By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
It's 5 a.m. in Los Angeles and I've decided to go in search of the perfect donut. I'm not sure what the perfect donut will be - I have my ideas - but I don't want to prejudice myself. I want to be open to the possibilities - a tabula rasa of donut desire. I want the perfect donut to present itself to me. I want to have a pulse-racing visceral reaction to the perfect donut when I see it. I want it to be love at first sight and I want to love it unconditionally. I don't care if it's 8 feet in diameter and 3 feet thick, rolling south on Highland. If that is the perfect donut and I know it, I will run it down, lasso the bitch, drag it back to my apartment, put on some coffee and make it mine. Because I am a man in need.
My need stems from desperation. I am a desperate man. I am desperately awake. Again. Thinking all those tossing-and-turning thoughts that only come out at night. WHO AM I? WHAT AM I? AND HOW DID I GET HERE? Thinking, Damn, I used to be a beautiful boy and people liked me and I liked people and life liked me and I liked life and now here I am in a crappy one-bedroom Hollywood apartment 1,500 miles away from that last person on Earth I feel connected to and . . . and . . . if that isn't enough, when I wake up I'll be down to my final year in that prized 18-to-34-year-old marketing demographic and . . . and what next? Am I supposed to get stoked by ads hawking financial planning and life insurance and Oldsmobiles and ab rollers . . . and everyone knows once you get your first Oldsmobile or ab roller, colon probes and prostate examinations are right behind and . . . Oh, Jeeezus.
Basically, you know, it was one of those nights that can be summed up in a groan or two. I think you'll know how I felt when I tell you that by 4 a.m. I was humming the Grease soundtrack and feeling strangely sad about the whole thing.
But even as I prepared myself for the quest, I had to ask myself: Why donuts? See, I'm like you. I don't eat donuts anymore. Donuts have gone the way of blue jeans, big hair, K cars or even straight-up coffee - the kind that comes in a Styrofoam cup with no head. Everything is so fucking complicated these days. Even breakfast is high-performance. High-fiber, low-fat cranberry bran muffins. Wildberry-juice freezes with vitamin, protein, immunity and fat-buster boosts. Or, if you're feeling dangerous, maybe a chocolate croissant. What the fuck happened to donuts? It seemed so anachronistic.
But that's the way I was feeling.
Maybe the donut appeal goes back to a simpler time. Back to those Sunday mornings when I was a little tyke and my dad used to take me and my brother Sean and our dog, Zorba, out to the lake in Haddonfield, New Jersey. We'd be out the door by the break of dawn. We'd stop by the local Dunkin' Donuts, order a dozen plain and cups of coffee with milk and no sugar, and my old man would show us the pleasures of dunking a plain donut into a plain cup of coffee. Then we'd toss a stick into the lake for old Zorba to fetch. It'd go on for hours. It made me feel like I was on the same level as my old man. An adult like him. The two of us and Sean. Dunking our donuts and slurping our coffee. Mmmm. It was only later, much later, in life that I realized my old man was doing what an adult man should do - taking his raging hangover outside with him for a few hours so his sleep-deprived wife could doze and maybe spare him some wrath later. But, hey, why spoil the romance of a good memory with niggling details?
An unadorned plain donut dunked in a steaming hot cup of bitter coffee. Maybe that's the ticket out of this sleepless purgatory, I thought to myself. Maybe I could find my way to a little off-hours fraternity on the margins, to the kind of redemption that comes from a look in the eye from some guy with 100,000 miles on his odometer, a look that says, Whoa, boy, you think you had a night, I'll tell ya about a night.
And the look would say, Sonny, it all started at the bar down the street there, drinking shots of Jack and chasing it with Bud. Had about five or six of each and then this fine lady comes up to me. She was about 5-9, blond hair, legs till Tuesday and talk about some lungs, boy. Well anyway, she says, Can I buy you a drink? And I say, Lady, if you can't nobody can. So we go into a booth in the corner and have us a couple drinks. And boy, the conversation is taking off. She tells me she's a stewardess based out of LAX for some Brazilian airline. Goes down on Friday, parties in Rio, comes back by Monday, has a few days off, and does it again. Says she's tight with some Generalissimo or something. Owns a big compound up in the hills. It's all feudal down there, but she gets the royal treatment. First-class everything in Rio. Champagne, caviar, hot tubs, heads of state, all taking first crack at the dope before they ship it up here and it gets cut to shit. And anyway, the long and short of it is she's got some time on her hands before she has to jump back on the Rio express.