Blueberry Metaphysics

Breakfast – October 16, 2005

My Wife and I have sat down to breakfast at Ca’ Pisani, one of the nicer hotels here in Venice. Eggs, bacon, cereal, the usual continental breakfast fare. I have taken the time to make a couple slices of toast, and selected a a nice blueberry preserve to bring back to the table. As I’m spreading the preserve on the [generously buttered] bread, I notice the wonderfully rich purple color of this sugary substance, along with it’s marvelous glisteny texture. Some of the blueberries are still mostly intact and they create a marvelous bumpy surface.

I contemplate my creation and it occurs to me that if ever there was a slice of toast destined to land in my lap, it is this one and I say exactly this to wife! “Honey, if ever there was a piece of toast destined for my lap, this is it.” Mind you this takes some explaining. She doesn’t at first comprehend the inevitabilty I feel at this moment. But I eventually clarify and she returns to her cappuccino with an understanding shake of the head (that of course looks remarkably like the one she uses when she is just humoring me, but let’s not go there just now).

I think of the old maxim, “Toast always lands buttered side down”, and I wonder if there’s a corresponding correlary about buttered toast with jam landing in one’s lap. But I am hungry and I return to the task at hand. The first bite, out of one of the corners, barely lives up to my expectations for this now larger-than-life piece of pané. But it is perfectly good breakfast fodder and so I continue with the second bite, out of an adjacent corner.

Now the location of these bites is important. Imagine the bread at this point; it has a bite out of each of two corners, leaving a bite-size tab of bread between. This is intentional – it provides an obvious third bite with a minimum of crust – which is how I like my toast. However this is European bread, not good old American WonderBread and it apparently has other plans. I have no idea what it’s made out of, but when toasted it develops a remarkably brittle structure that I am unfamiliar with. And so it is that this little tab, as I pull the bread away from my mouth, starts to break off. I watch as in perfect Hollywood slow motion it separates from the rest of the toast and starts to drop. I have a moment to contemplate my thoughts of bare moments before, the brief conversation I had with my wife, and resign my self to the inevitable. There is no horror, no jerky attempt at avoiding this micro-disaster in the making. I simply feel a calm settle in as I watch the bread tumble to the table, bounce off the side of my plate, and make a perfect Greg Louganis triple-backflip-with-a-twist to land squarely, blueberry-jam side down, in the middle of my crotch.

I look up at my wife, a knowing smirk on my lips (just in case she really was humoring me) and she responds with a “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding!” look. But she has lived with me long enough to know that this kind of thing is… well… it occasionally happens in my life. Babe Ruth would call his home runs, arm and finger extended toward the bleachers in right field, but me? I appear to have a prescient knack for predicting messy pants.

Both my parents are scientists; my upbringing has not inclined me toward religion or a belief in the paranormal. However, this morning my faith in science and a rational world is shaken. Either God has a grand plan (and free-will simply is an illusion), or my subconscious desire for self-abuse is manifesting via telekinetic powers I was unaware I possessed. Either way, one of us appears to be petty and cruel.

This is truely a dillemma, one that will take some grappling with. So I sit here staring at my navel, contemplating awesome, unexplained powers that look like blueberry jam.

[Image based on art from Marie M. Vlasic and]

One response to “Blueberry Metaphysics”