My brother and I shared a best friend when we were little, Steve VanWinkle. He’s a great guy. I have a million memories with him as well as a little inside knowledge. That being, his parents always had the best snacks. Pringles, Burritos, these local tacos called Tino’s Tacos…they were the bomb. It was a well-known neighborhood fact that when his parents were at work, his place was the house to snack. Games were at our house because we had the giant yard but snack time, treats, food? They were at his place.
Because his parents were at work in the summer it was an understood rule that we didn’t have to knock to enter, just “come on in!” So, we’d rush in, quickly run to his room and get his Dog all riled up then promptly raid the cupboards and fridge.
The weird part (aside from making his dog pee and thinking that was the highest form of humor) was that the snacks at his place always tasted better. My parents had snacks too. It’s not like the only place we’d find Bugles was at Steve’s place but for some reason, it just was better over there. I’d eat anything. Imitation Crabs sticks by the dozen, girl scout cookies, Mystery Dips in Tupperware, anything I could get at. Looking back, just the exploration into a stranger’s cupboards was half the fun. It was like the “Goonies” movie, where the treasure hunt was as much the experience as the jewels and treasure.
So, it should come as no surprise that when Dr. Tower, Dr. Salazar, Cameron, and I were looking through our shelves and drawers at the clinic today and ran into our massage therapists’ secret stash we were like kids again. Other People’s Food (OPF) is just plain… BETTER. I don’t know why. It just is. We giggled like little kids as we vacuumed down her Sun Chips and dude?! Have you tried Cookie Butter yet? Insane! There was even an entire bag of shelled pistachios. I mean, the challenging work was even done for us.
I mentioned to my buddy Cameron the idea of OPF as we’ve come to call it and how it just straight up, tastes better. Through a mouthful of pistachios he told me, “Of coursh it doesh… everybody knowsh that.”
I hadn’t realized this was an actual “life fact” before now and I was rather shocked.
It shouldn’t surprise me though. It’s common knowledge that kids like OPT way better than their own. Other People’s Toys, is no longer even a hypothesis or theory anymore. Modern science has reclassified OPT as a common “Parenting Law” a decade or so ago and is constantly being re-proven again and again in the field. I recall my twin girls playing with a dollhouse at their friend Aly’s house in Omaha one summer. You couldn’t get them out of Aly’s room for four days. Santa figured this out and brought it to them that winter where in 3 years I believe they possibly played with it only once. I could be wrong though, it’s completely possible that all they actually did was throw a matchbox car at it where it was promptly stuck behind the bed.
OPT is real and now too, is my idea of OPF.
I think OPF is most enjoyed during the Holidays, hence this article’s holiday release. I know you all will be out enjoying creme cheese glopped with pepper jelly on a Triscuit as “cultural food” so enjoy. Hell, you didn’t have to make it. Smokies in BBQ sauce? Cheese ball?
“Oh, your cheese ball is delicious, you’ve got to get me the recipe.”
For what? Have you ever made a cheese ball on a Thursday in April?
37 cookies last night? Only because it’s at your friend’s house. OPF is true “food for thought” (grandpa pun intended).
If nothing else, OPF will give you a sly smile or chuckle at your next house party.
I like to imagine that the idea of OPF is actually a gateway term to a better life. A Holiday gift from me to you that lets you make better decisions and appreciate another reason it’s good to have friends.
For instance, as a non food example, Let’s say one of your friends offers you a chance to take his new Mercedes AMG for a test drive. Not sure about you but honestly, I would most likely say “Hey Thanks buddy, but NO. That’s your car, I don’t want to intrude.” But now, being aware of things like OPF and OPT, say to yourself and your friend, “Hell Yeah!” It makes me not have to have work for years at 100-hour work weeks from hell just to get my own AMG. Also, because you’ve driven one now and can check that box of life, maybe you’re good. Maybe it will even feel more magical than if it was yours anyway, and let’s get real, that car is just plain out of your means anyway.
Honestly, looking at myself. I’ve turned down offers to drive cool cars, shoot cool guns, airplane rides, fantastic meals, rare drinks’ taste tests, and all kinds of awesome stuff offered up to me from friends. And WHY? Being proper? Bah, that’s prudish and dull. This is about things being better because they are someone else’s. It’s about new experiences, better sensations.
If there is anything VanWinkle taught me all those years ago it’s to enjoy the fruits and bounty of your friends to the maximum. It’s what great memories are made of!