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Doughnuts offered as a shot in the arm to encourage vaccines.

Puritanism, H.L. Mencken wrote, “is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

A better definition is “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be enjoying a doughnut.”

Sure, it seems unbelievable, but walking among us are those who would deny others the right to enjoy the two best kinds of leavened fried dough in the world – glazed and free.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, which along with Michael Jordan, Andy Griffith, Vick’s Vaporub and the word “y’all” ranks among North Carolina’s greatest exports, is trying to do something good for humanity.

To encourage everyone to get vaccinated against the coronavirus so we can ditch these masks and start having family reunions again, KK had the brilliant idea of offering to anyone who gets vaccinated a free doughnut a day through the end of the year.

They had me at free.

And doughnut.

Who could oppose such a brilliant marketing plan, such altruism?

Dr. Leana Wen, among others. Wen, an emergency room sawbones and former Baltimore health commissioner, finger-wagged at KK on Twitter that “donuts are a treat that’s not good for health if eaten every day” and that a doughnut a day “without otherwise adjusting diet or exercise habits, would lead to about 15 pounds of weight gain by the end of the year.”

Say what?

Dr. Wen and others who assailed the sweet treat incentive apparently assume that people who eat a doughnut are going to do so while remaining sedentary and never rising from their Barcalounger.

That’s ridiculous, of course. A Barcalounger won’t fit through the KK drive-thru: I’ve tried.

To assuage Dr. Wen and others, though, the company could institute fitness requirements for those of us who plan on getting our doughnut on daily. They’d get more strenuous with each doughnut:

Ÿ 25 jumping jacks for your first doughnut

Ÿ 50 sit ups for your second doughnut

Ÿ 75 pushups and run a 100 yard dash for each doughnut thereafter.

That would give a whole new meaning to the term dine-and-dash.

That still wouldn’t satisfy the fitness ninnies, because some think everyone is as dumb as I was when I, at 15, ate seven Big Macs. At one time.

When Rockingham got its first and still only McDonald’s, it was a huuuuuge deal. Among other things, a local radio station sponsored a contest: list the seven ingredients in a Big Mac – two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun – in seven seconds and win seven Big Macs.

Being a slow talker – one of my nicknames was “Lurch” - I could never nail it. Most of my telephone calls to WAYN-AM radio station went like this:

“Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lett - – CLICK!

The station did eventually declare me a winner and gave me a coupon for seven Big Macs, but I think that had more to do with my friendship with the station owner’s son than with my ability to rapidly recite the ingredients.

Once receiving the coupon, it never, ever occurred to me that one didn’t have to get and eat all seven Big Macs at one time.

Now you tell me.

Dr. Wen and the other healthcare professionals who are roasting Krispy Kreme for its doughnut giveaway would have been apoplectic and, no doubt, a little impressed. They seem unaware that most people are smarter than I was. Besides, to paraphrase a former candy commercial, some days you’ll feel like a doughnut, some days you won’t.

Krispy Kreme, as it always does, will survive this current krisis. It wasn’t that long ago that people sounded the death knell for the iconic Carolina brand when the low-carb diet fad was all the rage. Well, the low-carb fad has faded but the “Hot Now” sign still burns are brightly as ever.

May it always be thus.

And go get your shots.

1 Comment

Did Dr. Wen not think maybe I would pick up my donut with my daily coffee and then give my daily donut away instead of eating it. I find donuts a bit too sweet but there is a panhandler on nearly every Raleigh street corner and they would enjoy that donut.





Meet Barry Saunders

For over 20 years, Barry was a columnist for The News & Observer in Raleigh, NC. He also wrote for other publications, such as the Atlanta Constitution and the Richmond County Daily Journal. Often described as powerfully honest and illustratively funny, Barry's writing is both loved and hated by readers- sometimes simultaneously.  


Want more? Get your own copy of one of Barry's published books featuring reader favorites (and not so favorites) from his years writing columns for The News & Observer. Titled "Do Unto Others...And then Run" and "...And The Horse You Rode In On Saunders!", they're full of guaranteed entertainment. 


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