Don’t eat soup in public

Let me start by saying I’m no puritan. I’ve been known to have a bit of a devilish tongue. From time to time, my thoughts have maybe even breached the boundary of what one considers “unwholesome.” So I write here not to litigate, judge, or certainly censor, but rather advise: Don’t eat soup in public. It’s disgusting.

This isn’t a clever, sly, in-crowd euphemism. No, I mean this literally: Don’t eat soup–or bisque, or chowder, or even chili below a certain viscosity–in public. I know that we’re steadily approaching winter. I know you’re cold and hungry, maybe even parched, and that soup–that dietary utility player–seems like the solution to all of your problems. Do it. Go buy some soup. I respect your choice as a consumer.

But I don’t respect your right to consume that slop in my general vicinity. Much like electricity, water, and internet prior to next month, we should treat a genial lunchtime–one without neighbors interrupting conversations every ten seconds with a puckering minestronal SCHLURPPP–as a utility. We should respect the sanctity of the public dining table, be it in the office, the cafe, or the food court, and refuse to besmirch it with some pud who has to furiously blow (look at him, he’s NURTURING THE SOUP) on his disgraced slurry to make it palatable.

I’m spilling no secrets when I say soup has inherent structural flaws. Once soup has become the right temperature, it is then too cold. To eat enjoyably, soup requires a mechanic’s tinkering, a Buddhist’s patience. Its fluidity necessitates the manual precision of a calligrapher–better yet, of a sculptor–to put the liquid into its vessel; the final transfer, likewise, begs Dizzy Gillespie’s lung capacity and embouchure to avoid disaster.

That’s before getting into the etiquette for eating soup–the delicate coiffing of the spoon away from oneself, the dizzying heights the spoon must rise before one can dip one’s head to meet it. It is a hopeless, frantic extraction that inevitably ends in dripping, slobbering imperfection. Yes, there are “proper” ways to eat soup. But there’s no way to eat soup and retain one’s dignity. If you engage in this act in my line of sight, I’m afraid I can no longer respect you.

The truth is, when eating soup, you’re consuming a scalding liquid from a height at which liquid shouldn’t be consumed. There’s a reason drinks arrive in graspable, vertical containers. There’s a reason drinks, McDonald’s coffee aside, invariably arrive within an acceptable range of temperatures. Most food and drink make sense; soup doesn’t. (That sentence also presents a tertiary sub-argument against soup, that your public consumption of it will invite the galling, faux-intellectual pondering of whether one “eats” or “drinks” soup. The correct answer is neither: When having soup in public, one “burdens society.”)

Perhaps this take comes across as elitist. After all, public soup kitchens are a great, necessary service. For others, soup is simply an economical option, the most rational budgetary choice. Surely, Lucas, you’re not advocating these soup-buyers are forced to languish alone, shamefully downing their entrees in solitude whilst the Paninarazzi gaggle together in unfettered gaiety?

My response is three-pronged: First, my advice is mainly targeting those foodies in Corporate America, for whom I am skeptical that soup is always the cheapest option: take Panera Bread, for example, where soups, salads, and half-sandwiches are priced equivalently in the “Pick 2” menu, despite the caloric deficits that soups offer. Second, I think a large-scale coordination of purchasing decisions can change the way in which we consume soup. Should bowls become cylindrical? Should spoons be replaced with very wide straws? Should we revive Juicero by reducing every soup to its late-capitalism, inevitably all-liquid state? These are the questions we need to be asking.

Third, soup consumption can be inoffensive in public–but only when undergone unanimously. When the souping is wholly communal, that is, when everyone is being disgusting, there is no dignity to be claimed, no pearls to be clutched. It is a barbaric experience and roundly objectionable to an outsider, but in the absence of none claiming offense, the outrage is vaporous like the famous Zen koan: the sound of one hand clapping back.

