The Existential Question of the Everything Bagel

I always thought it was an arrogant name choice. 

The “Everything” bagel. 

Was the inventor prone to exaggeration? Or was he or she just lazy? Maybe it was supposed to literally imply that it had a vast amount of ingredients or maybe it was just a play on the colloquialism, “this is everything,” you know, like “money is everything” or family is everything.” 

I took to the interwebs to find out. I found this informative article in the Washington Post about the origins of the Everything Bagel. Two separate men claim to have invented the bagel. One claims, “There is no doubt I invented the Everything Bagel.” The other says, ” No, I definitely invented the everything bagel. There’s no doubt. It’s undeniable truth. It’s one of those things that’s 100% true, 50% of the time.”

I’m not sure what that last quote means, but unfortunately for both these men, when two people argue over credit for something I tend to believe neither of them. 

No, the Everything Bagel is beyond anything either of these two men could comprehend. It’s everything. 

It likely has existed in this world longer than we humans. Perhaps not fully formed, but all of its ingredients. Sesame, garlic, caraway, salt, and poppy are not just things. They are everything. If they are everything, what does that make us? Nothing? Probably, yes. We are nothing. 

As I type this I am sitting in a Starbucks, taking a break from more important writing (or could it really be more important? I mean we’re talking about everything here) and I look around and see nothing masquerading as a busy everything. I see a woman who brought her In-N-Out burger and fries into the establishment to eat. I see an eight-year old consuming a drink that is approximately 71 percent whipped cream. I see a man conducting an interview for a job that is so exciting that it conducts its interviews at Starbucks. 

What are we really doing here? The answer’s somewhere in the bagel. It has to be. 

The next time you groan as you look down and notice poppy seeds and who knows what else on your lap after polishing off an Everything Bagel with cream cheese maybe you should show a little appreciation. Twenty minutes earlier you had nothing on your lap. Now you have everything. 

Sometimes I wonder if God really took seven days to put this beautiful world together. Why waste so much time? I’m not sure that He really did create light on day one. I think He created the Everything Bagel. Then He kicked back. There is a hole in it for reason. The light could shine through. 

Jonny Auping

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