown to be (even slightly) smaller, Americans find it hard to cope.

It’s the sort of feeling experienced by members of certain Dream Teams that saunter over to the Olympics and get beaten by Puerto Rico and Lithuania.

How could this be? Didn’t America invent the Olympics? Aren’t we always supposed to win the most golds, silvers and hearts?

It’s the sort of feeling American tourists get when they arrive in some ancient town full of Greek ruins and discover they don’t have a McDonalds.

Isn’t everyone supposed to be awed by the sheer all-encompassing awesomeness of our nation?

Doesn’t everyone look up to us, except for some isolated leftie Europeans like the French, who make their people pay 75% in taxes, make movies no one understands and have unspeakable sexual relations with strangers in public parks?

Americans would rather be called stupid than small. We would rather be called crude than small. We would rather be deemed to be anything other than a lesser version of what we are, good or bad.

The only thing we dilute are the decisions made in Congress and the wine in certain steakhouses.

To be the biggest means to be the best. That’s why our companies always want to be biggest. That’s why we’ll merge any number of banks together, so that they have more numbers than the numbers of any other bank.

That’s why we’ll build bigger planes and bigger stadiums and bigger people to play our national sports.

That’s why we have bigger mouths. Why can’t the French understand that? It’s not gratuitous, overbearing loudness. It’s a constant striving for excellence in communication.

It’s true that we are sometimes driven by money. In general, only when we’re awake. So it could be that Subway was making its Footlongs a little Footloose because it needs to deliver bigger profits.

A true American would understand that and therefore have his bottom perched sharply on the horns of a moral dilemma.

Which is more important: bigger sandwiches or bigger profits?

We need to hold a special conference to discuss this. But it’ll have to be a big one. It’ll have to be a Million Footlong March.

You’ll come, won’t you? There’ll be free food. All you can eat.