Lately, I’ve been meeting a disturbing number of breakfast-skippers. Ordinarily it’s no big deal to spot one lurking at odd hours in Durfee’s; if you’ve been in college for more than a week, you’ve probably encountered a few yourself. They obey certain Paradigms of Wacko: There’s the Rip-van-Winkle 20-hour-nap crowd, of course, for whom morning is some weird oatmealy myth that may or may not actually exist; and the short-shorts-wearing jumping beans, who’ll nix the Trix for an indigestible cereal bar; and the overcommitted joiner types who think Red Bull is a square meal; and the stress-mongers who are too busy hyperventilating to eat an English muffin. I can’t fault them — the poor souls can’t help themselves. On a day-to-day basis, I usually just smile sadly into their glassy eyes and try to slip sausage patties into their pockets.
But recently — and this is what really concerns me — I’ve met a whole lot of essentially normal people who’ve been forgoing breakfast. These are more or less decent and principled Schmoes who don’t have anything against breakfast per se, but just sort of sit around in their rooms, stalking their exes on Facebook and letting their mornings drift by like tumbleweeds or wind-borne cotton candy. And suddenly it’s lunchtime.
This phenomenon upsets me, to the point where I feel compelled to turn to the Facebooking Schmoes and cry: “What’s your DEAL?”
It’s common lore that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and — all nutritional concerns and grandma voodoo aside — I heartily agree. Besides breakfast, nothing fun or pleasant ever happens in the morning. It is a horrible black abyss in which you make to-do lists, drop off your dry cleaning and are cosmically judged for all the stupid crap you did the night before. Breakfast, then, is the sole savior of what would otherwise be your very bleak life — it will rescue you from your angst and ennui and hangover, maternally encircle you in its Bundt-cake embrace, and remind you that in this world that takes and takes and takes from you, you can always take back a blueberry pancake.
Which brings me to another special merit of breakfast. I don’t know whether it’s due to some serendipitous cosmic goof or not — maybe some protohistoric intern put some files in the wrong folder — but somehow breakfast has gotten mysteriously confused with dessert. Waffles, muffins, French toast, pancakes, strudels, coffee rings, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls — it’s all cake. It is totally freaking cake. And in fact, it’s even better than cake: it’s cake on which you get to pour liquid sugar. It’s cake that you can eat with bacon. If you have not at some point craved cake and bacon simultaneously, then you are just a hollow shell of a college student, and I don’t pretend to understand you.
On a more serious level, it frustrates my foodie sensibilities to think that breakfast — and more generally, mealtimes — don’t hold a higher spot on our priority scales. There’s no question that fullness is directly correlated to happiness: it’s what makes Oliver Twist so sympathetic and Tony the Tiger such a cool cat. Living as we are in this Neo-Gothic madhouse, and beholden as we are to so many social and academic obligations, it’s easy to see meals as inconveniences rather than mercies. But you owe yourself a little bit of love, and is that one-night stand really going to cut it better than a warm chocolate-chip waffle? Is a jog up Science Hill really as heart-healthy as a Cheerio? Is there anything toastier than toast? Absolutely not.
So even if the idea of a sugar coma doesn’t move you, go to breakfast. Treat yourself to some free affection. And if you need a better reason than the growl of your empty stomach, or the misery of your empty life — just look (next time you’re at Durfee’s at odd hours) at those people who don’t eat breakfast. Yawning narcoleptics, neurotic head cases, weird people with sausage patties in their pockets: living proof that forsaking your Froot Loops can make you just a bit Froot Loopy.