By Kristin Butcher
Photo by Robin O'Neill
Way back in 2008, things were different. I didn't have kids. I was convinced Facebook was a fad. And the idea of having a column in this magazine was nothing more than shower-head fodder.
Then bacon changed my life.
Out of shape and wondering how I'd turn slinging words into an actual job, I decided to enter the Santa Cruz Hellride—a pain-fest of a race with a selection process based entirely on internet voting and a two-minute YouTube video.
So I prepared as any professional would—by getting drunk with friends over breakfast and writing things like, "I eat bacon and crap gold," and, "A vote for The Butcher is a vote for bacon!" I won the vote by a landslide, wrote a feature on my experience and knocked over enough dominos to lead me to where I am today.
And I owe it all to the power of bacon. Bacon is salty and savory and, when cooked right, it crunches in your mouth before exploding with the heavenly bacon juice some people mistakenly call 'grease'. After devouring the flaky meat-candy, you're left with the pork equivalent of Cheeto dust covering your fingers, face and everything you touch for the next four hours. It's as if a pig, a bag of Cheetos and those wax-bottle candies filled with sugar juice had a baby—a baby you could eat.
According to the bottom of my socks, Ben Franklin once said, "Beer is proof God loves us." But you can't even screw up bacon in the microwave—now that's proof of love. Bacon is even the perfect mid-ride fuel. When your dirt-roadie buddies with shaved legs and number-plate zip-ties still on their handlebars break out their cardboard energy bars and suck back slightly homoerotic gel packs, you can mock their sissified ways. Sure, they'll probably leave you in the dust, what with their 'complex carbs' and 'essential nutrients'. But, my pork-loving friend, you still win, because bacon tastes just as good coming up as it does going down.
Alas, not long after I used bacon's prowess to win entry into the Santa Cruz Hellride, others realized they too could use bacon for their gain. It was covered in chocolate, turned into mints and used to flavor dental floss (which sounds awesome, except the closest I get to flossing is lying to my dentist about doing it). Someone even created a bacon bra—apparently the reason boobs don't sufficiently attract men is their lack of pork scent.
Another spandex warrior lived by the words, "With great power comes great responsibility." Bacon never wanted to be an icon. All it wanted was to put a greasy smile on our faces. By exploiting it, we caused bacon to jump the shark.
It's no longer hip to laud bacon as the Second Coming of Pork-Jesus, but I'm OK with that. While bacon floss and bras have overstayed their welcome, the deliciousness of bacon needs no propaganda to remain in our hearts forever—mostly in the form of cholesterol.