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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

The Seven Wonders of Wonder Bread

I’ve decided I need a bread delivery service.

It’s not that I eat an exorbitant amount of bread, mind you. I don’t have some pathological ‘bread thing’; You won’t find me sitting naked in the tub packed ass-deep in challah and Parker House rolls, cackling like the Pillsbury Dough Boy on acid.

“I don’t have some pathological ‘bread thing’; You won’t find me sitting naked in the tub packed ass-deep in challah and Parker House rolls, cackling like the Pillsbury Dough Boy on acid.”

(Well, you won’t if I remember to lock the damned bathroom door, anyway. Does nobody knock these days, or what?)

In fact, I’m pretty ambivalent about bread when its available. I’m happy enough to nibble on nan or sample a precocious brioche, but it’s not something I’d write home about. Or write here about. Me and bread, we’re strictly platonic.

Or so I thought.

What I’ve come to realize is that bread is not just the linchpin of my nightly dinner plans, but pretty much the key to my entire evening. It’s that important. But it’s just bread. My mind and various digestive organs boggle at the concept.

(I wouldn’t recommend trying that at home, by the way. Boggling your pancreas, for instance, takes years of practice. Intestinal boggling in particular should only be attempted only under the supervision of a licensed physician.

And ideally near a bathroom. Obviously.)

Here’s the thing about bread — I’m a lazy, lazy human being. Also an occasionally hungry one, and I often wind up fending for myself for dinner. Which leaves me three choices for food:

#1. Go out for dinner.

Not an option. After a hard day of desperate sobbing under the desk in my office, once I’m home, I’m home. You want to get me back out of the house, you’d better bring the jaws of life, a chloroformed rag and a team of Clydesdales, because otherwise — no, sir. Once the volatile elements ‘mycouch-ium’ and ‘myass-ium’ come in contact, they form an unbreakable molecular bond that lasts… well, at least through the Seinfeld reruns after the local news. Sometimes longer.

Technically, I suppose I could pick up dinner on the way home. But that’s asking me to plan ahead, to have money ready, to know what kind of food I want, and to deviate from the beeline home to which my couch-pining hindquarters is accustomed. What am I, Tony Stark? That’s superhero talk there, that is.

#2. Order food online.

I specified ‘online’ because while it’s physically possible for me to order via phone, it’s just not ever going to happen. I mean, phone calling is so passe — who actually talks to other human beings any more? How very twentieth century.

Instead, I log into my favorite local foodie site, send my avatar over to order from some delivery company’s logo, which sends an automated text to the restaurant’s account, where a headless chat client picks it up and tweets it to the kitchen so the robotic arm can bluetooth the microwave to nuke my damned cheeseburger already. It’s all very efficient, and quick, and coldly impersonal in its Rube Goldbergian way.

Of course, ordering out all the time gets expensive, and the food isn’t maybe as healthy as it could be. Also, the automated driverless delivery cars tend to try to run you over if you don’t tip well, which is not so great. But it’s still a helluva lot easier than trying to:

#3. Make my own dinner.

This is where bread is so diabolically crucial. I’m a guy. I’m not all that coordinated, I didn’t grow up in California, and I didn’t go to culinary school. Therefore, I’m only capable of making four dishes. And three of them are sandwiches.

(The fourth is lobster thermidor, due to an odd set of circumstances involving a buddy who worked on the docks, a very special Good Eats episode, and losing a bet to this Francophilic jackass I went to college with.

But making that gets pretty damned expensive, too. And where’s a guy like me gonna find fresh thermidor around here, anyway?)

The point being: if there’s bread in the house, I can be reasonably self-sufficient for dinner. I can whip up a sandwich in no time — which is important, since I’ve sworn off any food that takes longer for me to prepare than to eat — with no problem, and go on my merry couch-bonding way.

But if no bread? Then I’m cooked. I’ve got nothing. There could be groceries and produce and exotic spices from all corners of the globe in the pantry, but they do me no good. I only know how to put them together with bread. Observe:

Tuna fish + bread = sandwich

Sliced turkey + pickles + bread = sandwich

Oregano flakes + frozen waffle + cheese + bread = sandwich

Jalapeno pepper + powdered lemonade + raw turnips + bread = sandwich… + nightmares, and possibly an eventual stomach pump, but still — sandwich

But tuna fish + bread – bread = …what, exactly? Cat food? Fish dandruff? A two-ounce tin can of smelly fail? I’m simply not equipped to solve that kind of equation. My abacus doesn’t go to eleven.

So bread is a must, unless I want to order seventeen pizzas a week for the rest of my natural eating life. And I don’t. I already feel like I owe the delivery guy a Christmas card, as often as he’s over. He doesn’t speak much English, but I’m pretty sure he made me his kid’s godfather last week. It could be a sign to cut back, just a smidge.

My solution is bread delivery. I figure a couple of loaves every week will do it, just to make sure I’ve got sandwich fixings available. I can freeze a couple down, maybe hide one under my pillow for emergencies, and I ought to be just fine. If the alternatives are to learn to cook, to fund the pensions at the local Domino’s, or to starve, then this seems like the only viable option.

Because I don’t want to starve.

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