Friday, September 28, 2012

Bagels and Doughnuts

Today is Bagel Day.

Not that you care, or that it is something new.  Indeed, we had bagel days at LSI, and we had regularly scheduled bagel-fueled training sessions at Koch Industries.  Also, it is bagel day only in the sense that they are delivered, and available at no cost to me, at my work place.  I could go to Panera down the hill on any day of the week, and get a bagel.  But, so far as official days of the week are concerned...

This day is Bagel Day.

I state that, to draw a contrast to doughnut day.  We don't have a doughnut day here.  At Koch Industries, doughnuts were available along-side the bagels.  We had doughnut days at LSI for awhile.  (In fact, we had doughnuts on two different days, and bagels on a third, but that was before the company was mismanaged into near-irrelevance, and we lost both doughnut days, the bagel day, and the free coffee).  But I digress.  You can tell that I digressed by the parenthesis.

But here, now, there is no doughnut day.

You see, I actually prefer doughnuts to bagels.  There is a cultural significance to the bagel/doughnut dichotomy; one which does not favor those who prefer doughnuts.
  • Bagels are New York; doughnuts are mid-western.
  • Bagels come in big solid brown recycled bags; doughnuts are wrapped in something very similar to toilet paper.
  • Bagels are accompanied by flavored Philadelphia Cream Cheese; doughnuts have a basic sugar glaze.
  • Bagels go with cappucino; doughnuts go with coffee.
  • Bagels are for executives; doughnuts are for Homer Simpson.
 Doughnuts are the 47% who don't pay federal taxes, if you will allow me a Romney-based metaphor.

Nevertheless, I prefer doughnuts.  And I think I know why.

Bagels, you see, require a commitment which I'm just not ready to make, so early in the morning.  They require time and attention.  You have to find a proper knife (a butter knife will not suffice).  You have to slice the thing just so, leaving a small hinge on the side, so that you don't have two half-bagels instead of a whole one.
You have to select the proper flavor of cream cheese (does raspberry go with cinnamon crunch?) and then peel the plastic lid from the cream cheese tub, while one hand is still holding the bagel, and the other still holding the knife.  It takes some time and skill to properly spread the cream cheese, so that there isn't any area containing a thicker spread than any other area.  You also want to ensure that the cream cheese does not squeeze out of the side of the bagel when you eat it.
Having done all this, you have to somehow reseal the cream cheese container, clean the excess from the knife, and leave the area with as few crumbs as it had when you arrived.  All of this investment of effort occurs before the first bite.
Now, you start eating.  Two bites into the bagel, maybe you decide you didn't want the cinnamon crunch after all.  Too bad; you still have 3/4 of a bagel left to eat.  You cannot throw it away; that would be a crime against the ozone layer.  If you stuff the rest of it down your throat, you no longer have any room left for the garlic bacon bagel which you just now decided you would rather have had.

Contrast this with doughnuts.  If you eat two bites of a doughnut, you're already more than halfway-done.  One more bite finishes it; or you can toss the remainder with no large sense of wastefulness.  It takes no preparation to eat.  If you didn't like it, there's very little downside to giving up on it.  You didn't invest anything into it.

Also, doughnuts are cheaper, and being smaller, you can eat two or three of them, all different flavors, and still not match the time it takes to consume one bagel.

I want a doughnut day.