It was a most scintillating conversation.
Fourteen of us sitting around the dinner table. Eight were kids, which may explain the topic that had us captivated for a spell.
What happens to the holes in doughnuts when the holes are missing? And when they aren't there, are you still paying for them?
Someone wondered what had happened to doughnut holes because there used to be a time when one could count on having a fair sized hole, certainly big enough in which to stick your finger in the middle of a normal doughnut.
Several points were made in the ensuing conversation. Some thought the doughnut hole had gone the way of the Studebaker and the Edsel. Look at other things that have been lost over the years, they said. Everything from gas engine washing machines that had to be started the way a Harley is started now, with a good firm stamp of the foot, to slop pails.
Another point was that doughnuts themselves had changed to the point where nothing among them could be called normal and, thus, expected to have a hole. It would be like expecting a normal cup of coffee from Starbucks.
"Yes," someone interjected, "but you can still get a normal coffee at Starbucks if you insist on it. You have to be fairly aggressive, however."
The children in the group had been fairly silent up to now but a small iron was raised, À la the school classroom, seeking recognition.
"It's still possible to get a normal doughnut at Tim Hortons," she said almost timidly as if afraid of being scoffed at. "I saw a man buy one the other day."
"No!" A 13-year-old looked as if she couldn't believe it. "What did it look like?"
"Kinda strange," replied the other. "A funny kind of brown, just plain brown."
"What kind of decorations were on it?"
"There were no decorations all. Just this funny brown color."
"Well," put in another child, "what was it filled with?"
"That was another funny thing," said the first child. "When this man took a bite there was nothing inside except dough."
"And it was all brown on the outside?" This from a young boy of my acquaintance, so I should have known what was coming next.
"Yes, what about it?"
"That wasn't a doughnut," he stated to all around him, "that was a piece of -- --."
"Gregory!!" His mother shouted at him before he got the last word out, but there was no doubt what he intended to say and there was much merriment among the younger set. There was a, scattered carefully, hidden chuckle among the older crowd, too.
You may be tempted to dismiss this subject as being trivial and unworthy of our consideration, not to mention yours. You may be right. But it kept us going all through dessert which was - you guessed it - doughnuts.
Besides, what does a mixed group of kids and adults talk about these days without one of the two being excluded from the conversation? I know what adults are talking about: Jon and Kate and their tiresome little goings-on; and Michael Jackson.
The kids had never heard of either. "Desperate Housewives" seems inappropriate for the younger and Square Pants SpongeBob is too stupid for the older. My view is that it's too stupid for anyone but that's just me.
There was also some speculation as to whether or not Timbits are really doughnut holes gone wrong. Since there are many different size holes in doughnuts but only one size Timbit, most people felt that there was little correlation between the two.
Besides, as the youngest youngster pointed out the shapes of the holes and the shapes of the Timbits are radically different. He didn't say "radically".
Someone suggested that we try tasting a specific kind of Timbit, tasting a holeless doughnut of the same type and then tasting a doughnut with a hole in it on the same species and see if they all taste the same.
That seemed like a good idea, except none of the adults in the group wanted to spring for that many doughnuts, even in the interest of advancing science. Another someone thought it might be a good idea if we tried tasting the doughnut holes, but that was nixed by another youngster who said that the holes in doughnuts were too small to get your tongue into.
A woman in the group commented that this would certainly be true for men.
Someone else wondered if one bought a doughnut with no hole in it, was one still paying for the hole, and if one was, then one was definitely getting ripped off.
The last doughnut was consumed at this point and the conversation died a natural and grateful death.
One of the men spoke up.
"Interesting about doughnuts," he said thoughtfully.
"Have you ever stopped to think," he went on, "that there's no such thing as a square doughnut?"
"That's true," said another, "but there's square pizza. I saw it on TV".
"And," said the first man, "they often refer to the boxing ring as "the squared circle."
The woman who had made the comment about male tongues gave an exaggerated "poof".
"Ah," she said to the other women, "another sensible comment about the idiots who punch each other out for sport."
"Yeah," her husband said, "did you see St. Pierre on the Ultimate Fighter championship last night?"
"I did!" The boy who almost said -- --, said excitedly. "He almost killed the other fellow. There was blood going everywhere!"
"I told you not to watch that!" his mother said severely. "That stuff is worse for children than "The Simpsons".
"Which reminds me," her husband said to the other men, "did you see that new series "Hung"? My son, that fellow is really -- --"
"George!!" Again, just in time.
Back to doughnuts.
Ed Smith is an author and Telegram columnist who lives in Springdale. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org