In that way, we need to treat eating soup like eating peanuts–hazardous in public. You can eat whatever repulsive things you want–however you want–in the privacy of your own home. But, please, as you go about your day, SCHLURPPP on this: As soon as you step outside, once you start eating soup, you start affecting people’s lives.

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An incomplete list of people I’d like to see the NYT profile before sympathetically profiling another Nazi, Trump supporter, or other unspectacular dumbass

That guy who beat the absolute piss out of Rand Paul

Someone who has read and, like, understands Gravity’s Rainbow

I don’t know, maybe a person of color or something

A Mets fan (not Bernie Madoff)

A Browns fan not from Cleveland

Norm Macdonald

Literally anyone involved with the OJ trial

The cast and crew of Ballers

A Juggalo

Oh, and if that person of color is a woman, that’d be awesome

A Scientologist

David Lynch’s personal assistant

Guy/gal with a foot fetish

Norm Macdonald, again

Those big bad, scary antifa folks

Especially the dude in Charlottesville who had a homemade flamethrower

Guy with a handlebar mustache

Guy with a sole patch

Person who serially over-shares on Facebook

Person who RTs Twitter bots

Someone who genuinely enjoys Andy Borowitz, Darren Rovell’s analysis, and/or Nickelback

Anita Hill, for example, wouldn’t be a bad choice

The guy who invented Crocs

Any of the writers who were passed over for David Brooks’ job

https://twitter.com/gregpak/status/934579716539011072

Greg_Pak_on_Twitter___I_d_love_to_see_a_series_of_sympathetic__nytimes_profiles_of_people_whose_votes_were_suppressed_in_2016__

New Ways to Undermine Halloween

I don’t particularly care for Halloween. Much like puns, April Fool’s Day, or describing literally anything as “fake news,” it presents an opportunity for the masses to clear a very low bar of both cleverness and pop culture fluency. The end result, then, equates to a clunky game of Cards Against Humanity, where all the cards are written by the players, players who, on average, constitute the core demographic for Alec Baldwin’s insipid Trump impression. It is a holiday for everyone–most of whom are unfunny, few of whom are witty–to try to be funny and witty.

Effectively, it is a roving open mic night that has merged with Comic-Con. It’s awful.

I’m not the first Halloween curmudgeon, though. There have always been people who are lazy with costumes, those who piss on others’ jack-o-lantern carvings, or the neighbors whose houses wouldn’t get knocked on for fear of razor blade apples. But those attacks are, to be honest, played out. As the rest of our holidays have evolved–Thanksgiving with Turducken, Columbus Day with not existing–it’s time for the haters of Halloween to look themselves in the mirror; get a tummy tuck, some yoga pants, and maybe a new and ethnically-ambiguous personal trainer; and start moving to make this October 31 one to remember with these suggestions:

  • Celebrate Halloween like everyone else, but when you go door-to-door, sing Christmas carols at full volume
  • Stay at home, but dress in a full gimp outfit for when trick-or-treaters arrive
  • Dress completely normally; when someone asks who you are, say “Hillary Clinton, because I also rarely spend time in Wisconsin”
    • NOTE: Only works if you rarely spend time in Wisconsin
  • Go as O.J. Simpson, but the depressed, mid-2000s O.J. Simpson and accuse every third person of “stealing my shit”
  • Dress as a newscaster and, regardless of what happens, continually say in a solemn tone: “We. Can’t. Normalize. This.”
  • Stay at home, but give any and all trick-or-treaters bags of chopped honeydew
    • Good alternatives to hand out: Copies of Ayn Rand, decks of cards with only 51 cards, your now-expired medications, leftover meatloaf, NBA Live 09, those de facto laxative gummi bears, your neighbor’s wi-fi password
  • Dress completely normally; explain that Halloween is just a distraction from Russia and tell people to please contribute to your Patreon page
  • Dress up as Matthew Lesko aka the Question Mark Suit Guy; tell people about all the “Free Money” they can save by not getting hit with the 12x Uber Surge at 1:30 am.
  • Dress completely normally, but act inconsolably offended and shocked by everyone’s predictably tasteless costumes; when someone asks who you are, reply “Barron Trump”
  • Have your face modified to resemble Robert E. Lee and get embalmed in a public square

