Monday, October 10, 2005

In Praise of Junk Food

The downside of junk foods of all kinds has been widely publicized. Too many calories, too much fat, trans fats, cholesterol, acids, and then there's that matter of disappearing union activists in Columbia.

But the great virtue of junk food is rarely mentioned.


The great joy of junk food is that you know precisely what you're going to get. Delicious, yes, but dependably delicious. Every time. Every Big Mac, every bag of M&Ms, every can of Coke. Each one as tasty as the last.

How many other things in life are so reliable? Friends, teachers, store clerks, banks -- all can be wonderful, but all apt to let you down when you need them. The VCR fails to tape, the CD is scratched, the waiter is a moron, the authorities are small-minded, even the sun often hides behind the clouds. Unless you really need it to rain.

Yes, junk food will clog your arteries and mess up your blood sugar and make you fat. But it never promised not to. It only promised quick gustatory satisfaction. And that it does.

Every time.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Eccentric City (warning: naughty word included)

The following is a fair approximation of a recent converstation between an Air Canada flight attendant and myself.

FA: Would you like something to drink, sir?

Me: Yes, could I please have an unopened can of Coke?

FA: (puzzled) You just want me to open it?

Me: No, I want you NOT to open it.

FA: (still puzzled) You want one that's already opened?

Me: No, I want one that's never been opened.

FA: (pause) Oh, okay.

Now, I don't fault the flight attendant for not getting what I wanted, right away, and I give her credit for happily giving me what I asked for once she knew what that was.

But it did make me wonder what I would have said if she had asked me why I wanted an unopened can of pop. The long answer is something like this: I like to have the can because if they just pour you a cup, you hardly get any, especially if there's ice, AND the can is better than the cup on the plane because it's less likely to spill, AND I like the feel of the can in my hand, AND I enjoying popping the little tab at the top because I like the sound as well as the pleasant aroma.

But you can't explain all that on the plane, now can you?

So what I would have said is this. Why do I want it that way? Because I'm an eccentric.

I was quite pleased when I thought of that, because it seems like a good way of explaining the vast number of strange elements of my character. Why do I divide my clothes into Tier 1 and Tier 2? Why do I insist on desserts with no fruit involved? Why do I carry my own lectern to class (and it's not a podium by the way)?

I'm an eccentric.

Eccentric is not crazy, of course. An eccentric is just someone who likes something a certain way and isn't too intimidated to suppress or hide that desire. I suspect that most people are closet eccentrics, they've just been to ashamed to admit it.

Well, I say no more. Say it with me. I'm eccentric, I'm here, get used to it, don't fuck with me.