Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Everything from soup to nuts...

By Jim Heffernan
Many people ask me exactly what I did in my former storied career as a distinguished journalist. “What exactly did you do in your former storied career as a distinguished journalist?” they ask.

I tell them I wrote editorials – the opinion pieces newspapers publish so that the waiting public will know what to think about stuff – for many years.

“What did you write editorials on?” is a frequent follow-up question.

I tell them on everything from soup to nuts.

To further elucidate this matter, I offer here a couple of examples.

There is entirely too much soup consumed in American society, and also in France. Some people eat soup -- or drink it, if you will (slurp it is most accurate) -- each and every day for lunch. This induces grogginess and lassitude when they go back to work.

Two kinds of soups – cream-based and water-based – predominate in restaurants, many of which offer a “soup du jour,” which, contrary to the beliefs of many innocent diners, does not mean soup in a jar. It is French for “soup of the day,” to say nothing of the night. What the French do at night is their business and not a matter of our concern.

One of the more popular soups is called “French Onion.” This is a water-based soup filled with onion chunks and covered over with cheese. It is almost impossible to eat -- or drink, if you will -- French Onion soup and retain decorum. Frequently the cheese must be cut with a knife, causing fellow diners and companions to wonder about you. Peas should be eaten with a knife, never soup.

Another problem with soup is that most diners forget that the proper way to eat it -- or drink it, if you will (slurp is most accurate) -- is to spoon away from the body (generally in an easterly direction), and not toward it. This was established decades ago by Emily “Saturday Evening” Post, doyenne of good manners. What Emily did on Saturday evening was her business and not a matter of our concern.

The bottom line: Soup is undermining our Democratic society and should be banned.

Nuts have been given a bad name in our culture, and that must stop. We (that’s the editorial we) ask why people whose behavior is erratic are called “nuts,” besmirching the excellent legumes that propel the white corpuscles so vital to good health?

Peanuts are a good source of exercise. Getting the part that is eaten out of the shell manually will limber the fingers but not shiver the timbers. Many people are baffled over how they get the salt in “salted-in-the-shell” peanuts. So are we (the editorial we).

Little wonder that people wonder. Research shows that nobody knows how they get the salt in salted-in-the-shell peanuts. It’s high time we found out.

Rather than spend billions trying to conquer Mars, when Hershey is just as good (except for peanut M&Ms), the United States government should fund a study through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Soup, Legumes, Firearms and Dynamite to determine how the salt gets in there, and come clean with the American people.

There are many kinds of nuts, of course, not only “pea,” all of them beneficial to the human race. Macadamia nuts, often associated with the Sandwich Islands (a.k.a. “Hawaii”), are known to enhance brainpower when ingested with a peanut butter sandwich. Ask Don Ho. Furthermore, more professors in academia consume macadamia nuts than smoke Camels.

In brief, and in summary, let’s find another label for those persons who behave erratically in public and who give nuts a bad name (may we suggest re-employing “goofy” or “goof”?), and eat more real nuts.

As the American general in the Battle of the Bulge put it when asked what he liked to munch with his evening cocktail: “Nuts.”
These are just two examples of what we used to call “advocacy” editorials. There are also “commentary” editorials, which we (the editorial we) will visit on another day.

Thank you very much.

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