Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
This week: Nancy versus Donald! Donald versus Nancy! Michael Cohen versus the concept of self-respect!
I go to Nashville once a month to work on a new play and every time I go the theater company that's hosting my playwriting cohort, Nashville Rep, treats us to the most incredible meals I've ever had. They're so diligent about finding new, varied eateries for us to try; every Nashville restaurant is extremely Instagrammable; and they always let me get dessert which is my life's ambition. It's an absolute dream. That said, I just came back from five days in Nashville and yet the food-related thing that I cannot get out of my mind is actually how on Wednesday I was at an educational talk about breakfast sandwiches and someone in the audience suggested that if you ate a tuna fish sandwich for breakfast, it was a breakfast sandwich.
I really cannot express how stressed out this idea makes me. Tuna fish! The scourge of the office breakroom! Is not a breakfast sandwich! It is a sandwich, yes, but just like a pop tart is not a ravioli and a hot dog is not a taco, a tuna fish sandwich pre-noon is not a breakfast sandwich. I could not believe what I was hearing. Honestly some people just want to watch the toast burn.
Let me take a step back to explain the circumstances, as you are probably wondering why I was at an educational talk about breakfast sandwiches. (Just kidding; I know there isn't a single person receiving this newsletter who is in any way confused about why R. Eric Thomas sought out, found, purchased a ticket to, and attended an educational talk about breakfast sandwiches. What can I say? Talking about food brings me joy; I want to be the Marie Kondo of food opinions. In my show I would just walk into your kitchen, pull out a tupperware container full of leftovers, and coo "tell me about this pasta." And then you'd cry and we'd hug and then I'd move on the the salad dressing and we wouldn't throw anything out and nothing would change and the series would run for 40 years.)
Anyway, my friend Neil is a breakfast sandwich aficionado. He's compiled a Google Map of the best breakfast sandwich places in Philadelphia and has embarked on a quest to share his love of the form with the world. He gave a speech at an event called Nerd Nite in Philadelphia about breakfast sandwiches and the folks at Nerd Nite Baltimore invited him down to repeat what is arguably the greatest talk anyone has ever given. As has been pre-established, food-related talking points are my bread and butter. So, I go and his talk is great, going over the basics of a good breakfast sandwich and a unifying theory on the beauty of sharing a breakfast meal in sandwich form. It was everything I've ever wanted. The State of the Union should just be the president ranking breakfast cereals. The nightly news should begin with the specials at every local restaurant. The international space station should be ferrying a Cheesecake Factory menu to every planet in the solar system. I feel this strongly.
After the talk ended, there was a question and answer period. I asked Neil to speak at length about bread choices for a breakfast sandwich, which he did beautifully. His go-to is a biscuit, but sourdough and ciabatta also got a shoutout. I can't remember where he came down on the subject of bagels, however, and I feel bad about this. However, before I got to ask my question, the agent of chaos in the back of the room got all shirty about his tuna fish sandwich and the whole place turned into a powder keg. People were yelling and pointing like we were in British parliament. I believe one person fainted from the shock. There were many screams, mostly coming from me. I thought the guy would probably back down after a while, indicating that he knew he was throwing a lit match into a box of firecrackers, but he doubled down. He got hostile with Neil. I stood on my chair and started flapping my hands! Someone called the State Police. The lights started blinking involuntarily. It was all so much. Another guy asked a question about whether a grilled cheese sandwich was a breakfast sandwich! Have these people never been awake before noon?! What is happening in Baltimore?!
I know there are some of you out there who may say, "Well, if you eat a sandwich for breakfast, it's a breakfast sandwich." This is violence. I simply cannot abide it. I think you can eat whatever you want for breakfast, including a big ole pile of tuna fish. But when we speak of breakfast sandwiches (and we should always be speaking of breakfast sandwiches), we have to agree on certain terms. Otherwise, everything is chaos and chaos makes me hungry and then it's a whole thing.
Was I aware that the president could be booted from the group chat like this? No. Am I learning more and more about governmental shade every day? Yes. Is it single-handedly reviving me? Absolutely. Nancy Pelosi muting Donald Trump using his own political grandstanding as an excuse is the kind of petty that will have me living a thousand more years like Ruth Bader Ginsburg. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
The President of the United States of America is using the might and power of his office to ::checks notes:: cancel a Priceline reservation. Okay. On one hand, this will definitely get its own display case in the Petty Wing of his Presidential Library, which will be situated between the Chik-fil-A and the Impeachment Log Flume. On the other hand, does he actually think he's doing something with this? An attempt was made, but if this is a clapback, my dear, I'm afraid it's only hitting on the ones and the threes. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
Hapless stooge Michael Cohen is back in the news again in a story that has everything: poll-rigging, a Walmart bag full of cash, utterly failing to accomplish anything, and a fake Twitter thirst account devoted to Michael Cohen's hotness. As has become par for the course with everything Donald Trump is connected with, this item is equal parts plot line from Scandal, outtakes from Veep, and a healthy dose of general WTFery. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, in 2015 Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen hired RedFinch Solutions, LLC to rig online polls in Donald Trump's favor. Already we're at a level of criminal self-owning that is making me lightheaded. "Don't rig the votes, just the polls. We only care about the appearance of winning! Think of us less as people and more as three ids in a trenchcoat." [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
Let's Hang Out!
The Moth in DC, Monday January 21, at CityWinery DC
The Moth in Philly, Monday February 4, at WorldCafe Live
Random Thing on the Internet
"Don't Hesitate" is my favorite Mary Oliver poem.
Tell me about this pasta,