In this column, I’ve talked about Mordecai’s midlife crisis, which consisted of him getting a divorce from red meat. I have not discussed my own mid-life crisis, which consisted of me buying a piano. Why? Men my age shopped for either a Corvette or a 20 year old, but I couldn’t afford the upkeep on either. As my father used to say about Nurse Vivian, “When your mother turned 40, I tried to turn her in for two twenties, only then I found I wasn’t wired for 220.” So I got an upright, and even though I can barely plunk out Jingle Bells, every time I play it I feel young.
This column has not talked about Crazy Mike’s midlife crisis, which consisted of him exercising himself back to the weight he was in 1976. No matter how many times I told him that wrinkles and gray hair weigh a lot more than youthful contempt, and that therefore it was impossible to get back to the weight he was 42 year ago, he runs mile after mile after mile just to prove me wrong.
The exercise addiction began with an e-mail from his ex-girlfriend, who for reasons I do not entirely understand, began a correspondence with me the same day, and though I resolutely avoid running, she and I still exchange fudge recipes. Point of clarity: Crazy Mike’s wife never reads my column, but if this is the one day that she does, please be assured that the ex-girlfriend was a continent away and never in any danger of losing the “ex” status. The romance is long over but the fitness routine remains forever.
No one gets happy by running. They get happy by walking. The one and only thing that Brother X and I have in common is that we both walk ten thousand steps a day. When I jog I’m too busy sweating to notice that secret duck pond in McClaren Park. But when I stroll around the outer, outer, outer Excelsior, I notice the little things like the cow on John’s roof having changed out of its Easter bonnet in favor of a Cinco de Mayo Sombrero.
Which brings me to food. Raised in South Ozone Park I never developed those New York prejudices about things like bagels only being edible if they were boiled in Canarsie after sunset on a Saturday. No, I admit that in my Hoboken days I had a thing for the Dunkin Doughnuts on Washington Street. True Story: Zane’s godmother, Amanda, and I once drove from New York through New Hampshire through Rangeley Lakes, Maine, up to Quebec, all in search of an open Dunkin Doughnuts, finally finding one near St. Johnsbury Vermont at five in the morning, only to find they were fresh out of doughnuts. Words to live by: Don’t go to Dunkin Doughnuts for the chipotle croissant.
One of the sweetest memories I have of Brian’s mother is that every time we went to visit her in Maine, she had a cinnamon sugar waiting in the car.
Having moved out here in 1991, I pretty quickly transferred my affection to Krispy Kreme. What can I say? I like it when my breakfast is both alliterative and convenient. Krispy Kreme has been making doughnuts since 1937 when Vernon Rudolph brought a secret recipe from a chef in New Orleans. I have actually tasted every single flavor there, the glazed sour cream, the Kitkat, even the watermelon, which is terrible, but not as bad as a chipotle croissant.
Last week, when I refused snacky supper and Mitchell’s ice cream both, Aidan tricked me into a doughnut dinner. We can only do this on nights that Brian works late, as he does not subscribe to my theory that chocolate is a vegetable. We made the pilgrimage to Daly City, and pulled into the lot. I opened the door of Krispy Kremes only to find they had betrayed me. There, in bright gold lettering next to each flavor was the calorie count.
There are some things you should know the calorie count of: like carrots or water. These help us to feel virtuous. But not doughnuts. When I’m staring down a balloon of vanilla cream icing separated from a rooftop of chocolate frosting by only the thinnest membrane of fried pastry, the last thing I want to know is that it’s gonna cost me 339 calories.
Zane, in the infinite wisdom of a fourteen year old, took my hand and said, “Get the Karamel Kreme, Dad. We’re the only family I know that has doughnuts for dinner. Enjoy it.”
What the heck? It’s less crazy than getting back to 137 pounds.