Don’t go to the state fair

After a friend’s wedding in Northern California last summer, I found myself the following evening at the State Fair in Sacramento. Six hours or so after ingesting some well-earned In-N-Out, I was no longer combating a headache and a dry mouth, but I was still ludicrously sleep-deprived; more crucially, we all had red-eye flights to catch and rental cars to return. As such, we spent maybe an hour and a half at the fair. During this time, I played no games, purchased no food, and rode no rides.

It was the best fair experience I’ve ever had, because the State Fair–every single State Fair!–is an abomination.

***

Perhaps you have some recollection of the State Fair as a joyous time, as an event of rollicking gaiety, as something other than a soup-to-nuts shakedown, featuring opportunities to depart with your money as ubiquitous as the air flooded with the unmistakable waft of fresh hog feces. Maybe you went to the State Fair as a child–you being a rascal whose parents leapt at the chance to foist you into such an environment if only so society at large could share the burden of your presence. Likely you enjoyed yourself, because you were, at this time, mentally underdeveloped, and you found the incessant hum of consumption peppered around bright hues and the impotent thrills from the cheapest rides found in Roller Coaster Tycoon, somehow, to be enjoyable.

You managed–in your fledgling, youthful, subhuman state–to extract joy from paying to get outwitted by a gaggle of mouth-breathing, dental-plan-and-GED-lacking yokels. You begged to play rigged bar games (crooked pop-a-shot, warped Skeeball) at three times a going rate that you didn’t know existed. You positively hankered–for reasons that, once examined, will take a half-dozen shrinks to fully unpack–an absolute stranger to guess your weight, which, after a pensive rubbing of both his chinstrap beard and sole patch (yes, he had both), he managed to do quite capably. (It seemed impressive at the time until you realized, much later on, that the law of large numbers applies quite effectively to small numbers, too.)

You even liked the food–the curdled, invariably crusted creations that seem to be conceived both by and for stoners. You learned then, from the ALL-CAPS sandwich board items that could only be considered thinly-veiled middle fingers to coronaries and the proudly barren, big-calved masses waddling down dusty thoroughfares that (in theory!) should have been wide enough to accommodate everyone–you learned then that, much like love, gluttony is also in the eye of the beholder.

(You, at that time, did not realize that all fried food is delicious, and it doesn’t exist solely at the state fair. Had you gone anywhere–fast food joints, dive bars, diners, four-star restaurants–you would have known the possibility of great fried food that (gasp) even looks like it one time existed in nature.)

You adored the animals–the animals that you could see in abundance if you ever went to an actual farm, the animals whose more interesting peers all managed to at least secure themselves real estate at a zoo. You thought hay was something exotic, rather than a mindless add-on purchase easily made at The Home Depot. You found the large outdoor tents housing the animals quaint, you somehow, even then, recognizing the necessity for a refuge shaded from the hellish slurry of unmitigated self-abuse, queueing, and the fleeting, dead-eyed approximations of happiness that constitutes the majority of the Fair experience.

The point: The State Fair is an outdoors Walmart–one where you have to pay for parking and to get in, and the friendly greeters are generally hirsute individuals whose police record and body odor precede them. Yes, it has a lot of things, all reasonably well-contained in one area. But the roster of these things–the rides, the food, the games, the token nods to cultural appreciation, and even the convenience factor, to be honest–at best broach the cusp of mediocrity.

If you were young, you didn’t know any better, but now? Now you know this truth; even if you think you know the fun soul of the State Fair, you, like much of the kitschy down-home environs in which you’re shrouded, are putting on an act. You’re lying to yourself to get your money’s worth this fall, and you’re lying retroactively to believe you didn’t waste your youth. You’re re-applying lipstick on a non-prize-winning pig each year, failing to realize the competition itself itself is unwinnable.

