5. Something You Hate, but Everyone Else Loves

Audio: Read by Zac and Cass.


With a vodka water lime in one hand and my Snapchat story in the other, I’m trying to take a video of my friend dancing up on the DJ’s stage. Our straightened hair clings to our sweaty faces while we drop low to T-Pain and bounce to some Fetty Wap beat. For hours, we rotate from the bar and back to the dance floor, returning to the music with free drinks thanks to guys named Tyler and Jordan.

I wish this night would last forever and I’m not just quoting some song from that 2015 hit list. There’s nothing like moving your body in a crowd of other moving bodies while the vodka courses through your veins and your friends make-out with strangers in Hollister hoodies.

After another round of fireball shots and a lengthy trip to the Ladies room, my night takes a turn. The DJ blasts the next song and everyone around my squeals. They grab each other and scurry in their heels toward the sound, but I am stuck in place. They sing every word while I stay near the wall, sipping my drink, and wondering why everyone loves Beyoncé, but I do not.

I imagine myself going through the conveyor belt of heaven’s grand fetus factory, and just as God is about to insert the “I love Beyoncé” micro-chip into my brain, he sneezes, loses his train of thought and I move down the line, doomed to a future of disconnect.

“If I Were a Boy” comes on the radio. I change the station. Someone plays “Crazy in Love” in the volleyball locker room and I swear a couple times in my head. I don’t lunge for the dial and crank it up like I do with Drake, Adele, or Christina Aguilera because I simply don’t like her songs. I don’t like the lyrics, the music, and sometimes I wonder why I should even like her?  No offense, Beyoncé.

I’ve watched countless late night interviews with Hollywood’s best pop performers, all of whom I found charismatic, relatable, maybe quirky, and somewhat interesting. I can’t say I’ve ever come across a five-second clip of Beyoncé speaking, other than that time she said “Thank you” when someone told her, “You are Beyoncé.” I can’t even recall her giving an acceptance speech at an awards show. Why can’t I connect with this human being?

I feel bad. I know this is making many people angry or they’re thinking I’ve never given Beyoncé a chance, but just like cilantro and soft serve ice cream, I like one and hate the other.

When I was 12 years old, I didn’t force myself to watch every single YouTube video about the Jonas Brothers at 4AM. I had to. I didn’t listen to Daniel Caesar’s newest album on repeat for five weeks straight just to “give him a chance”. Flawless Queen B, as they call her, has sung on the radio and walked the red carpet enough times for me to come to my own conclusions.

I don’t loveher, and I don’t get it.

You scream and cry and throw your hands up in praise whenever she graces the cover of Glamour Magazine or dances on stage at the Grammys. You pump her through your headphones when you’re going through a college breakup or trying to run two miles on an incline.

You’ve all had this common ground to walk on your whole life and it’s brought you together on every slippery dancefloor since the beginning of time.

And I’m over here wondering what the hell is wrong with me. Where are Tyler and Jordan? I need a vodka water lime.  

– Cass


I’m not getting cute with this one, people. There’s no long-winded, hoity-toity introduction to set up the rest of this essay. I’m not painting you a picture or introducing a lovable setting. I’m crapping on everything any miserable English teacher unenthusiastically taught me about beginnings, middles and ends. This is too important. In our divided, troubled world, one sensitive and extremely serious issue has yet to be resolved. Until now.

Stop eating fucking pancakes for breakfast.

I consider dining at a restaurant to be the most decisive moment for you to determine what kind of person someone truly is. To me, it is not just a meal shared with someone. It is an experience that reveals one’s inner-most character. How you behave in a restaurant is how you live your life.

I examine everything like a rabid sociopath, rocking back and forth, worried about the bodies chopped up in his freezer at home. I look at what every single table orders. I eavesdrop on the conversations the servers have and think no one else hears. I breathe in every whiff of human personality in the building. How do you treat the server? Do you prefer a booth or a chair? How often do you like your water re-filled? Do you chomp on the ice cubes?

Then finally, it’s show time. What are you gonna get?

You skim the menu, you hit on the waitress you slurp your coffee, you take a breath. You’ve made your decision. This is how you’ll start your day. A day that could, for all you know, be the very final day of your entire life.

And you get the fucking pancakes.

You’re eating flat pieces of flour cake covered in sweet, toxic spit for breakfast. I’m horrified. All respect and intrigue I once had for you is drowned in the tasteless, goopy goo bread you’re inhaling, drowning in the very syrup you suck back. And I don’t care if your mom used to make them for you when you were a kid. So did mine. The same recipe that every mom ripped off. The same recipe every restaurant rips off. Because they’re just pancakes. Flour, baking powder, milk, butter. Flip. Flip. Eat. Suffer.

Sorry. I’m just not one to sugar coat it when it comes to breakfast food. Especially breakfast food that’s already coated in too much sugar. I just need more substance. I need depth. Realness. I need layers of different things and flavours and excitement. That’s what gets me going. Breakfast is a classically simple meal but it still deserves some god damn respect.

 You’re telling me the first thing you crave after a night of chugging mai tais and slurring nonsense about ex-lovers and missed opportunities is a squishy, spongy piece of cake? That’s what you’re going to bounce back with? What is this, Chuck E. Cheese? Can we get you a side of Dunk-a-roos or a fun dip to go? Don’t even get me started on people who get the whipped cream on top. The world needs this essay.

Look, I’m no foodie. I hope people don’t think this is a blog written by a foodie. Because I hate both those words. In fact, I could write more scathing essays on how I hate both those words. But more importantly, that’s not what this is. I’m just a simple guy who wants the world to be saved from something, we’ve for some reason, decided to call flapjacks. This is the beginning of the end. I am your breakfast messiah. Your revolutionary. Your leader.

Hear me roar, as I thrust my shining spatula into the heavens above, wearing a flowing house coat and a crown of bacon, chugging hollandaise sauce from a goblet. I preach:

If you want to make a difference in the world, don’t eat cake for breakfast.

– Zac