Two things I don’t understand. (Admittedly, there are more, many more. Ask my teenage daughters. They have a list. They’ll text you a copy.) Two things that are at the top of my list (though they are not even on my daughters’) are the appeal of Krispy Crème donuts and teen flicks.
I’ll start with teen flicks, because I am pretty sure (as are my daughters) that I will never understand them.
“So what’s this one about?” I ask as I sit down about halfway through a DVD they rented yesterday and are trying to watch 10 times in order to memorize the dialogue before they take it back tomorrow.
“Well, see the girl in the Rue21 outfit? She’s in love with the guy in the Puma jeans. But she thinks she hates him because he ruined the chances of her best friend’s boy friend to get a big recording contract, but she doesn’t know that, he, the boy friend, is actually cheating on her best friend . . .”
“Sounds like Pride and Prejudice.”
Blank looks from both of them.
“Pride and Prejudice? Jane Austin? She also wrote Emma.”
“I don’t watch daytime soaps,” says the older one, who by the way is wearing a Papaya top and Abercrombie jeans.
“They’re novels,” I reply. Though I think one was made into a movie. Clueless?”
“Great movie!” the younger one says.
“I love the classics,” affirms the older one.
I let it drop, pretty sure I’ve let what the books call a “learning moment” slip through my fingers. Just as I’m sure that every teen flick my daughters have ever seen is, in fact, an imitation of a Jane Austin novel, has tapped into a cultural memory that is apparently only available to teenage girls. (Jung, if you only knew.) If my daughters read the originals, would they recognize the movies as junk food for the mind?
Which brings us to Krispy Crème, partly because it seems appropriate to go from junk food for the mind to junk food for, well, junk food—and partly because they’re second on my list.
You can find Krispy Crème donuts slowly congealing in boxes and displays in any local gas-station-grocery-get-your-lottery-tickets-here store in the Valley. Go ahead, try one. If your reaction is like mine, you’ll find them a little mushy—or a little crusty around the edges, depending on whether they were delivered last night or last Thursday.
I am confused, not that people like Krispy Crème. I can make no claims to culinary sophistication other than watching “Iron Chef” reruns on the Food Channel. I have trouble understanding the obsession some people have with Krispy Crème. After considerable research, during which I picked up an extra five pounds, I have developed a tentative theory:
People who crave Krispy Crème aren’t thinking about that donut in the display slowly metamorphosing from mushy to crusty. They’re remembering that hot, bubbly, melt in your mouth donut that they got in Houston or Dallas five, ten years ago. That donut permeated their taste buds and traveled right down their brainstem to invade that corner of their brain that psychologists, for reason only psychologists are privy to, have named the lizard brain. There, that memory gets labeled, “Manna,” “Food of the Gods,” “Good stuff!” In other words, they are not tasting the donut in their hand, they’re tasting a memory.
Somewhere in that lizard brain, they remember a flashing, red neon sign that says “Hot Doughnuts Now.” In Dallas or Houston (sophisticated big cities where they have a fancy spelling for donut), they know when they see that sign donuts are hopping, popping, rising, frying, happily down a conveyor belt into the hands of a smiling teenager who places a free, piping hot, donut, dripping in glaze, in their hands. In gratitude, they buy a dozen, maybe two, that they know won’t taste like the one they eat while they wait in line. Ah, but the memory, the memory of that donut, is like the teen flick version of a Jane Austin novel. And memory, apparently, tastes better than the real thing.