Have Yourself an Ambivalent Little Christmas


The Golden Age of Spam

Will the Real Renaissance Please Stand Up?

My Life of Crime

My Life of Crime, Pt. 2: The War of the Dandelions

Black (and Blue) Friday

Going Home

How Not to Celebrate a Holiday

Traffic Report Fall Down
and Go Boom

O, Holy Weekend

You Mean My Vote Actually Means Something?

Side Disorders

Lessons for Hurricane Preparedness as Taught By Example in Raleigh, North Carolina

You Mean My Vote Actually Means Something?, Pt. 2: Are They Gone Yet?

The Last Reality Show

It Builds Character

Sink the Flu

WTF (in C Major)

Intruder Alert

Kneel before Za

I Got Your Breaking News Right Here, Pal

Christmas in July...or April...or maybe even December


Why I Hate "The Little Drummer Boy"

Side Disorders

Like many Americans, I could stand to lose a little weight; like many Americans, I am making a somewhat half-assed effort to do so. (Unlike many Americans, I admit that my effort is fairly half-assed). Today, I learned one tip for those of you wanting to lose some weight: Eat breakfast at home.

This is what I usually do, simply because I eat breakfast at home before I've taken my shower and thus while I'm in a state that simply isn't fit to be seen in public. But this morning my schedule got totally thrown in the air because my wife had to be at the airport at 7:45. I don't go into work for a couple of hours after that, so I decided I would get ready, take my wife to the airport, and grab breakfast on the way to work. Since there's a Denny's about two miles from work, I figured that would be a good place to go.

Now that I've been there, I understand why we have an obesity epidemic in this country.

I was not super hungry. All I really wanted to get was some pancakes and sausage. But I couldn't find it on the menu. I could find the various "grand slam" breakfasts, where you can get enough to feed a family of four on one plate, but I didn't see a section for basic things like pancakes and waffles. Then I saw it: "Stack of four pancakes". It was listed under "Side items".

Apparently, something bigger than what I typically eat for breakfast (and remember that I need to lose weight) is now classified as a "side item".

Under "Side Items" was also "four links of sausage" (as well as "four strips of bacon"...apparently four is a mystical number at Denny's). I actually only wanted two sausage links (I only wanted two pancakes, for that matter), but there didn't seem to be an option smaller than four, so I ordered that as well. A few minutes later I got a plate with four pancakes...and six sausage links. Six? All I can figure is that the pancakes came with two. So we in America have apparently reached the point where our side items come with side items. Sides with sides? This isn't just an affront to good health; this is an affront to geometry.

I also received two little bowls of syrup to pour on my pancakes. I'm not sure why I got two little bowls instead of one larger one, but it was at least refreshing to see that some things at Denny's come in twos instead of fours. Nonetheless, one would have been enough. But it at least fit the pattern: I had twice as much syrup as I wanted to go along with the twice as many pancakes as I wanted and three times as much sausage as I wanted. There was also about twice as much butter as any normal person could want on top of the pancakes. As she set the plate on the table, the waitress asked me if I needed more butter.

And like an idiot, I had to try to eat all this. It was clearly more than I needed, and more than I wanted. But there it was, on a plate in front of me, so clearly I was supposed to eat the entire thing. I tried. I couldn't quite do it. I left roughly a pancake on the plate. The three times as much sausage as I wanted? That I finished. I'm not sure why. I'd say it was because I was told one time too many as a child that I needed to finish my dinner because there were starving children in Asia, except that I was never told that (I'm not sure if this means my mother was above such blatant manipulation, or just that she didn't give a damn about kids in Asia). Besides, it's not like Denny's takes all the uneaten food and puts it on the next flight to Bangladesh. If they did, there wouldn't be food riots in Bangladesh: everyone would be full from all the pancakes and sausage, and they would be sitting around wondering what to do with all the extra syrup.

So I finished as much as I could, paid my check and headed to work. On my way out, the waitress smiled at me and said, "Have a nice day! Come again!"

Sure, I thought. I'll come again, and next time I'll bring a friend: a friend who can eat the other half of my "side item".

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