You’re lying at this point more out of habit than anything else, because you think it’s easier than the alternative, and you enjoy the challenge of maintaining your truculence more than the actual event. Soon enough, you’ll walk into the Fairgrounds one year and, seconds after you roll through the turnstiles, wallet noticeably lighter, you’ll break down crying at what you’ve done by attending–fully aware that nothing at the State Fair is good and that, of course, it also smells incredibly like shit.

No Good Songs Are 3-4 Minutes Long

Most people are dunking on Taylor Swift’s new song, as well they should. More so than her typical overwrought, focus-grouped maudlin efforts, this song, “Look What You Made Me Do,” repulses in every sense of the word. It’s a steaming pile of factory-farmed, eastern North Carolina hogshit, whose downstream impact will be felt for generations.

But this song was doomed–beyond its aimless lyrics, uninspired production, and general absence of intent beyond an attempting photobombing of a disinterested newscycle–by its length. At three minutes, thirty-one seconds, Swift’s latest is right in the sweet spot of the worst songs that get produced. The good three-to-four-minute song, much like the effective 600-word essay, or the seventy-minute movie that clips along nicely, does not exist.

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I need a “Mad Men” spinoff that just focuses on Harry Crane and radio practices in the 1960s. (Credit: Vox)

Songs trying to make it on the radio have coalesced to this length, a function of history (radio stations only could play music on 78s and, later, 45s, which held three or so minutes) and the insufficient time span and patience of listeners. As technology developed, average song length grew, but it has seemingly returned from its early nineties peak, settling in around 3:45.

It’s understandable, then, that music of this length has been produced in the past. But now, with the proliferation of streaming services and the decreased influence of the radio, there exists a chance to make better songs. Specifically, shorter or longer songs, because any song whose length starts with a 3 that’s immediately followed by a colon is–to use the technical term–trash.

The three-to-four-minute song can’t help being the way it is. It didn’t ask to be the awkward, gangly musical teenager that thinks it’s doing well but, in fact, is a tornado of idiocy, bad intentions and ill-conceived ideas. More to the point, the three-to-four-minute song inherently serves no purpose. Think of your typical radio play: Odds are it has a brief intro, two verses, each followed by a chorus, a third part with no purpose but to extend the song and, perhaps, invoke a key change, and a final chorus. If the artist is popular, maybe the third part features one of his/her friends; if the artist wants to have some flair, a saxophone. And then, after a seemingly brisk 3:39 (“Shake It Off”) or 3:46 (The Chainsmokers’ “Roses”) or 3:47 (“Despacito”) that simultaneously rambles on and on, the song draws to a close.

Friends, this is a horrible framework in which to operate. Let me be blunt: If an idea can be fully expressed in two and a half verses, perhaps it’s not worth writing about! In fact, most songs fall into this category. The easiest way to improve an overcooked piece is to simplify; you can edit those thoughts down to simply two verses, and we, the audience, can get out in a cool 2:18 (like with  “She Loves You,” by a little band called the Beatles). That song simply starts with the chorus. It’s delightfully quick. Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E”? Just two verses, a trumpet break, and then those two verses again. The entire conceit is simple, and it didn’t require Sammy Davis Jr. stepping in to upset things by spelling some different word halfway through. Which is good, because even at 2:30 it starts to seem stretched. The Marvin Gaye and Tami Terrell duet of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” actually follows a lot of the foolhardy road map above, but since, on top of maintaining a healthy, robust BPM, it doesn’t dawdle on the intro–four bars–and the choruses–a mere eight bars for each–the whole thing is a scant 2:24. Even Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” ends in 2:04, despite eighty percent of it consisting of him saying “I know.” Short songs work.

Long songs work, too. Long songs–the good ones, at least–are the kinds of songs that don’t get merely tossed off. They’re produced by way of significant, strenuous mental effort; their length is justified, earned. Could you imagine a three-minute version of “Hallelujah,” or “Stairway to Heaven” or “Purple Rain”? Even a song like Pink Floyd’s “Great Gig in the Sky” which, honestly, has no real structure to it works at its extended length (4:40); to cut a minute would simply not make sense. These songs are statements, and more often than not, 200 seconds or so isn’t enough for a meaningful statement.

