A man, if he is so lucky to have the experience, remembers when he first learns the purpose of his life. I myself was at a picnic, a green day, my father at the grill. "Little Billy!" he screamed. I approached fearfully, bashfully, oh so bashfully. My father handed me some strange thing. It seemed like a sandwich, but the bread was fluffy and rounded with little white seeds. Inside was not strips of pinkish ham. Rather, there was a brown patty. I took a bite. "What is it, dad?" I asked. "A hamburger, my son."
Now, many years later, my father long gone, I walk the streets of the city looking for burgers. A typical day:
I rise at dawn. I do 20 pushups and 20 situps. I brush my teeth. I put on some trousers and a shirt, grab my trench coat and fedora, and out I go! I walk briskly, with determination. Sometimes I must sternly order people out of my way so as to keep my pace. "Please move!" I am forced to say. There are many burgers and life is short. I investigate, scope out. Sometimes I will find an area with a clean line of sight into a burger establishment, and with my binoculars I will assess. If the coast seems clear, I will enter the burger establishment and order a burger. Copious notes will be taken. I will not come to the burger with any preconceived notions. I will let the flavors come over me. Is it a plump burger? A burger with a nice, charred crust? Salty?
What's in a burger? Why do we like them? This is my life's work. This is burger ruminations.
Recently I went to Jones Wood Foundry, an enjoyable British bar and pub on the Upper East Side. The burger was ordered. The waiter discussed the beef. "We get the meat for our burgers from a farm in Idaho which raises the only Japanese cattle in the United States." Well that sounds nice! The food arrives. First the chips: they are crispy, with a thick, complex crust filled with soft, creamy potato. Excellent chips. Next the burger: completely unremarkable. It's been less than two weeks since I consumed the burger and I don't even remember it. I must now put on my trench coat and continue my search for the perfect burger. Fuck you!