Tiny Pineapple

ananas comosus (L.) minimus

My Best Friend, Justin

I had the most bizarre dream last night. In it, Justin Timberlake and I were the best of friends and we were in Canada for some sort of national celebration where he was going to be honored for something or other (presumably his humanitarian efforts on behalf of teenage girls the world over).

At some point a panic broke out and the young, screaming girls at the front of the crowd were being crushed against the front barricades. Justin and I leapt into action, pulling the girls to safety. The girls, who by then had turned into Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman, and various other very attractive women, expressed their gratitude for our efforts and asked if there was anything they could do to thank us <wink, wink>…and that’s when I woke up.

No matter how hard I tried to fall back asleep, there was no going back. It was gone. But for the longest time I had that lingering glow that comes from having a celebrity as a best friend and the opportunities for heroism (and Naomi Watts) that arise as a result of that friendship.

For those of you who are curious, Justin is quite charming and down-to-earth when you get to know him.


I have become hopelessly addicted to Einstein Bros. Power Bagels (not toasted, thank you) with peanut butter and grape jelly (light on the peanut butter, please).

Those damn hand-held seductresses, with their sweet nectar oozing out the sides with each rapturous bite, have me in a grip from which I cannot escape. Their siren song compels me from my path each morning to indulge in their hearty, dense flesh, imbued with the sweetness of raisins and dried cranberries, a cinnamon bouquet redolent of Ceylon, and the piquant nuttiness of….well…nuts. I arrive at work late, reeking of peanut butter, trousers stained with large dollops of grape jelly, acting hyper-normal in hopes that my coworkers won’t notice anything abnormal about my abnormal behavior.

“What?” says a friend, as I pass. “Einstein’s again?”

I glance down at the 32 oz. Diet Coke (with lemon) in my hand, the cup emblazoned with the Einstein Bros. logo (two little men peering into my soul through bagel monocles). “Uh, yeah,” I fumble, trying furiously to think of something that might explain a normal person’s serial dining habits. “It’s, um, it’s right on my way to work…”

“Well, you must really like it,” he offers.

I smile the half-smile of a man who is no longer a part of this world. A man who has turned himself over, body and soul, to his wanton lust for tasty baked goods. Some may pity me, but this is a culinary prison from which I have no desire to be freed. If this is hell, I have no need for a heaven.

The Hardy Boys Today

A recent conversation got me thinking of where the Hardy Boys might be today…

“Frank and Joe sat in their Chevy Nova across from the Stagnant Arms Motel. Empty Cheetos bags littered the floor of the car and Frank was tentatively sipping his 44 oz. Super Big Gulp of Mountain Dew trying to figure out whether his bladder could wait until their quarry emerged from Room 262. Joe leaned his head against the passenger-side window and wondered if Frank was ever going to let him drive again.

He had accidentally backed over Frank’s girlfriend, Callie Shaw, three years earlier while solving the Mystery of the Bounced Checks, breaking her leg in five places. It had been an honest mistake. He had been distracted by Chet Morton who had him in a head-lock and was attempting to give him a “noogy” at the time of the accident. (Joe had given up on asking Chet to stop giving him noogies quite a while ago. Every time he made the request, Chet would give him a wedgie, so now he just sat there and let it happen. An awful lot of Joe’s life seemed like that now. He just sat there and let it happen.) But even after countless lectures on driveway safety, Frank still wouldn’t let Joe behind the wheel.

Frank sat up abruptly and muttered, “Hey, Mario Andretti, there he is.”

Oscar Smuff stood outside of Room 262 straightening his tie. Behind him, in the doorway, stood a short, stocky forty-something redhead in acid-wash jeans and a Def Leppard T-Shirt.

“Start taking pictures, Speed Racer,” Frank growled, slugging Joe in the arm.

“Darn it, Frank,” Joe winced, as he rifled through the pile of Maxim magazines and candy wrappers that lay on the seat between them looking for the disposable camera that he’d purchased at Wal-Mart the day before. “I’m trying to.”

He finally found the camera and started snapping pictures as fast as he could, but he had to pause after each snap to advance the film with his thumb. By the time Oscar Smuff had made it down the stairs and into his car Joe had only been able to get two, maybe three, decent pictures. They were so far away that he didn’t think Mrs. Smuff would be able to recognize her husband anyway, let alone the bimbo who had been standing behind him.

“Great camera work, Mr. Blind Spot, ” Frank sneered as he pulled out to follow Smuff’s car, signalling properly and merging smoothly with the flow of traffic while obeying all traffic laws and making sure not to surpass the posted speed limit in the pursuit.

— From The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of the Fleabag Motel