Originally, the first 2 paragraphs of this post implied a mistruth about long time friend Matthew Dickman. What I wrote wasn't true, Matthew was a stand in for setting up a couple of lame jokes - pulling your back reaching for the wallet, etc. The thing about funny is it takes different forms - funny ha-ha, funny because it's true, funny clever and funny-mean just to name a few. I am pretty okay with funny-mean as a category, being able to make people laugh allows one the freedom to push the boundaries of acceptability.
The problem with playing in the realm of funny is sometimes you miss, that isn't a big issue. To use a baseball metaphor you have to step up to the plate and take your swings - and the best players in the world have a contact rate of around 80%, that is they put the bat on the ball 4 out of 5 times. Around 50% of those swings, the player will turn the pitch around and put the ball where the field of play, and if your world-class, 30% of your at bats, not even all your swings will get you safely on base - Basically if your the best of the best, your going to miss way more than you get on base. But in order to get your hits, you take your swings, and take them knowing that you are going to miss a good percentage of the time
The problem with playing in the realm of funny-mean is when you miss you end up looking like an asshole. I thought I was being funny, I missed and what I intended for a laugh failed on the funny part, and only succeed in the mean. I apologize. Although, I still think putting the genius in disingenuous is nominally funny, even if it didn't work this time.
On Saturday, Matthew Dickman offered to take me out to dinner. Something that my brother and a few co-workers who know this is the year of restaurant free living often do. Its funny, well more to them then me but at this point -with 55 days left in my year of eating in, I am beyond temptation: I'm in a zone right now, if a dim sum cart rolled by my front door, I'd wave them on. Case in point: On day 301 while having a beer with a friend, a basket of tater tots glistening like a Greek Olympian in the sun (or whatever the deep fat fried equivalent is), impregnated with giant salt crystals, seemingly reflecting the light of the room, giving them the aura of a Byzantine saint sat between us and amazingly they didn't sway me even a little – At this point of the year: fried potatoes, egg rolls, etc are kinda food cleavage – alluring, but only there to look at.
I can update the list of foods that I have et, but have not prepared myself. Yesterday – a half donut. 2 weeks ago I had a bunch of real good food at the Farmers Market Fundraiser - including a lamb curry I can't stop thinking about. I tell myself I don't have to do any mental gymnastics to justify eating food at the fundie yet I do it anyway – it wasn't at a restaurant, the food was prepared by volunteers, I didn't get enough to fill up, and I was attending as an organizer not a paid guest - this was like the 2 slices of pizza I ate earlier this year at a meeting, I earned my calories.
In Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser pointed out that as a society, these United States spends more annually on Fast Food than we do on higher education. Recently, I read something from Pew/Kaiser/Nate Silver/Krugman Blog that claimed the people who have been hit the hardest by this recession, the very same people who have lost ground in adjusted income since 1970 – posses roughly the same level of education as they or their parents did 40 years ago. (A time, according to Schlosser, we spent $9bn on fast food in '70; it was $110bn by 2000.)
The thought we have traded our place as global leader for a bag of French Fries is disturbing, but then again since we sacrificed higher education both the accessibility to it and its value, we are now in the perfectly qualified to man Fast Food stations.
Except French Fries are really good and I miss them the most. I haven't banked any savings from my experiment of eating in, however by the time the year is out, I will have completed 12 college credits and spent a month of Thursdays brushing up on my Photoshop skills. And here is the big item, I haven't turned my job skills upgrade into any type of income worth bragging about.
Rumor has it that Friend of the Blog, Charlie Seluzicki offered to buy me a few dozen wings after 2012 begins. And another friend offered to buy me some Popeye's on a Don't Ask/Don't Tell type of condition this week, assuring me if it would be okay as long as I didn't pay for it. Since there aren't hard and fast rules about my mission other than not paying for food, I am mostly going on what feels right and wrong along the way: Popeye's at the 11th Month, didn't feel true - My mouth watered then I declined. I just hope the offer is still there in January.