Friday, March 14, 2008

Good Eats

Food is a big deal where I work. For a while, I thought it was because the partners were incredibly canny, and knew that the best way to win our sheer, unquestioning loyalty was to provide us with an endless supply of free soda, Cheez-its, and goldfish crackers, with birthday cake at the end of each month and sugary breakfast treats on Fridays…but as time has passed, I’ve come to realize that it’s not nearly that complicated. They don’t provide us with delicious goodies because we like it -- they provide it because they like it.

There’s something kind of awesome about that.

Fridays, as I mentioned, are when we get sugary breakfast goodness. Generally, this comes in the form of donuts, although in the past year this has widened to incorporate juice, fruit, chocolate milk, bagels, muffins, coffee cake, and -- on certain glorious days -- hard-boiled eggs. There’s a weird hierarchy to what gets eaten first: eggs, bagels, and the more exotic donuts -- the old-fashioneds, the maple bars, the crullers -- get nabbed first, while it generally takes about half the day for the fruit, the basic donuts, and the coffee cake to go. English muffins last the whole day, usually because someone takes a half-slice at some point and no one wants to eat the other half, and certain donuts never get eaten at all.

These are the strange donuts, the mystery donuts, the ones that always end up in the box even though no one is entirely sure why. These are the sprinkled donuts, the holiday donuts with violently Technicolor frosting, the donuts with odd, unknown filling that everyone is a little afraid to eat. These are the donuts that make everything else look good in comparison: “What, eat the pink one? I...I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just eat this napkin instead. Mmm. Napkin.”

Sometimes, someone actually makes a go of it. They’ll cut one of the reject donuts in half, then in half again, because everyone knows that it doesn’t count if you only eat a quarter. They’ll take a deep breath and bring it to their lips, pop it in, chew, chew some more, and the look on their face will become something out of a Greek tragedy, an expression of unspeakable sadness and regret. The remainder of the reject donut will sit until some poor sugar-deprived soul wanders in and contemplates it -- maybe? maybe? everyone knows it doesn’t count if you only eat a quarter -- and the whole process will begin anew.

No one, however, eats the filled donuts.

Some things are too horrible to contemplate.

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