The artist can also take a note from EDM, which, for all of its drops and dopaminal excesses, at least knows how to create an effect on its listeners. Just say screw it. Do you know how long the intro to Earth Wind and Fire’s “Got to Get You Into My Life” is, before they actually start the first verse? One minute, eleven seconds. (The popular yet much inferior “September” is, of course, 3:35.) You ever hear “Vertigo and Relight my Fire” by Dan Hartman? No words until 3:57 in. It’s great, and the full album version is 9:44.

I will concede that good songs occasionally fall into the three-to-four-minute parameters, but not by design. The last example is a useful case study: The proper treatment of “Relight My Fire” is as the main course, following the four-minute appetizer of “Vertigo.” As such, most treatments pair these songs together. A single featuring simply the latter song exists, presumably for radio purposes (its runtime is 3:42). I have never heard that, because every version I’ve found on YouTube features the extended play. I’m sure the cleaved, barren version works; clearly, though, it’s inferior, as the fans have spoken and demanded the sprawling if indulgent effort, not the Garage Band-esque, training wheels-attached starter kit edition.

To cite a more recent example, take the Bruno Mars-Mark Ronson collaboration “Uptown Funk”: The album version is 4:28, yet the radio version is 3:57. From what I can tell, the intro in the radio version has been somewhat abbreviated but the ending has been completely neutered, with one of the best horn parts of the whole song (around 4:10) becoming a casualty in the race to the finish line. The 3:57 version still bangs–after all, it’s “Uptown Funk”–but it exists in lieu of a much better song that’s a mere 13 percent longer.

In that sense, I guess, a more conservative take is warranted; it’s also more damning. It’s not impossible to have a good three-to-four-minute song. But the easiest way to do that is to first create an incredible two-minute or five-minute song and then make it demonstrably worse. If you’re aiming for that sweet spot to begin with, then I question your taste, your level of mental complexity, and your general purpose, and I also reserve the right to turn off the radio, just like *that*.

“Oh, wow,” said the writer, now liberated from the incessant bleating on his eardrums, free to spend three-and-a-half minutes however he pleases. “Look what you made me do.”

Mitch McConnell’s Holiday Email to His Colleagues, Ghostwritten by George Saunders

DATE: 2017-07-04

TO: Staff (R)

FROM: Mitch

SUBJECT: A reminder

When we met almost nine years ago, we agreed that we had a job to do, and we agreed to do that job whenever necessary. And now has come the time to do it. The job, that is.

One of the bits of feedback you’ve submitted (no shortage of feedback on this one, to be sure, ha ha) is that this job is not quite what you thought it would be. Some of you have said that, in fact, the reported numbers make this latest aspect of the job one of the worst that you have ever seen, and in no uncertain terms you have voiced your displeasure if you were to be “heavily coerced” into doing this job. Now I’m not saying that that would even happen, nor have I ever said that. But it seems that there’s a notion going around that two brothers from Kansas may phone in a favor and gauge your interest in no longer having healthy knee caps, politically-speaking. I think we all know this is not the case, yet the slightest semblance of a hint that such coercion might be even considered in this situation is causing at least one of you to—pardon the language—shit your suit. And I think I speak for us all (not to mention the congressional janitorial staff!) when I say it’d be preferable if all our collective suits, to borrow a phrase, remain shit-free.

So let me say this: The job may not be as bad as you think. Which, okay, I know. You’re thinking, Mitch, my man, this is what you always say. And it’s true: I do have a stubborn streak when facing tough situations, just ask my dermatologist, ha ha.

Here’s a question, though: Has it really been that bad?

