What Did You Have For Lunch?


“Your posts this week have been the WORST,” said my blog editor/separated wife, Sophia, speaking on the phone from New York. “And stop writing about blogging. It is SOOO boring!”

There were other words exchanged during this conversation, mostly about my fear of putting advertising on my blog, but I’m going to avoid retelling some of the more “colorful” expressions she used to describe my “artistic integrity.”

I agree with Sophia that my posts have been lousy this week. I blame it on that video where I’m dancing with the mop, which premiered on October 13th to critical acclaim.

You know how some authors write a masterpiece for their first novel, but their second one sucks? After that video, I figured that I could just lie back and take it easy, but I was wrong. Modern readers are fickle. One false move and they’re off to read the blog of the latest young hunk right off the bus with a Dell laptop under his arm.

Looking for inspiration, I was intrigued by this new book titled “No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog,” written by Maggie Mason, who also has a popular blog titled Mighty Girl. (via Fussy)

A reviewer on Amazon described the book like this:

“Mason is thrilled at the opportunities that blogs have given the average person for self-expression, but laments that too many blogs are obsessive navel-gazing exercises that hold little to no interest over time. She wrote No One Cares as a way to help you come up with creative and new ideas for blog material that can lead to unusual material and interesting insights to the life and world of the writer.”

The book sounded interesting, but I took strong exception to the title, No One Cares What You Had for Lunch, even if the author is being tongue-in-cheek.

Think about the gullible young blogger out there who might read this book and accept this notion as a blogging “rule.”

In my opinion, blogging about your lunch is EXACTLY what you should be doing. This was what Sophia was trying to tell me on the phone. Is there anything more human, more sexy, more filled with human drama… than lunch?

Remember those cool lunch-boxes in elementary school? Remember grandma’s tuna fish sandwich? Remember having a romantic picnic lunch with your beau? Isn’t it true that the minute you get to work at 9AM, you watch the clock for three hours, waiting for what…? LUNCH!

When I finish my blogging primer, I’m going to title it “Write About Your Lunch.”

Of course, by the time I get around to writing it, no one will be blogging anymore because the fad will be dead. I’m always behind the times. (but please remember to buy my new book coming out in January, “The Dummy’s Guide to Making Money with Enron Stock.”

Sophia — today’s post will be about MY LUNCH. I want to prove to others that eating your lunch can bring about as many philosophical insights as reading the greatest philosophers.

Here we go —

Around noon today, I had a hankering for a hamburger. I felt like I deserved a treat because my cholesterol levels had fallen dramatically recently, thanks to my pills. I jumped into my car and headed for In-N-Out Burgers, but half-way there, I felt a nagging guilt. I suddenly remembered that I had eaten two slices of pizza for lunch the day before. I already had my “unhealthy” treat for the week.

What should I do? Go with desire or reason? I thought about the ancient Greeks. In his theory of anamnesis, Plato preached mastery over the body through reason. Did I really need this hamburger?

Thomas Aquinas, the medieval theologian, once said of Gluttony: “Gluttony denotes, not any desire of eating and drinking, but an inordinate desire… leaving the order of reason, wherein the good of moral virtue consists?”

I decided to find a balance between the two extremes — hunger and hamburger, much as in Hermetic Philosophy.

The solution: A Gardenburger!

I once had a pretty good veggie burger at Burger King, so off I went to see the King.

At my local Burger King, I was greeted by a slightly frazzled teenage girl, who took my order for a veggie burger, a side salad, and a cup of coffee. The bill came to $3.50. I looked at the receipt, puzzled. The Gardenburger alone was supposed to be $3.50. The girl had clearly charged me $2.00 less than what she was supposed to!

I went into a silent panic, mixed with glee. I enjoyed saving the two bucks, but I felt guilty about my moral stance. After all, I was stealing! I knew she had made a mistake, but I was intentionally remaining silent. What would the Talmud say about this? I certainly know that Immanuel Kant, the 18th Century writer of “Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals,” would be shaking his head in shame.

Clearly it was my moral duty to speak up and say, “Young lady, I think you’ve made a mistake.” Think about it: What if I knew that her boss was going to dock her the two dollars that she lost — would I speak up then? What if she was fired? What if she quit school because of my action? What if, because of me, I knew she would eventually BECOME A PROSTITUTE?!

But, I wanted that two dollars. I kept my mouth shut. I pocketed the extra money, waited for my food, then headed for my table without ever saying a word.

There was no thunder. No lightening struck me down. As I sat down, holding my tray, I rationalized my action. I was a Robin Hood fighting an evil fast-food corporation. Even Michael Moore would be proud of me!

