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The Blog Brothers

Two Black-Irish-American brothers from the mythical city of Albany, New York ponder their 20th century adventures from either side of the Pacific Ocean; Bob in Kyoto, Japan and Mick in Santa Barbara, California.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Jelly Donut of Nothingness

Anyone over 30 knows that the human mind and soul carry around all the cravings you often don't even realize you still have (as any former smoker can tell you); those silent and unnourished (usually) embers remain with you always.

This happens in an especially big way when you leave your culture, with all its attendant ingrained traditional cravings, and go live for any major length of time in another culture, particularly one as radically different as Japan is.

There in that new culture, amidst a full spectrum of unrecognized indigenous cravings, you carry around your old cravings unawares, that eat away at your virtual vitals for decades, like termites at the finest woods, until one day as in my case some majestic tree topples in the jungle of your passions and lets in some light-- I know the metaphor has gone wild but that's the nature of craving-- and you realize for example, with startling intensity, that you haven't had a genuine jelly donut in 50 years...

By genuine jelly donut I don't mean the standard six-pack, machine-gunned jelly donuts you can probably still get in convenience stores in the US (in Japan, forget even that); I am referring, with head duly bowed, to the truly epiphanic jelly donut that Baker Bill used to fashion by hand in his ramshackle bakery in between his tipsy visits to the World's Fair bar and pizzeria across the street, and don't get me started on World's Fair pizzas, the way Eddie the pizza guy used to make them, back when I was a teenager... You see?

You see? Old cravings, popping up one by one wherever in the world I go, with the World's Fair pizzeria long gone and Baker Bill even longer gone, so even if I went back to my home town my cravings would be of no avail.

Fact is, cravings don't do much good, especially when satisfied, which is an excellent reason to leave them behind; but even so, I'd sure like to walk into Baker Bill's kitchen just one more time and fill up on jelly donuts, then wander across the street to the World's Fair, 25 cents for a slice a foot wide...

3 Comments:

Blogger Mick Brady said...

Bob, wonderfully said. If it's any comfort, I haven't found one as good since then either; we may have witnessed the passing of an art form. And, like Charlie Parker, Baker Bill seemed to do his best work when he was high. Crave on!

7:54 AM  
Blogger Robert Brady said...

Who would have thought that such fineness could ever fade away? Who would let it be lost? Now I'm always looking for that pastry over the rainbow, that pizza, that pie...

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Winston said...

It may/may not tickle another lost craving for you:
http://www.nobodyasked.com/archives/2006/03/04/twinkies/

Born and raised in the South, for 20 years I wandered about in the North and Midwest, craving some of the Southern delicacies I grew up with. Now that I'm back in Nashville, I crave some of the things I learned to like up there, particularly in Pittsburgh.

The grass is always greener ... behind us ...

8:09 AM  

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