Pancakes for Thought

A breakfast, at a time at which breakfast would not normally be eaten. A stack of pancakes a mile high.

We ate in silence.

Or so we did for a moment — eventually, as if you dropped a tin can in a quiet temple, you broke the silence.

"Why should we go on like this?"

I didn't dare look up. It would have fed you more than the pancakes could have.

"For years now, we have dwindled on the edge of something beyond what we've tread. We've walked the fine line between what was and what has yet to be. We've arisen from the ashes, only to fall back down again, yet to arise once more."

I pierced a small pile of pancake bits. My fork entered the flesh of sewn wheat, ground up and arranged strategically to form a pancake. What a good world we live in — to have things like pancakes!

"It's only left me to ask myself — what more can there be? What possibilities have not yet been explored — or even yet conceived? What lies beyond what our mind can grasp with its tiny hands?

I looked up from my pancakes.


"Yes. Mind-hands."

I looked back down.

"You see, I've been secretly having thoughts — thoughts that are more secret than the ones you cannot hear occurring in my head in the first place. I've been thinking about what thoughts I cannot think. I've been imagining the unimaginable — and it's brought me to a conundrum."

I moved bits of pancake around my plate with my fork-mind.

"When I think these thoughts — these secret thoughts, of which it is forbidden to speak — my mind cannot grasp the simple fact that it is impossible to even conceive of what is impossible to conceive."

A drop of sweat rolled down my forehead and into my pancakes.

"And then — Lord have mercy on my soul — whenever I try to wrap my mind around the boundary at which my mind can either think or not think, my mind, as if by a sort of instinctual internal mechanism, begins to shut down."

Tears started to well up in my eyes, as I had been staring at my pancakes unblinkingly. I blinked.

“I keep consuming thoughts – menial, everyday thoughts – and I remain hungry. I’m hungry for the unthinkable. Make me some more pancakes.”

I reached into my pocket, grabbed a key, opened the lockbox sitting on the table and procured a few more pancakes. I’m not sure how many. I didn’t count.

“See, I don’t think I want even these. They’re simply not enough. What’s the opposite of a pancake?”

Silence fell once more. We both looked down solemnly at the pancakes before us.

 “Maybe we’ll never know. Maybe we’ll never know what’s impossible to know. Maybe we’ll never know the opposite of a pancake. Or, perhaps, maybe the reason we’re here is to search. Maybe life is an endless quest for something that, in the end, cannot be found. We may never know what the opposite of pancakes are, but the meaning comes from what’s between point A and point B. It’s looking for what the opposite of a pancake is that truly gives us life.”

I gently pushed my plate of pancakes away from me.

“I’m done.”