But I knew this was a lie. I knew I was never going to give any of my two dollars to charity. I was going to keep it. I was going to blow it on an ice cream cone on the way home, my cholesterol be damned.

And I was enjoying acting like a selfish criminal.

I was like motherf***ing Samuel L. Neilochka!

I ripped open the paper wrapper and took a determined bite of my sandwich. All I received was a mouth full of soggy lettuce and wet bread.

I looked down at my sandwich and opened up the bun. Inside was lettuce, a tomato slice and a piece of pickle. There was no Gardenburger! No meat! Nothing!

Soon, it became clear to me. At Burger King, if you ask for a “Veggieburger” rather than a “Gardenburger,” you get this ridiculous “veggie” sandwich with nothing on it except soggy lettuce, a sliver of tomato, and a tasteless pickle slice for $1.50!  There wasn’t any two dollar mistake. I was the idiot who made the mistake. I ordered a sandwich with NOTHING on it.

Have it Your Way! Right-O.

Do I even need to bring up the Eastern concept of karma?

So, what do you have for lunch?

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: A New Hobby

This entry was posted in Blogging and the Internet, Food, Life in General and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

78 Responses to What Did You Have For Lunch?

  1. Neil says:

    And so far, Chantel is winning the award for Today’s Best Lunch and Rach for Today’s Worst Lunch, which is ironic, since she works in one. Is that pretty common?

  2. K.Leigh says:

    I had 2 of those Mintze’s Blintzes from Trader Joe’s (have you had them? Holy shit, they’re amazing!), Chicken Potstickers (also from TJ’s), and a cup of Hot Chocolate.


  3. Jody says:

    Neil, a little ditty from my days of working at Burger King back in high school (if you remember the tune to the Burger King song hum along):

    Hold the pickle, Cram the lettuce, special orders to upset us,here at Burger King!

    Lunch: spicy chicken with lettuce and tomato, caesar salad (very light dressing, no croutons), pretzels and a diet coke.

  4. Jody says:

    Oh my goodness, you made me Blog Crush of the Day! Thank you very much – I am honored!

  5. Mo says:

    Okay, everyone, now tell us what you had for dinner. Let’s keep this going!

    I had homemade gnocchi with alfredo sauce and bread pudding for dessert. I’m so lucky my hubby cooks! Oh, and a diet A&W to drink- mmmmmmm

  6. Caryn says:

    This never happens when you order a Whopper.

    I made pasta salad, then I ate a handful of “Kissables”. Who says I’m not living life on the edge?

  7. claire says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen garden burgers on the menu at BK here… but then I haven’t been looking. I will have to remember not to try a “veggie burger.”

    Also, I’m with Violet (though 55 comments later); I think Jane Espenson’s inclusion of her lunch with her posts give them a nice personalization.

  8. Soggy veggie burger, eh? Sounds pretty disgusting to me.

    I just finished reading “The Working Poor” – a book about how people can’t get ahead working minimum wage jobs..the author would probably say that you’re going to hell for patronizing an evil large corporation who exploits hapless teenage workers like that.

    You should have gone to In ‘n Out! They give their employees health insurance!

  9. Irina says:

    Hilarious post! I had a pretty nice lunch today, with my professor and a bunch of classmates. We went to a cool Indian buffet and gorged ourselves on various Indian fair – various spicy meats, rice, spicy chick peas, rice pancakes, spicy cauliflower, and my favority CHEESE BALLS IN SYRUP. I wish I had more… : )

  10. DebR says:

    I think this was karma’s way of telling you you should’ve gone ahead and had the hamburger you really wanted. Just sayin’

    What I had for lunch: a crabcake and a salad. (Yum!)

  11. Jakob says:

    Hello! I have been reading your blog on and off the last month or so. It strikes me a little that I never finish reading the entire post, because they’re always quite long. Allthough you’re a great writer, you some times elaborate more on the topics than I personally find as good reading. Maybe I’m more in the Hemingway, Mailer, Theroux (both), Auster a.s.o-tradition. I some times feel that you beat around the bush and avoid putting the point first, which in my opinion is what blogs are good for.

  12. Neil says:

    Thanks, Jakob. I appreciate the honesty. It is a family tradition to be long-winded.

    You should hear my mother tell a story.

    “I went to the store and I bought some tomatoes, but the tomatoes weren’t very good, so I decided to buy some zucchini instead. And then I met Alice, Sarah’s mother from when you went to elementary school. Do you remember Sarah? Well, now she is married and living in Seattle with a professional clown. This is her second husband because she was divorced in 2001.”