When I first gathered us in 2009 and said what our job would be, I distinctly remember hearing the complaints that doing nothing day after day, month after month would be an impossible task. I remember, even, some audible gasps out of Jeff from Alabama on this very point (although to be fair that also happened when he heard about the plot of Precious). But was this job hard? Not at all! In fact, as far as jobs go, it was a pretty cushy gig. And in fact it only became easier when we had even more of our friends join us after just a couple years of doing nothing. Doing nothing, it turned out, was actually something that—once we put our mind to it!—we were pretty good at.

Now some of you objected when, in 2012, we found out that the entire job—which was easy but, I’ll admit, also kind of ennui-inducing on a persistent basis—was done in vain. And while I know that I have quite the poker face, a face that some across the aisle have, apparently, claimed looks like the face of a man who realizes he is perpetually on the verge of climaxing in his pants, a face that never changes and wouldn’t betray the slightest emotion even in a trying time such as this…my friends, I was disheartened. We had worked so hard at doing nothing, and yet it seemed like it was all for, well, naught.

And yet! Despite this setback, did we stop going? It would have been very easy to do so then, and I remember drawing a line in the, well, carpet, as it were, and then proclaiming, This Is It and offering each of you the chance to pack your proverbial bags and go to the train station. And collectively—and I remember I was so proud (!)—you told me that you simply could not take a train at that hour, which I took not as a referendum on WMATA’s strangely limited operating hours but rather your symbolic commitment to our shared goal. At which point I became, in some sense, re-heartened.

Because that day we realized that the only way to potentially accomplish the initial job that we had set out to do was to keep going. That if we hesitated for even a second in the pursuit of this job any of our modest gains would be threatened. Even wiped out.

And this realization was scary. It was, in fact, frightening for all of us except Ted, but we all know that—no offense to him—Ted’s not exactly one that you can count on for an accurate temperature check, emotion-wise. But we had now gone into this unknown, and the only job left was the original job that we had set out to do. Which was pretty circular logic, unfortunately, and kind of made us question what was the point of doing the job in the first place? Yet there we were, pursuing the job.

But then: Good news. While our initial attempt at completing the job was unsuccessful, the subject of our job (You-Know-Who) saw his approval rating keep fading and fading. And while we weren’t popular, we were at least not the direct target of the Others at the voting booth. Better yet, in 2014 the Others somehow wanted more of us in office. Which was great, because of strength in numbers, and we could pass Ted off to the new members and let him accost them. (The people, that is. Not their members. Clarifying so that Mike doesn’t email me later.)

And 2016 made our job even easier. Impossibly easy. Which is why I am writing today in a somewhat confused state of mind, because, well: We have already done the hardest part of our job.

Allow me to explain by way of metaphor: These past few years have been a long swimming lesson for us. Our job, in some ways, has been to become swimmers. Like all swimmers, we have first learned how to tread water—quite effectively (!)—during this time. And some may say that treading water is simply a fancy way of doing nothing and going nowhere, but they are wrong. Treading water is going nowhere but not drowning. It is a miraculous achievement. Much harder than actually swimming, but necessary to swimming. Many of the greatest swimmers, in fact, started off by learning how to tread water and, subsequently, found swimming much easier than treading water. Michael Phelps. Newt Gingrich, to hammer home the metaphor (he, of course, literally can’t swim). But in truth: The list goes on.

And now, by way of treading this water and not drowning for eight straight years, we have set ourselves up for swimming greatness. To swim, all we have left to do is simply say yes—“Yea” —one time. Perhaps some Others may be hurt as a result of this “Yea.” But do you know for a fact that these Others are not being hurt right now? Do you know, down to the individual, that no one is being harmed as we delay our declaration of that final “Yea”?

I say this with great respect: I highly doubt it.

But I will also say this: We are where we are now because of our work on this job, and now is the chance to complete that job. Doesn’t that sound good? You are lying to yourself if that offer doesn’t sound enticing, like a thorough back scratch or massage after you have been sitting stationary in an ergonomically poor chair for eight straight years. I hope that you all think about that during the recess. Think about how good it will be to finally say “Yea,” to have the chance to lie down and relax and loosen up your back, to finish off this massage in the happiest way possible (sorry, Mike) which will ensure no more sore backs, ever, for always.

