I think I did something very wrong last night – I had breakfast for dinner. I know it’s not an uncommon thing to do, but it’s been gnawing at my conscience worse than the two strips of soy bacon have been gnawing at my masculinity. I feel as if I’ve committed a sin, or some sort of crime. I disturbed the natural order of things, and I can’t stop fretting about it.
As far as I know, animals (except for the human type) aren’t obligated to start their day with a cup of coffee and end it with a slab of lemon meringue pie. If an animal likes pie, he will eat it regardless of the hour, without fearing societal pressure to stop behaving like an animal. I never harass my cats for eating cans of turkey pate with shrimp sauce for breakfast. In return, they never harass me for eating cold lasagna for breakfast. It’s an understanding we have with one another; they enjoy vile food, and I enjoy Italian food. Does it really matter what time of day we shovel it into our bodies?
I’m pretty sure we have Fred Flintstone to thank for this. Every weekday at exactly five p.m. Fred’s foreman at the Slate Rock & Gravel Company would yank the tail feather of a bird that for some reason always seemed surprised, despite his feather getting yanked the same way at the same time every day. The poor thing would screech, just as you would if someone pulled on your tail. Fred would hear the bird wail then slide off his dinosaur crane and head straight for rush hour traffic – with a smile on his face. Everyone else in the town of Bedrock did the same thing; they punched in for work at nine a.m., and punched out at five. If you IMDb the Flintstones like I did on one of my more productive days, you would note that Fred ate his breakfast at eight, had lunch at noon, dinner at six, and a slab of ribs while at the seven-thirty drive-in show. Fred set the standard. He lived the ideal schedule. And I blame him for why we’re all so…persnickety about when we do things.
Here’s something you may not know: there’s a giant biorhythm machine that was built by a mom and buried beneath a giant clock in Greenwich England that rules all humans. It
dictates when it’s dinnertime, and it informs us of the things we’re allowed to eat for that meal. It specifically dictates that after five p.m. it’s only proper to eat dinner-ish things – not omelets, waffles, or fake bacon.
I’m not so much bothered that I’ve been programmed to reject a loaded baked potato for my morning meal. It’s that my entire day is governed by a set of rules; the same rules that define the parameters of when I can wake up, go to bed, and take my mid-afternoon nap.
Realistically, I realize I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. I just hate having to hear about it the next day. You went to bed how early last night? You ate a bologna sandwich for dessert? You attended a matinee?
I envy the people who work the night shift – except the part about staying awake past my bedtime. I bet these folks are all smiles, all night long, what with their empty freeways, empty gyms, and always-available seating at those 24-hour restaurants. By the way, did you know those restaurants allow you to order breakfast, lunch, or dinner any time of the day? You would think that would make them immensely popular, but reservations are never necessary. In fact, they don’t even take reservations. Why? Because they always have available tables in the middle of the night since people are too chicken to mess with the order of things.
I think I’ve had enough of living my days the way I’m supposed to. I don’t want to drive on the freeway when everyone else is, so no more rush hours for me. Instead of reading a book before I go to bed, I might read one before I wake up. And speaking of sleep, I’m going to start taking my mid-afternoon nap right after breakfast. For me, prime time TV will start when I say it starts, like as soon as something I feel is worth watching comes on. And just to unnerve the authorities, I’m going to eat a meal of steak
One day people will catch on and start behaving more like animals than they already do. Animals have taught me that I can have all the pies I want, just by sneaking up on them while they’re sleeping. They’ve always been smart that way. I believe I’m going to join them – right after I finish my morning coffee.
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Harry Margulies is the author of The Knowledge Holder and the to-be-released The Weight of the Moon. When he’s not writing about romance, money, women and other subjects he thoroughly enjoys but knows nothing about, he’s frittering his precious time as a cartoonist.
Soy bacon courtesy of Arvind Grover
Steak and eggs by Alpha (Melbourne, Aust)