So, the other night I got a prime rib from Chick-a-Dee here in Lewiston. I ordered it rare and rare is how they served it. 

Brothers, that piece of meat was sublime. I had sides with it, but those sides faded away into bland obscurity next to the glory of the steak. The best salad in the world can’t compete with a prime rib, my friends. If I ate any of the french fries, it was only to sop up some of the au jus that dribbled down my trembling chin. Chick-a-Dee could serve their prime rib with packing peanuts and it’d be all the same to me. I ate the fries because I felt bad for them. They were like ignored children with an overachieving sibling. 

For the 20 minutes or so it took me to devour that bright pink hunk of heaven, everything else in the world had to stop. There was nothing on the television that could tug my attention away from that chunk of cow. My phone may have chirped and beeped and rang constantly in my pocket, but I wouldn’t have noticed.  

My chair could have burst into flames (it happens) and I just would have kept on eating, oblivious to the scorching pain in my lower half. 

“So tender,” I would have moaned, as the firefighters blasted me with skin-ripping jets of water. “And the au jus is just perfect!” 

I really enjoyed that steak, in case you missed that. It was a life-changing affair. And if I had my way, I’d have that very same meal (prime rib, burning chair and whatever on the side) two or three times a year and call it good. 

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And I mean, call it good — other than the thrice yearly prime rib, I don’t see any particular reason to eat regular old food at all. What would be the point? 

As some of you know, one of the greatest disappointments in my life is that we don’t have food in pill form yet. Some people want jet packs, some want teleportation, I want a simple pill that you can pop in your mouth once a day and have all your nutrition needs taken care of. 

Is it such a big ask? 

We’ve got supercomputers small enough to tuck into our pockets. We’ve got bug-looking cameras that fly around in the sky, and we’ve got artificial intelligence writing term papers and composing music. 

We’ve got 3D printers, gene editing, virtual reality, autonomous cars, brain-computer interfacing and galaxy-exploring robots. We’ve got all that and yet three times a day, humans are still expected to drop everything they’re doing and sit down to stuff some combination of flora and fauna into their gaping maws lest they faint from hunger and die. 

My disdain for food borders, at times, on aversion. On resentment. While everyone else is getting all giddy excited about their mid-July lobster dinner, all I can think about is the work that eating a crustacean entails — not to mention the fact that it will make my face stink for a week.

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I like lobster and clams just fine, I guess. But I’d like it a lot better if I could have it, melted butter and all, either in capsule form or through a syringe.

And it’s not just the eating part that irks me. It’s the whole, painstaking ritual of the life-sustaining affair; a frustrating ritual that has to be played out day after day after day.

“What do you want to eat tonight?” 

“I don’t know. What do YOU want?” 

You’ve got to decide what dead animal or store-bought plant to put into your mouth. Then you have to go out and procure those items from the grocery store, the corner market or the woods behind your house. There are sides to consider: French fries? Or mac ‘n’ cheese? 

You’ve got to lug all of that home and then somebody — it ain’t me, I’ll tell you that right now — has to bake it, broil it, stuff it in a pressure cooker or zap it in the microwave. After which, you can eat, which itself involves cutting and spearing and chewing your food enough that it doesn’t cause you to choke and die. 

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And we have to do this at least once a day! Some people do it, thrice a day or more, and I salute those people though they confound me. What kind of planning and patience must it take to go through all of that multiple times daily? 

So, over my vacation (I was on vacation, you know) we made three trips to New Hampshire and one to Massachusetts. On the road, this whole food nonsense is particularly galling. 

“We’re here!” I’ll say to whomever that woman is sitting in the passenger seat. “I want to go to the Museum of Gross Stuff! I want to make faces at the monkeys at the zoo! I want to see the third-largest freestanding ball of twine on the face of the earth! Such fun! So much to do!” 

“Uh huh,” that hateful woman responds. “But first, we’ve got to stop and eat.” 

After I’m done ranting and fuming over the inconvenience of it all, I’ll sigh and get the ritual started. 

“What do you want to eat?” I’ll ask. 

“I dunno. What do YOU want?” 

I don’t know why she asks, really. My answer is always prime rib and always will be. 

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