Well, I have gone on and on, but please come by my office after the recess, anybody who’s having doubts about this job, or this massage (!), and I will show you my very clean suits that are as clean as my conscience, as clean as I hope your suits are, too, currently. And of course any doubts you have about this job, and how it may impact the Others, are of the utmost concern, but they won’t be repeated outside of my office, and certainly not to those brothers from Kansas.

Happy 4th of July.

-M

Avocado toast is bad

I have never had avocado toast, and barring a catastrophe or a lost bet, I never will. This take isn’t a moralism based on how the excessive price point of the dish is limiting your growth as a human; odds are, if you’re eating at a restaurant that offers avocado toast, you’ll be overpaying for one thing or another regardless.

No, my take is both gustatory and reflexive: Avocado toast is unappetizing. First of all, I–a mere bystander–am embarrassed by the item’s branding. You don’t call salsa and eggs on a tortilla “Salsa Egg Tortilla”–it’s huevos rancheros. You don’t call strawberries and whipped cream on a waffle a “Cream and Fresh-Cut Fruit Waffle”–it’s a Belgian waffle. Perhaps avocado toast should be called “pan al verde” or “hangover bread” or “gentrificante.” But I’m not here to make friends (I never am) nor am I here to otherwise increase a bad food’s Q-score.

Mostly, avocado toast is bad because toast is a garbage vehicle for the avocado. As you likely know, l’aguacate is a superfood, which means even the fats in an avocado can salvage your troubling marriage or something. What you may not know is that it’s also a scene-stealer; the ingredients the avocado gets paired with inevitably wilt in its presence. That’s totally fine: Avocados are kick-ass. But it means that the toast is superfluous. When half your dish is superfluous, that means you have a bad dish.

A word on toast: it’s disgraceful. The benefits of toast are 1) its crunch and 2) its protective layer to shield your hands from jelly and honey and all other good liquids that you, let’s be honest, would drink straight from the container in the morning if society deemed it acceptable. When bread is necessary as a vessel for tastier foods, as it is in most sandwiches, it is functional and fine; when it is unnecessary, it is pointless. Of note, toast has an even weaker flavor than bread, a comically bland sub-food to begin with. Here’s a sentence that has never before been uttered: “Wow, that plain toast was amazing.”

(There’s also the hilarious inconsistency of the pairing from a health perspective: if you prefer avocado toast over other breakfast / brunch / snack options because an avocado is so good for you, then you’re undermining those modest gains by pairing it with a tasteless, indistinct, eighty-calories-later-and-none-the-wiser carb.)

Putting avocado on something isn’t a bad idea; I, like most white people, love avocados. What infuriates me about avocado toast is that superior alternatives to toast aren’t hard to find. Want crunch? Have an avocado cracker, which at least boasts some salt and notes of butter. Want some hint of texture to make sure your oral cavity doesn’t become a coddled snowflake? Add that avocado on eggs, or hash browns, or grits, or even some steel-cut oats, put it on a plate, and dig in with a single piece of cutlery.

Oh, no, you’re probably mewling, frightened of temporarily not being able to eat with your hands like a goddamn toddler, but what about the protective layer? I need to feel my soggy food while I consume it. Well, do you know what the inside of an avocado looks like?

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A never-before-seen image that’s currently on its way to the Smithsonian.

Look at that! It’s almost like the avocado’s tailor-made for hosting a flavor party in its own backyard. Seriously, just dump any and all sauces and liquids into the avocado itself for an in-hand brunch. Avocados are nature’s bread bowls–their shell can neatly nest their green goodness right alongside whatever else you want. Some Sriracha, some honey, grape jelly, peanut butter, hummus, pesto? You do you. The world is now your avocado, and you’ll never betray yourself with a dumb order again.