Croissant

Croissant: (n) a rich, buttery, crescent-shaped roll of leavened dough or puff paste.

For the sake of our little essay I shall refer to him as Martin.

This is not his real name, but perhaps if the actual individual reads this, he can come to the conclusion that he’s Martin. Then I can tell a story without people making fun of him personally.

Boy, was that a useless preamble.

So let’s pretend like I’m starting again.

***

Martin was the kind of guy who loved to come up with new things to try and insisted it was the cutting-edge practice from “the coast.” I was never sure whether he meant the East Coast, the West Coast or some other coast I might not be familiar with.

Many years ago, Martin arrived at a brunch we had put together.

(We did not call it brunch at that time because the word was not yet invented. We called it “late breakfast.”)

Martin arrived with a box—the kind you get at a bakery and usually has a cake in it. While we were laying out our eggs, bacon, biscuits, gravy, cereal boxes and a little fruit here and there, Martin exploded into the room and dropped his box on the table, pushing back a jar of homemade marmalade.

He turned to the gathered souls and said:

“Save your appetite! I have got the thing to eat today.”

Well, we were all a little suspicious. Martin was known for providing oddities and insisting they were delicacies. If you don’t know the difference, an oddity only becomes a delicacy if it tastes real good.

For instance:

He was the first to bring jalapeno peppers—with no warning on how to survive them after consumption.

He brought calamari and waited until we had chewed on it for a while before revealing it was squid.

Of course, there was the time that he offered our first box of Muesli Cereal from “over there in the Scandinavian lands,” which we all tried.

We all resembled cows chewing their cud.

But on this day, his offering was a croissant, which he pronounced with as much of a phony French accent as he could muster. He told us that croissants were better than biscuits, superior to rolls, left toast in the dust and of course, forced cornbread back to the farm.

He brought enough for everyone, so we all indulged in our first croissants—which were scrumptious. (Well, some folks took a couple bites and reverted to their primordial biscuits.)

But they were flakey.

Not that different from Martin.

(And now I jest.)

Also, they were just chewy enough that they did a fairly decent impersonation of bagels (Martin’s contribution three months earlier).

I cannot lie:

We all felt a little continental eating our croissants, imagining the French people who may have made them.

Since that day, if offered toast, biscuit, bagel or croissant, I will tell you—bagel and croissant do top my list.

So even though I may have found Martin to be pretentious, overbearing, a bit self-righteous and a social bully, he did introduce me to things I might not have found as quickly on my own but have become intricate parts of my life.

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Cow

Cow: (n) the mature female of a bovine animal

Cow is a word. Cow is a concept. Cow is a picture.

Cow is an animal. Cow is a creature. Cows live on farms.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

A farm is a concept. It is also a word.

Cows hang out in barns. Barns have hay. It piles up in lofts.

Cows give milk. Milk makes cheese.

Cheese gives us something on our burger so the bacon sticks and doesn’t slide off.

Cows sometimes have a cottage where they make cheese. Cows have udders. These are ‘udderly’ large nipples.

We are not allowed to say ‘nipples,’ at least, not without giggling.

But you see, all of these are antiseptic visions of a cow. They are representations. They are promotable units which can be pandered off to the masses.

If you were actually to go to a farm which has a barn wherein dwells a cow, you would learn very quickly that they smell bad. (Either the barn or the cow—maybe even the farm.) It’s not the cow’s fault. Hygiene is not a primary concern. Crevices are difficult to reach.

Cows also chew their cud, which once again, sounds reasonably harmless unless you’re watching them swish it around in their mouths like some sort of gooey, slimy hockey puck.

Watching cows being milked may cure you of your desire for dairy.

Trying to communicate with a cow will certainly give you a parallel to parenting.

And note—a cow’s constant friends are hundreds of flies, which blow them continually, and not in a pleasant way.

We also acknowledge that cows make beef products like steak and hamburger. But sometimes it’s best to show up to the party a little bit late so you don’t have to view what goes into arranging the decorations.

I can continue to eat hamburger as long as I don’t have to think about cows. Matter of fact, I have thought about cows just about as much as I wish or would ever want to think about again.

If you want to contemplate cows more, you should probably Google them, or risk going out into the countryside and carefully walking through the pasture to interview one.

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Bacon

Bacon: (n) cured meat from the back of a pig.Dictionary B

Bacon is the religion of the fast food industry:

  • It is the communion which is needfully placed on the menu of every item.
  • It is the salvation for pink-slime hamburgers which would be rejected by the masses if standing alone.
  • It is the heaven we seek in pursuit of artery clogging and eternal life.

I have never seen a time in my life when bacon is so important to everyone. It’s the flavor, the crunch, the aftertaste, the texture, the sweetness, the saltiness and the fact that eating it is considered to be naughty that draws us deep into the hind quarters of the pig, for pleasure.

I am not immune.

It’s just that at my age, and being a male, I must opt for turkey bacon and convince myself that it resembles the “pig-out” product.

Of course, it does not.

Turkey bacon can perhaps slightly fool the taste buds, but when you pull it from the skillet or the microwave, there is that ever-present fragrance … of Thanksgiving morning.

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Avocado

Avocado: (n) a fruit with tough leathery skin and a large stone

For years the avocado has taken great grief for being ugly on the outside and then having a pit or stone that is much too large for its contents.dictionary with letter A

I really sympathize.

Even though my skin does not resemble an alligator, I am not horribly attractive on the exterior, and being rather obese, I occasionally will take some teasing, or worse, inconsiderate advice from the meandering masses.

I think the avocado would probably agree with me when I say that the problem is not with the oversized pit, but rather, the undersized fruit.

In my case, I have it figured this way: I am not really fat–it’s just that I was intended to be 8 feet tall. Consider it a mistake of creation or a mutation of evolution–whichever your preference tends to be.