    “What’s the point, Mom? Get to the story!”

    And the story will always be something completely unrelated to what she talked about.

    Yes, definitely a Kramer family tradition.

    But I know what you mean. You would think that because I’m long-winded (I talk like this, too) and write too long posts that I would actually enjoy it when others do it? No way! When I see someone else write a long post, like Danny Miller or Billy Mernit or Elisabeth, I roll my eyes and shout “Please God save me from reading another blog post!”

    So, I appreciate you for continuing to come here. I will try to get to the point quicker, like you are supposed to do in a movie script. If I were to do a re-write of this post, it might have been better to cut out all that stuff about that blogging book, and cut right to the chase about me going for lunch. But then I wouldn’t have been able to link to blogger, and maybe she’ll see it — and introduce me to some of her powerful blogging friends. You see where I’m going?

    Thanks! I really do appreciate the comment.

  13. Mist 1 says:

    Update: Slept through lunch.

  14. mari says:

    I am not sure what I’m having for lunch today…but I was just staeaming some gorgous sweet organic apples and forgot that I left the hob on because of reading your post and have now burned the pan. I think I may miss lunch.

  15. Non-Highlighted Heather says:

    I think it’s important to take Jakob’s comments contextually. The poor man is Danish. Have you seen the words that those people have to pronounce? If my tongue had to wrap itself around some of those pronunciations, or if I had to type out words like “Evighedsstudent” or “fodboldresultat,” I’d keep things brief too. Fortunately for Neil (and us), he keeps to the smaller, easier to pronounce words like “penis,” “Jew,” and “coupon.”

    Dinner update: Spring rolls, satay, pad thai, Thai BBQ beef, and cold beer.

  16. Neil says:

    Heather — Since we are talking about food here, as well as Jakob’s criticism, I should add that I love Danish food, especially a good cheese Danish!

  17. Non-Highlighted Heather says:

    Neil = aesel kysse. (Forgive me Jakob for mangling your language.)

  18. Neil says:

    Heather — Sophia says the same thing to me in Russian!

  19. mari says:

    If I ever meet you Neil, please don’t take me out for a ‘two-for-one-coupon’ garden burger- I’d never forgive you. I think I’d take you out and buy you lunch to spare the embarrasment over that anyday.

  20. Pingback: Got Blogads? (Yes, Neil, I Mean YOU) - from The Zero Boss by Jay Andrew Allen

  21. CP says:

    see? your dishonest thoughts gave you a kinehura. oy. karma is a jewish mother.

    neil, been reading your blog daily since reviewing you on “bloglaughs” and since you stopped by to give my son good wishes. Yer a mensch.

    Thanks doll!


  22. Jack says:

    Darn it, now I am hungry. Time for a good sandwich.

  23. LOL, LOL, LOL…Writing about what you had for lunch certainly hasn’t kept people away from reading an commenting, Neil…I am #72!! Good Lord…Who would have thought that what you ate for lunch would produce this kind of interest….But see, people DO CARE….!
    I hope you go back and order the Gardenburger cause I’d like to know what In & Out Burger puts in that!

  24. Mary says:

    In eighth grade I had a friend who was one of the top contenders for Most Popular Girl in School (we were a fickle bunch and just couldn’t decided which girl to choose so a permanent cat fight was always in play). She was incredibly skinny and was always on a diet. Everywhere we went she would order a hamburger with no burger – a concoction much like you described. She talked about the bread filling up her stomach and the veggies providing nutrients. I always envied her will power because I always ordered the full hamburger. I guess that is why I was never in the running to be the queen of the school.

    My point is this: reading your post I couldn’t help but see you sitting at the little BK table with shoulder length curly brown hair and talking about which boy likes you this week and how totally lame Maria is. Is that wierd?

  25. What did I have for lunch?

    Baby food and therapy. Lots of it.

  26. Mary says:

    Similar thing happened to me a couple weeks ago. Bought a Philly Cheesesteak at a “Dominic’s of New York” cart that sits in front of the Lowe’s near me. I ordered it on garlic bread. When he handed me my bag, I saw that there were two sandwiches in there. I drove away, thinking “score!”. Within two blocks the guilt overtook me and I drove back and told him that he’d given me two sandwiches. He looked at me like I was crazy. “Lady, one of those is the garlic bread you ordered”. It’s all in how you order, I guess….

  27. Carly says:

    I blogged about my lunch. This made me feel lame. Then I googled the name of that stupid book to make fun of it and re-found your page, which I used to read some time ago, as well as others. I’m feeling better now.


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