Posts Tagged social

The Not-So-Hidden-Truth About Starbucks


I am trying to write my second novel.  It is not easy, to say the least.  I am confident, however, that this is a universal truth among authors attempting to write their first or seventy-first long piece of fiction or non-fiction.  The reasons for this difficulty may vary from author to author.  My main roadblock seems to be the increasing disenchantment of sitting in a room all by myself for long periods of time.  Again, I suspect I am not alone in this predicament.  The problem apparently extends far beyond the relatively small segment of the population on planet earth attempting to write novels.  I know this because I have recently taken my laptop to a local Starbucks to resolve my isolation problem.

The Starbucks I now regularly inhabit is not your everyday Starbucks. Management recently retrofitted the place with long tables, benches actually, with stools and a strip of electrical outlets underneath to plug in battery cables.  Droves of people come here, not just to chat and caffeinate, but to do WORK! This includes college-students doing real, actual homework, not wasting time on Facebook.  Freelance, self- employed, and independent contractor types also hang out here.  These people, like myself, are hard at work, despite the distractions of noisy conversation and often-times idiotic, piped-in music.  I find this phenomenal and wonder,”Why do we come here?”  Many, if not all of us, are surely not homeless.

I can only speak for myself.  I come here to overcome loneliness—to make some sort of connection.  And I’m happy to report that my new strategy is paying off.  I’m writing my novel on a regular basis, slowly but surely.

Now that we may have some insight into the reason for the overwhelming success of the Starbucks chain, I would like to come to the point of this piece.  Many years ago, I began listening to Prem Rawat speak about an inner experience of peace and contentment.  At the time, I did not have to go to Starbucks to be around people.  I had a full time, good-paying job, a girlfriend, my parents and cousins to surround me.  Yet, something was missing.

Mr. Rawat’s message of peace captivated me in a way nothing had previously.  I followed up on his promise to reveal a source of peace and contentment within myself.  I practiced the techniques of what he calls Knowledge, and, to make a long story short, I have not been in the least bit disappointed.  Well, perhaps that statement is not entirely true.  I had the idea shortly after receiving the techniques of Knowledge that I would not need anything else, including people.  To make another long story short, that idea turned out to be foolish and a bit funny, now that I look back on it.

But there is a point here, somewhere.  Oh yes, here it is:  I need outer connections—with colleagues in my chosen profession, with friends and family, even Facebook connections. Thanks to the experience of Knowledge, I’ve learned that I need something else.  I need a connection with myself for my life to be complete.  I’m not going to put a name to what I’ll call “myself,” because I’ve learned that names are insufficient to describe it.  I will just say this:  I was looking for a missing piece of the puzzle of my life.  Prem Rawat helped me to find it.  Now, I feel my life is complete.  It is full, not stuffed with things on the outside, but from within.  And my connections on the outside are more fulfilling, because I am a more full and complete person, with more to offer to others.

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Chicken Necks


Why would anyone want to be in the same room as a chicken neck, much less eat one? Consider the shape of a chicken neck, for starters. Does it remind you of a piece of cow intestine, or a giant snail without the shell — or maybe a biceps muscle severed from the bone? Now imagine one of these succulent items simmering in a saucepan flanked by mushrooms, carrots and celery. Add pepper if you like. Hold the salt—it comes with.

In China, chicken necks are a delicacy. This, no doubt, is a direct result of the overabundance of Chinese people and a perennial shortage of food in the country to feed them. In addition to the Chinese, dogs and pigs enjoy chicken necks as a regular staple. Cats, on the other hand, are much too dignified to eat them.

Here’s a thought. It’s entirely possible chicken necks could become a popular dish in America. If the banks fail, we might all find ourselves homeless, grilling chicken necks on street corners surrounded by the few sticks of furniture left over from the foreclosure sale.

If you are wondering what chicken necks taste like, please ask someone else. If, however, we turned out to be the last two people on the planet due to a natural disaster, I might hazard a guess. In such a case, I would be in the unenviable position of the sole remaining authority on chicken necks. It would be my duty, out of human decency, to attempt some sort of an answer. After considerable thought, I’d say chicken necks probably taste like dark meat chicken—very stringy, dark meat chicken accented with a gristly texture. They might also taste a bit like stuffed derma, a Jewish folk dish I have only seen but never eaten. On second thought, stuffed derma probably tastes like ice cream cake compared to a fried or boiled chicken neck. I can’t really be sure of this because I never summoned the courage to ask what stuffed derma is made of. As far as the smell of chicken necks is concerned, let’s not even go there. We’ll just say that chicken necks don’t smell. They stink.

If you are the curious, adventurous, or self-loathing type, you may wake up one morning with an uncontrolable urge to experience the taste of a chicken neck. To these people I offer one final word of advice. Chicken necks may taste better in a strong chicken or meat broth. Remember, this is only an assumption. If you must try a chicken neck, you do so at your own risk. Please also note that a serving of chicken necks will provide you with a decent amount of vitamin A. The idea that they are a good source of vitamin C is, sadly, only a rumor.

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