Also the avocado suffers from the malady of occasionally being tasteless. You will find one that is sweet and absolutely delectable, but often it is as flat as bargain-brand mayonnaise.

So the only claim to fame for the avocado, as far as I know. is that it is one of those “perfect” foods.

In other words, if you found yourself trapped on a desert island and all that grew there were avocados and bananas, you could live a full, long and healthy life. You’d probably want to kill yourself on Day Nine for want of the bacon and chicken breast to go with your avocado sandwich, but medically you would be sound.

The thing I do like about an avocado is that it draws out one of the better human attributes: looking for something good to say. 

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Ate

Ate: (v) past tense of eatdictionary with letter A

“Eating” is not my problem.

“Ate” is my problem.

Merely thinking about eating or sitting down to a table, acquiring a plate, spoon and fork and looking at food, deciding what I’m going to partake of, is all part of the natural process of rejuvenating my body.

Having done that to an excess, stuck with not only unwanted calories but a conscience that seems to have the tenderness of a young Baptist Sunday School girl, becomes a torture to my soul. (I often wonder why that young Baptist little girl doesn’t show up before I eat things, to tell me how I should avoid them instead of arriving to taunt me with my sins of gluttony.)

I’m also accosted by a society that believes it has no responsibility for plumping us all up like Thanksgiving turkeys, to be slaughtered off by a myriad of ax-wielding disorders and diseases.

So I’m forced into a corner where two conflicting spirits are constantly battling over my mortal soul.

The first spirit is what I call the “what the hell” specter. For after all, I’ve survived a long time being fat, and how much extra life span am I going to gain by eating lettuce instead of smoked sausage? And my “what the hell” demon also asks if that extra extension of months or weeks is worth losing the flavor?

Then I have a little tiny spirit, somewhat dwarfed in comparison, who insists that any time I can acquire to extend my creativity and fellowship with humanity is well worth a bit of sacrifice over one plate of food.

It is a battle I occasionally win.

  • Sometimes I can look at what I ate for the day and believe it is normal, or maybe even capable of reducing my girth.
  • Often I can look at what I ate and professionally present to you exactly where I went astray, and tilted the scales–literally–to my detriment.

It is impossible to believe that either my willpower or our society will ever gain the compassion to free me from my obesity.

I have three recourses:

  1. I can try to win, one plate at a time.
  2. Eat my way into an early grave
  3. Or attempt to live off the grace of God…while convincing myself that bacon is healthy.

 

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Anti-racism

dictionary with letter AAnti-racism: (n) the policy of opposing racism and promoting racial tolerance.

It is cruel, insane and useless to walk up to a man having a heart attack, lying on a gurney and proffer, “You shouldn’t have eaten so much bacon.”

Warnings have to come at the right time, or they are either petty bitchiness or meaningless babble.

Anti-racism is similar to this. We all grew up in households where preferences were promoted. So it is ridiculous to think that we’re going to ease our way into a world where color doesn’t matter.

We must stop arresting the neighbors who live next door to the Bodega that was vandalized and start looking for the actual perpetrators.

What causes racism?

1. Too much emphasis on culture.

Matter of fact, I’m not comfortable with any emphasis on culture. When I begin to believe that the Chinese, the Africans, the Jews, the Arabs and the Europeans have different ways of looking at life, I am setting myself up to feel arrogant over my rendition.

2. Take away the stigma of loving who you want to love.

Even though we are willing to accept that the chimpanzee or ape is our ancestor, we are not able to procreate with one. Yet there is no human being of any color or ethnic origin who cannot pair off and make a baby. What a piece of hypocrisy.

Many people would be more willing to accept a gorilla as a neighbor than they are an Hispanic.

3. Be clean.

Start off on the basis that all of us were taught a certain amount of prejudice, which can explode into full-fledged bigotry.

The misconception in America is the belief that we have racism under control because we elected a black President.

First of all, President Obama may not be any more black than I am, since he had a white mother.

Secondly, what we choose to do publicly does not determine our soul. It is the truth that lies on our inward parts–our private notions–which carry the heart of our true beliefs.

When we realize that racism is just another piece of our immature nature which needs to be addressed and abandoned, we will actually go forward.

As the great writer once said, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, but now that I’ve become a man, I have put away childish things.”

 

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Again

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Again: (adv) another time; once more

It’s all about french fries.

For a very brief season, french fries lost their appeal–they became an afterthought: “Would you like fries with that?”

Having already selected my sandwich of choice and determined my milkshake preference, I had french fries thrust upon me by my server, giving me the sensation that they were trapped in the back, toasted brown, desperately lonely. Matter of fact, in that era, not much care was put into them.

They began to taste like fried sticks.

So you had to decide if you were gonna have french fries AGAIN.

You see, the trouble with the word “again” is that it threatens to become repetitive, bringing sameness to our lives, which causes us to become bored, robbing us of entertainment.

Thus french fries.

Matter of fact, I am not sure they could have survived this season of doldrums if someone had not come along to smear them with cheese, bacon, jalapenos, and I don’t know…maybe even whipped cream. Then french fries gained interest because they brought along friends and a fresh outlook. They were welcome–even flirting with the possibility of bumping the main course.

It’s not that there’s anything WRONG with “again,” but normally when we use the word, our voices trail off into the great pit of despair:

  • “I have to go to school … again.”
  • “It’s Sunday morning church … again.”
  • “I’ve been married for thirty years. I guess it’s time to kiss my wife … again.”

If we don’t do something to spice up the side dishes of our lives with innovation and flavor, having something “again” will never be pleasant. It will become the kind of march to blandness that convinces us that we’ve been cheated rather than blessed.

I’m going to write my essay again …but I’m going to make it cheesy and spicy.