I must be desperate for content. I spent some time last week fulfilling my “25 Random Things” Facebook viral meme obligations. I am reposting that list here, for the benefit of those three readers of mine who are not yet on Facebook. And to make it look like I’ve written twice as much as I really have.
25 Random Things about Me (Breakfast Edition)
1. I once covered an entire wall of my apartment with hundreds of empty cereal boxes. This was before my town had recycling and I was sick of throwing away all those cardboard boxes (roughly four a week). So I built a wall. I like to think it was strong enough to keep out even the Kool-Aid Man (who, I should remind readers, was not a man at all).
2. I used to live near a General Mills Cheerios factory. Cheerios taste better than the factory smell would lead you to believe.
3. I’ve always felt that I had a special connection with Bob Evans, the man. The origins of this connection are hazy, but it must have something to do with my grandmother and scrapple.
4. Studying abroad in Russia, I had cold pickled fish for breakfast every day for four weeks. It was the USSR back then and I felt that I was somehow doing my part to maintain Soviet austerity. Many of my fellow Americans skipped out on breakfast, instead waiting hours in line at the single McDonald’s in Moscow to stock up on bagfuls of Big Macs, which they would then parcel out, cold and soggy, over the space of several days.
5. My brothers and I rarely had any kind of sweetened cereal. But every once in a while, Lucky Charms would magically be there in the pantry. I wonder now what were those special occasions that prompted my parents to buy them.
6. I find it strangely comforting that the bits of fruit in any flavor of Quaker Instant Oatmeal are apple. Apples & Cinnamon, of course. But also Peaches & Cream, Strawberries & Cream — they’re all pieces of apple. It reminds me of the 11″ GI Joes, all made from the same mold with simply different configurations of facial hair and scars.
7. I will burn my passport the day that there are more Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts in Spain than churrerías. Why bother traveling at all anymore?
8. I can’t eat quiche lorraine without thinking of Uriah Heep’s 1972 classic “Sweet Lorraine.” And then I think of their ode to Arthurian legend, “The Wizard.” Then I think of Gandalf. Which makes me think of Sir Ian McKellan. After that, the links in the chain grow fuzzy, but somehow I end up thinking about Chuck E. Cheese’s hound dog friend, Jasper T. Jowls.
9. Bagels did not exist in northeastern Ohio when I was growing up. I had never even heard the word until college. And lox? Forget about it. As far as I knew, that was some strange Dr. Suess beast.
10. I often wonder what Bigfoot eats for breakfast. Does the Missing Link understand the concept of brunch?
11. The latest (or depending where you stand, earliest) that I’ve ever been at an IHOP is 3:37am.
12. My in-depth qualitative research has proven that the best diners in America are to be found in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. They serve breakfast 24/7 and they usually have “Star” in their name.
13. I have a can of Spam from 1987. While technically this should go in the Meat Edition of 25 Random Things about Me, I must point out that I often ate fried Spam for breakfast in the eighties.
14. I once broke into a friend’s dorm room and removed all the marshmallows from his Lucky Charms, one marshmallow at a time. He had his revenge by clipping my car’s brake cable. Ironically I crashed into a Perkins.
15. You will never convince me that there is not a food in this world that cannot be made better with a generous sprinkling of Betty Crocker Baco’s brand bacon bits.
16. Foolish curs, that run winking into the mouth of a Russian bear and have their heads crushed like rotten apples! You may as well say, that’s a valiant flea that dare eat his breakfast on the lip of a lion.
17. 17, for the number of times in my life I have poured orange juice into my cereal bowl.
18. When I was nine I once at a dozen donuts in one setting. I’m not talking tiny donuts or donut holes. I’m talking big mothereffing donuts, with frosting and filling and glaze and sprinkles.
19. In grade school, when the Mikey-from-Life-commercials-died-of-exploding-Pop-Rocks rumor raced around the school, I punched my neighbor in the stomach just because.
20. My favourite Pink Floyd song is “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” from the album Atom Heart Mother. It should be your favourite Pink Floyd song too. Interestingly enough, this song was the first of Pink Floyd’s famous breakfast trilogy cycle, the second and third parts being “Have a Cigar” and “Young Lust.”
21. An old roommate, Matt Federer, taught me to use blueberry muffin mix as pancake batter. Because of this, Matt later went on to win $30 million in the Ohio Lottery.
22. I feel sad that my cats eat the same food in the morning that they eat every other hour of the day. Yet I would happily eat breakfast myself for every meal. This is called Cultural Relativism. Or American Exceptionalism. I forget which.
23. After my first communion, I was deathly afraid for several years that I would accidentally break the no-food-one-hour-before-Eucharist decree. Jesus, I was told, likes to have my belly all to himself.
24. In the summer of 2000 I drove from Philadelphia to the Nantahala National Forest in western North Carolina, hot on the trail of the fugitive bomber Eric Rudolph. For three days I camped in the same forest as Rudolph and ate baked beans cold from a can for breakfast.
25. No other meal comes close to the sheer variety of two-dimensional foods that breakfast affords: pancakes, Pop Tarts, sausage patties, French toast. All food that can be mailed in a flat envelope, should the need arise.