The appearance of a Cinnabon makes one thing very clear: under no circumstances are you to actually eat it. Everywhere you look, there’s another line of defense. First there’s the absurd amount of frosting, then the sugar, then more cinnamon than you’ve ever seen in one place in your entire life. All of them warning you: “Don’t do it! You’re not strong enough yet, Brave Warrior!” Essentially, the Cinnabon is the Death Star of breakfast pastries. Any attempt to invade its perimeter is almost certainly suicidal. Even if you make through the box and the food, you still have to contend with the soul-crushing shame and humiliation. There will be guilt, followed by elation, and then, when it’s all said and done, there will be severe nausea. This is why a battle with the ‘Bon should be attempted by only the most expert eater. I used to be such a glutton, but sadly, food allergies have made me retire my Cinnabon skills forever. However, I still admire seeing another great forksman at work, and recently I was able to watch two heroic champions as they waded into battle.
They were seated on the floor of New York City’s Penn Station, and they were spectacular. One wore a tee-shirt adorned with the characters from Big Bang Theory, the other, a purple tank top. The latter immediately caught my eye, as any committed Cinnabon eater knows it’s best to have free range of your arms and shoulders should an emergency strike. Like spilling frosting on your pants for instance, or cardiac arrest. Amidst the businessmen, linoleum, and borderline homeless, these two patriots stood tall–sorry, sat tall–with doughy sugarbombs balanced on their laps. They were flanked by 64 ounces of fruit punch with nary a napkin between them, looking glorious as they prepared to attack their cinnamon foe. They were man and woman, but were they a couple? I will never know. Love was not in their eyes on this day. No, today was a day for war. And war they did.
Lesser humans like you and I see the additional toppings offered by Cinnabon and laugh. “Who needs extra goo on top of the gooiest thing in the world?” I’ll tell you who: badasses. These two had ‘Bons loaded with additional caramel and pecan, and what looked like chocolate chips. (Does Cinnabon offer such a thing? Could they have been so brazen as to bring their own?) They were undeterred by their garnish however, and after deeply inhaling, then glancing up at the train station arrival board, the two dove into their pastries with equal parts grace and ferocity. They delicately peeled off each layer of dough with a gentle wrist action that suggested the final stroke of a Renaissance painter, or perhaps a conductor, bringing his violins to a stunning crescendo. Out and up, out and up their hands worked–twirling the bun flesh so quickly that its frosting glaze had no chance to drip. Quickly they’d deposit the prey in their mouths, then swoop in for more to sustain their appetites, and, perhaps, their very souls. Soon a crowd gathered, not willing to look too close and risk being burned by the brilliance of their light, but at the same time, unable to walk away.
There was a moment, and perhaps this was just a trick of the mind–trying to convince myself that these were mere humans, that they too knew the limitations of mortality, of decency, of pants with an unexpandable waist–but there was a time when the man appeared to falter. Immediately I understood his plight, as I had faced it many times. After eating through the first two Cinnabon layers, an exhaustion hits. You’re no longer hungry, as you’ve already consumed more calories than a small nation, and you wonder if you should give up. It’s delicious, but it also kinda hurts your face. Having reached the penultimate rung of his Cinnabon, it was clear that our hero had entered this wasteland. He began to sweat, and for an instant, his progress ceased. A look of sorrow washed over his eyes, and he leaned back to exhale. He then pitched forward, sucking in a deep, almost desperate breath–trying to summon the strength to go on. And probably keep an angioplasty at bay. He looked over to his ally, the woman, and her confidence seemed to spurn him forward. She was already a bite into the bun’s rich, tender bullseye, and was pausing to sip a bright red splash of fruity punch. She tossed the drink aside and dove back into Cinnabon battle, and suddenly the man rediscovered his gait. I smiled. It was inspirational, like the greatest Olympic montage ever created, only with more carbohydrates.
Reinvigorated, the man was more frenetic than before, lifting the entire mass to his mouth and taking quick, percussive bites. Like Hemingway tapping at his typewriter, or a baby bird encountering its first worm. Over the loudspeaker a train was announced, and the crowd was pulled away, whisking off to their awaiting families, never to know the fate of their beloved couple. I wanted to stay to see how the final moments of the battle would play out, but deep in my heart I knew how it would end. While the cake had bested many others, perhaps even these two Paladins in earlier days, it was clear they would not be deterred. They had reached the hearts of their Cinnabons now, which meant the end of the saga was near. There would be no truce, no hastily drawn up treaty or detente. Our pair would be victorious, and I didn’t need to see it with my own eyes to believe. I plodded off to my train, knowing deep down that I had seen majesty that morning, and that in a few minutes all that would remain would be a couple of empty boxes, two forks, and a whole lot of heartburn. I miss you Cinnabon, but with these two conquerors out there, I can sleep more peacefully at night. They will do my fighting for me, for all us, and we can simply stand in awe. For many of us to dance with the ‘Bon is to die in its clutches. But not these two. Their valiance shall live on forever.