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I’m With Stupid – January 17, 2014

THE TRANSFORMATIVE POWER OF RING-SHAPED PASTRY
by Todd Hartley

Todd Hartley-smallA couple of winters ago, I drove a car from Connecticut to Colorado by myself. I took Interstate 80, which meant I would be crossing from New Jersey to Pennsylvania through the Delaware Water Gap, a point at which there is a tollbooth. I saw a sign alerting me to the upcoming toll, and I realized I had no cash on me, so I pulled off the highway at a small town in western New Jersey to find an ATM.

As I rolled down the street looking for a bank I spied a drive-through Dunkin’ Donuts, and it dawned on me that there are no Dunkin’ Donuts anywhere near where I live. If I wanted a Boston Kreme or an apple crumb, it might be my last chance. So I bought a dozen donuts and set them on the passenger seat next to me with the intention of eating them in the car over the next three days.

So enraptured was I with my purchase that I then completely forgot to get cash and headed blithely back to the highway, steering wheel in one hand, half-devoured French cruller in the other.

Unfortunately, the man at the tollbooth didn’t accept donuts as currency, so he told me that the booth would automatically snap a picture of my license plate, and the state of Pennsylvania would send out a bill in the mail. As far as I know the bill never got sent.

As for the donuts – my intended three days’ worth of snack food – they were gone by the time I reached Illinois, late on day one. I felt totally ashamed of myself, but it really wasn’t my fault. I was listening to “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” and it was so tedious I needed a constant sugar rush to keep me awake at the wheel.

Anyway, I bring up my donut anecdote because I have another little confession or two (or three) to make regarding my relationship with the delectable treats, especially of late.

I’ve long been a proponent of doing my banking on Saturday mornings. This is not because things are quieter or the lines are shorter. This is solely because on Saturday mornings my bank gives out free donuts. I like to get there early to make sure I get my pick of the chocolate frosted ones.

Sometimes, the bank gives the donuts to the local high school dance team, and the girls add them to a fund-raising bake sale that they hold on the sidewalk outside the bank. That means that the donuts are no longer free and instead cost a small donation to the team. I pay it, but it always makes me a little angry.

This NFL season, my local grocery store has done a promotion wherein if the Broncos win on Sunday, everyone with one of the store’s value cards is entitled to a free donut on Monday (or any day after a win). I’m not a perfect 14 for 14 as far as getting my donuts, but I’m pretty damn close. Thank you, Peyton Manning, and good luck this weekend; I’ve had my eye on the jelly bismarks for a while now.

About two weeks ago I was riding the gondola at Aspen Mountain with some friends, and one of them, a hyperfit gal who’d already run four miles that morning and intended to skin up a mountain later that afternoon, remarked that she’d eaten a donut recently and still couldn’t shake the guilty feeling.

Another female friend – this one also hyperfit – sympathized and said it had been years since she’d eaten a donut. She was going to say more, but at that point she was interrupted by the incredulous guffawing coming from my area of the gondola car.

The two ladies asked me if I was a donut fan, and I relayed the tidbit about the grocery store’s promotion and how it was the thing I liked most about football this season. Then I told them about the bank. Then I unleashed the heavy artillery and told them the story of how I was so distracted by a short-lived dozen donuts that I completely forgot what I was doing.

“You ask if I like donuts?” I said to the two ladies, who both looked about ready to puke. “I like them so much that apparently I ate more donuts in one sitting than the two of you combined have eaten in the last two decades.”

Curse you and your stupid tattoo, Lisbeth.

Todd Hartley says, “Go Broncos! And see if you can win some games in the spring and summer, too.”

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