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Letters to IHOP

QU Montage

By Kim Fears

I lied to the waitress today. She asked me what my name was and I said Felicity. My name is not Felicity but I wanted to know what it would be like to change my identity. But then I realized that even though she called me by a different name, I was still me. I could have drawn a beard on my face, and shaved my head, and she still would have known some facet of who I was. That comes through no matter what. It sucks. 

I go to IHOP because I can’t flip pancakes. I can’t do a lot of things, like cry during sad movies, but flipping pancakes is a bigger issue.  I spent twenty years of my life waking up on Sunday mornings and fucking up my stove with pancake batter. I didn’t think it was going to be that hard, but it really is. My plate would look like I’d vomited partially cooked batter onto it, and then I wouldn’t be hungry anymore. At IHOP, they know how to flip pancakes. 

I can’t believe this place is open on Christmas. Oh wait, it isn’t. I’m just sitting out here alone because I still can’t flip my own damn pancakes. If I could, I would have a beautiful Christmas breakfast right now. But I can’t, so I’m here, hoping somebody will help me out. It’s kind of cold out. If you come in tomorrow and see a snowman in front of the door, I made it.  Let it serve as a reminder of the great opportunity you missed. 

Why do you guys have to stuff your French toast? What is the allure of that? I like French toast, and I like all of the toppings you offer, but the creamy filling is just overkill. It feels like we can’t leave well enough alone. It’s like saying, “Well I know you like your house, and you like your cat. BUT here’s a thousand bunny rabbits, just to make it even more fun!” I don’t want bunny rabbits. I just like the house and the cats. 

You shouldn’t give kids pancakes with smiley faces on them. It’s weird and it might freak them out. It freaks me out. I don’t want something smiling at me when I’m trying to eat it. If a turkey smiled at you before you chopped its head off, would you still eat it? And who would want to eat a face? Wait. Don’t answer that question. 

I ordered the chicken and waffles this morning. I had been eyeing it for a few weeks now, but every time I saw it, I couldn’t decide if it was going to be gross or delicious. I would always tell myself, “Next time. Next time,” And make an invisible circle around the picture with my finger. Well next time finally arrived this morning, and here I am, confused as fuck and feeling very Southern. The waitress didn’t seem surprised about my order, though.  

How do I like my eggs? How do I like my eggs? Well, scrambled, obviously. That’s the only way to ensure that the little birdies inside are dead, and that no weird shit’s gonna come popping out of my stomach like in Alien. Also, I don’t like runny food. I want food that stays put. And sometimes you have to scramble something up to get it to stay put. So HELL yea I like my eggs scrambled. 

I’m decidedly unimpressed by the syrup choices here. Some people are, though. I see them pouring each flavor onto a spoon and tasting to see which will go best with whatever pancake flavor they have chosen. This is all old news for me. Any wise customer would immediately taste the syrups, before even LOOKING at the menu. You all seem very proud of having offered such an array of syrups, but I see no apple flavor, no marshmallow, NO CHOCOLATE, and no option to drizzle it all over the hot busboy’s body. 

I have trust issues. Give me all the bacon you have. 

Sometimes I just wish the waiter would trip, and toss all of his shit into the air. It happens all the time in movies. Everything slows down and the shit flies everywhere. I feel like IHOP is the place for that to happen. Scrambled eggs would splatter the old man who’d been talking smack to his grandkids, coffee would get all over some blonde chick’s blouse, and a pancake would land perfectly on my plate. Then I would look up and say a punch line. Fade to black and signal the slogan: “IHOP. The International House of Pain.”