What’s breakfast?

Hello, and welcome back to Truth in Jest Studios. Pardon the hiatus; our field researcher/chief editor/reporter/founder was conducting weeks’ worth of interviews and fact-checking so that we could bring you a little something different this time around: a brief documentary of one remarkable young man and his life-altering discovery. Thank you for your patience and we hope you enjoy.

Esteban Mendoza was born and raised in Center City Philadelphia, home of TIJ Studios, the 2018 Super Bowl Champion: Philadelphia Eagles, and Freedom. From a young boy, Mendoza excelled in his studies; mastering literally every subject in grade school, high school and college, and in quick fashion. In fact, presently, at 22 years old, we can more accurately refer to him as Dr. Mendoza. With his prodigious intellect, but also with uncommon self-awareness, Mendoza opted to pursue his doctorate in an area where he felt his knowledge was lacking. His book smarts were unquestionable but, at the young age of 20 (at the time), his experience left something to be desired, so, he dived head-first into his educational pathway of choice: archaeology – specifically: urban archaeology.

Throughout his graduate studies and spilling into his post-doctorate career, Mendoza had been subconsciously consumed by a question that he presently realizes had plagued him throughout his life: What the fuck is “breakfast?”

You see, what I, at the ripe age of 35, and you the reader, may be intimately aware of as “breakfast” was a foreign concept to young Dr. Mendoza. Growing up within the confines of metro-Philly, he knew very little of anything outside of it, essentially spending most of his time at school and the rest of his time preparing for it in some way. Sure, he’d have a piece of fruit or some toast in the morning but it wasn’t any kind of formal meal. Sometimes, his parents would even allow him to have his favorite sugary “breakfast” cereal, but, in context, “breakfast” could simply refer to a quick fruit-and-toast substitute or a sugary treat – so, yeah: “breakfast” he thought, “duh… just whatever I eat in the morning because I’m too busy to have a formal brunch.”

Yes, brunch. Brunch is the formal meal of Dr. Mendoza’s generation. All of the local restaurants serve it, all of his friends invite him to it, everyone he knew was perfectly willing to lay down $15 for it. It wasn’t until he engaged with an old wise man sleeping outside of the McDonald’s near 18th and Walnut St., who said “Hey, young fella. Can you spare some change to help me get some breakfast?”

Typically, Dr. Mendoza would just walk a little faster or pretend to answer a phone call but something in that word, ‘breakfast’ jarred him. So, he engaged. “Sorry sir, I don’t think McDonald’s sells toast or breakfast cereal and I don’t have any on me right now.”

“Please, young man.”  The wise man said, “Anything would help. I can get some eggs and pancakes.”

“Sir!” Dr. Mendoza said, a bit miffed. “Don’t you think $15 is a lot to ask for from a stranger? And don’t you mean ‘brunch’? Eggs and pancakes are for brunch.”

“What the fuck is ‘brunch’?” said the wise man.

“Ok, you’re clearly insane.” Said Mendoza, “Good day to you, sir, and please try to get some help.”

“Hey, fuck you, asshole!” The wind carried the sentiments from behind Dr. Mendoza to his eardrum as he hastened away.

But the interaction stayed present in his mind and later that morning, as he was driving through Delaware, on the way to do a talk at the University, he realized he was nearly out of gas and starving. It was only 9:30am and, as everyone knows, brunch doesn’t really start until 10-10:30am. However, directly next to the gas station where he was filling up, he noticed an old-timey looking place with a front porch and rocking chairs and such. The sign said ‘Cracker Barrel Old Country Store’ and he noticed families streaming in and out, anxiously and spryly on the way in, slothedly and lethargic on the way out. “Early brunch!” he thought, and proceeded in. It was as if he’d walked through a time warp and immediately upon breaching it, was bludgeoned with old candy and plush crap. But the place just kept going and, in the rear, was seemingly hundreds of country folk eating ‘brunch’.

The hostess seated him, handed him a menu and said. “your waitress will be right with you.” Dr. Mendoza examined the menu. The first 10 pages said “lunch” and the remaining 5 said “breakfast.”  Confused, he asked the waitress “can I have the brunch menu?” and just as confused she replied, “what the fuck is brunch?”

The eerily familiar conversation struck him. He ordered his food but held on to the menu for further examination. He paged through it, frontwards and backwards as he ate, then stopped ¾ of the way through the manuscript, now holding a page in his left and right hands. His eyes darted back and forth, left and right: “Breakfast” – “Lunch” – “Breakfast” – “Lunch” until the words blurred together. “BRUNCH!” he screamed aloud as the startled patrons paused in silence. “Could it be?” he thought to himself, ignoring the stares of confusion. He finished his eggs, bacon, chicken-fried steak, grits, cornbread, side of eggs, biscuit and pancake stack, tucked the manuscript into his coat and paid his bill: $9, before quickly storming out of the door – certain he had been incorrectly billed for the feast.

He continued to examine the menu as he sat in his car, astounded: “breakfast… potatoes?” Everything was upside down. He drove home immediately, completely forgetting about his lecture. He spent hours upon days upon weeks pouring over the manuscript – examining the classifications of items, the pricing, the layout – every detail. He researched the economics and the time-frame around the decent of the term “breakfast” and simultaneous ascent of the term “brunch” in metropolitan areas. He researched and uncovered a covert plot among city officials, local businesses and the Illuminati to destroy the construct of breakfast.

Finally, he discovered the holy grail: the magical equation, now known as the ‘Mendoza Construct’:

((Breakfast + lunch + champagne)/3.14 x 3.14) + companionship + (breakfast + 3 hours) = $15-$35

Dr. Mendoza discovered that primitive peoples used to wake up early and have three meals per day instead of two and a series of snacks. He discovered that the markup on a cup of coffee is, roughly, 23,890%. He discovered an early document called a “letter” or “journal,” with a graphite etching upon it, asking the question (to no one in particular) “what is the earliest I can eat fried chicken and burgers without feeling like a piece of shit?”

All of his findings led to the same conclusion: that brunch is a social construct, a plot to make more money from cheap foods and to eat burgers and drink alcohol for breakfast without guilt or persecution. Investors in coffee and eggs have been made into billionaires since the brunch regime took hold. Traditional diners are folding, choosing to stick to an archaic menu model in attempts to fight or protest Big Brunch. And as for Dr. Mendoza himself? He has dedicated his life to the crusade against the brunch juggernaut, often going door to door with his holy manuscript: The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store breakfast and lunch menu. He teaches that breakfast and lunch should be separate but equal and that three meals a day are the key to a healthy and prosperous lifestyle.

Oh, and the wise man? He finally got that breakfast he was looking for. Alongside Dr. Mendoza… At the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.

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