My preceding 32 years (since graduating from high school) have been spent in the grand adventure of circumnavigating the globe in an endless and oftentimes fruitless quest for James Bond type intrigue. Well, let me say that in all actuality, I’ve never traveled outside the borders of North America. OK, to be honest, I’ve only visited or driven through 21 states and once partook of a strange breakfast consisting of meatloaf (I think) and fried eggs in London, Ontario, while traversing the shortest route between Point A (Niagara Falls) and Point B (Port Huron).
Even so, these limited excursions have left me with endless fodder for countless tales of suspense and mystery (most often told late at night in the company of drunken strangers). I have found, though, the perplexing situations one would equate with a classic Sherlock Holmes novel have eluded me on my life’s journey, only to be replaced with the ridiculously unbelievable predicaments we’ve come to anticipate when viewing a classic Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau movie scene.
The most baffling and reoccurring instance of cryptic hilarity — as predictable as the sunrise, the swallows return to Capistrano, or yet another horribly-acted Nicholas Cage film — is as follows:
What undocumented chemical reaction causes the frosting on an appetizingly displayed, not yet in the day-old box, quick-e-mart doughnut, to immediately upon purchase, begin to disintegrate and morph into a gelatinous blob? The results are eerily similar across state borders, when entering into different time zones, and vary noticeably between the endless competing storefronts one finds lining the highways.
When embarking on one of my cross country jaunts, I prefer to get an early start. So, after rubbing the sleep from my eyes and fueling the vehicle, I will most often require a strong jumbo size black coffee and a tasty, deep fried pastry ring (or two) to start my day.
Grasping the tongs, I stare through the hazy glass to peruse the attractively displayed, freshly-made treats, lying there in perfect alignment and tilted at the optimum angle to make them cry out for purchase. The frosting (whether chocolate, vanilla or that ecstasy inducing maple) is uniform and perfectly spread to the point of exhibiting a reflective sheen under the harsh fluorescent lighting. Yet invariably, less than one-fourth of a mile down the road, I find that I am now in possession of a spongy, naked doughnut and this semi liquid, gooey, bathroom caulking like, powdered sugar based substance covering the lower part of my face and hands and running down my arm, threatening to drip off my elbow onto the upholstery. The napkin, (which I’m pretty sure came from Hardees 15 years ago) scavenged from the far reaches of the glove box simply shreds and adheres to my skin and beard, the steering wheel, the shifter knob, or anything else I come in contact with. As I flail away in an attempt to rid myself of the napkin confetti, it would appear to the unwitting bystander that I am either savagely swatting at a bee or have gone stark raving mad.
I have, therefore, after countless episodes of driving a motor vehicle while frosted, drawn the conclusion that quick stop donuts deserve a spot near the top of the list when it comes to dangerous navigational distractions ... right there with cell phones, the “he-touched-me-no-I-didn’t” argument one hears when transporting young siblings, or pine tree air fresheners. Regulations are needed. Legislative action is required. Perhaps a quick e-mail query to the Secretary of State is in order, as soon as I remove this napkin from my forehead.
Chuck Mason, a self-described opinionated wiseguy, resides in Princeton. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.