I Don’t Know If You Know This About Me, but I went to school at Purdue University, home of the Boilermakers, in beautiful West Lafayette, Indiana. When the various athletic teams are not playing, if you aren’t endlessly entertained by staring at corn, it turns out, there isn’t an incredible amount to do in northern Indiana. This meant that with occasion, My Friend and Yours, Andy Martin and I would plant ourselves in the window seat at Harry’s Chocolate Shop, Home of the Great Indoorsman (Go Ugly Early!)

Simply put — if you have only one night to go out in West Lafayette ever, Harry’s is where you go. Period. But this night of nights actually started earlier that afternoon. As my last class ended, I headed to where one would most reliably find My Friend and Yours, Andy Martin —  watching SpongeBob SquarePants. Eating honeycomb. I got in a quick round of Tetris . . .
That’s hilarious – Me? Quick round of Tetris? Impossible! I don’t play quick rounds of Tetris.
I Don’t Know If You Know This About Me, but I am the second best Tetris player in the world. My friend and yours Andy Martin is the first. Alexey Pajitnov is in my Google Circle.
****[Editor’s Note — There have been many iterations of the puzzle classic, so I apologize for scrutinizing what is so obvious, but for those not following yet, I point out that we are going by the Universal Agreed-Upon Standard Unit of Tetris Mastery Measurement Scale defining optimum Tetris evaluation potential being present in Tetris DX version for GameBoy Color. Duh.]****
So – some Tetris later, we arrive at Harry’s Chocolate Shop. Andy’s favorite bartender, Heather, was there. She, in the words of My Friend and Yours, Andy Martin, was the perfect ratio of cute and hot. She finagled some things around and got us our table. Endless volumes of text could be written on things that have happened at Harry’s, and maybe I’ll tell more later, but suffice it to say we did some important work that day. It’s difficult to remember how long we were there, as alcohol makes brain go “Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee,” all I remember is gratitude for how close I lived to where I was. Andy Martin parted ways at some point and then I was home.
And hungry.
Listen to me: I was HUNGRY…
For real.
For the record, one does not simply arrive at 430 pounds. (my weight pre gastric-bypass) One must put some thought, dedication and focus to achieve that. So…
I was hungry. I wanted Jimmy John’s, because honestly when don’t I? But…
Not Jimmy John’s. I wanted Mad Mushroom.
Oh, Mad Mushroom.
Mad Mushroom was a pizza place whose pizza and sandwiches where nothing to write home about, but holy good golly, their cheese bread was out of this world good. It was huge, cut in sticks, and came with a dipping sauce in each corner, Two marinara and two ranch. It was thin, as cheese bread traditionally goes, under crust sturdy enough to allow a gentle bowing of the bread, but not so much bread as to take away from the true action, which was the perfectly melted, greasy cheese goodness. I had to stop 6 to 8 times writing this just to dedicate enough active memory to keep a fully rendered image and taste/smell profile held in my brain space.
Just, again, to emphasize, this stuff was incredible. I can still feel me pressing warm, crisp crust into the corners of those ranch tubs, not wanting to leave one precious carb un-graced by wondrous dip. I’m really kind of having a moment right now.
So the point is, I wanted Mad Mushroom.
Nay! . . . I needed Mad Mushroom, but it was so late! Mad mushroom would takes so much longer than Jimmy John’s.
AAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!! What’s a boy to do?
********Deus Ex Machina or “God from the machine,” is a plot device wherein some new story element or character is presumably sent from the beyond to put a pretty little bow on the end of an otherwise messy and or  unresolvable ending.********
Knock! Knock!
I was wrested from my hunger plight by a short, sharp wrap on the door-knocker. Now standing, walking towards the door, I struggled to consider who this might be, but moreover, I needed to get Mad Mushroom out of my head and just get food in me.
Knock! Knock!
I open the apartment door, and there before me stood, like an angel before my very eyes, I saw what must surely be an illusion. A fantasy. The dream of every guy up late night on a college campus has of what might mystically appear on their doorstep.
Mad Mushroom delivery.
“I have a large cheese bread for 136 Andrew Place, Apartment Three.”
Blazoned forth in my visage, and in my ear holes, and now . . .
Oh, Yes! Now infiltrating my nose parts, such thrilling a waft that brings confirmation. Here before me stands for real, the very same culinary masterpiece I was devouring in my mind just minutes before.
Had I summoned this from forth my lustful mind?
My roommates weren’t home. I just got home. What was happening?
I reach for my wallet I knew quite well was empty, if just to stave off this godsend’s departure. I opened my wallet preparing to act surprised it was empty, only to find a fresh new $20 bill. There was no explanation for this.
With very few words the deed was done. It was mine. And I stood, alone again, now with Mad Mushroom cheese bread. Confused.
Had I stolen someone’s delivery?
Where did that money come from?
Why did that guy have the correct address?
Was I on candid camera?
These were amongst the questions that I wondered. Later.
Much later. . .
For the instant the door shut was…
…you know how when a shark goes all “hunger beast-mode,” their eyes roll back into their heads? And consider for a moment the savagery that must ensue for every werewolf EVER to claim “temporary amnesia” the morning after the feasted with passion, pace, and purpose. They devoured.
Think about the proudest moments of accomplishment you’ve had in your life. That’s how I remember that night.
Sad, maybe, I get it. It’s not all jokes all the time here. I’m not proud of all of it.
Again, one just doesn’t arrive at 430 pounds.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that the journey of 1,000 cheese breads starts with this here tub of ranch.
Like the slow cinematic pan across the battlefield after the battle, I could see myself from above, as my lights faded, eyes glazed over, I wrestled with the mysteries of the evening as I drifted off to sleep soon after. No doubt with a hunk of crust on my lip, and some ranch in my beard.
The following morning was the scene from movies we’ve all seen: I get out of bed and put on SportsCenter so I can think. Got some fruity pebbles and milk in a bowl, and start trying to figure everything out. I scanned my flip phone and turned out all my pockets from last night. As it turns out, while my modern and caveman brains were afloat in a daze proximal to drunky island, my fat-kid brain was laser-focused on relevant solutions. My call history indicated that after the bar and before I got home I reached out to my favorite cheesy bread vendor, Mad Mushroom. I had timed my call for cheese delivery shortly after arriving home. A receipt in my pocket revealed fat-Jeff brain also thought to have me stop at an ATM (I have no memory of this) to fully fund my further-fattening fiasco.
Fantastic, right?!